Most Atlantic City overdoses this year occurred in the Tourism District, according to an exclusive Route 40 analysis of the city’s 911 call data.
The map raises questions about the effectiveness of the Tourism District, created by the state in 2011 in part to improve public safety in the casino areas that account for most of Atlantic City’s revenue. The map also shows that some of the city’s main residential areas such as Chelsea Heights, Bungalow Park and Venice Park, have been mostly clear of 911 calls for overdoses.
The 911 records, obtained through a public records request, show the opioid overdose antidote naloxone (Narcan) was administered 47 times in Atlantic City between March and the end of August this year. It is likely that these numbers understate the actual administration of Narcan. The numbers do not include Atlanticare calls and they do not include use of Narcan outside of a 911 call. It is also possible that police and firefighters recorded some 911 calls for medical assistance without specifying whether or not Narcan was administered: those calls would not show up in this map.
The map shows a clustering of overdoses around Tennessee Avenue, an area that includes the city’s Public Library, the City Council and County offices and the needle exchange program. The Tourism District commander Tom Gilbert, who has been responsible for leading policing in the area since 2011, told Route 40 that he is aware of the drug-use problem in the area and is working on getting “those issues before all the right people to determine what the best course of action is.”