Unintentional, preventable injuries – commonly known as "accidents" – claimed a record high 161,374 lives in 2016 to become the third leading cause of death in the United States for the first time in recorded history, according to Council data analysis. The unprecedented spike has been fueled by the opioid crisis. Unintentional opioid overdose deaths totaled 37,814 in 2016.
"One in four people in the U.S. has been directly affected by the opioid epidemic," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "The Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map can help reduce the stigma around opioid-related deaths by allowing us to get to know those in our community who were loved and are so deeply missed."
Jeremiah Lindemann, a solution engineer for Esri and a New America Fellow, created the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map in late 2016 following the death of his younger brother. Since its launch, the map has gathered more than 1,300 memorials from people in states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Florida, California, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota and Virginia.
The map has been a crowdsourced effort, allowing grieving friends and family members to honor their loved ones, share their stories with others and find a supportive community in return.
"We are honored to be part of the National Safety Council effort," Lindemann said. "Esri has been working with several local governments using mapping and analytics to uncover crucial data around a public health issue that was for years largely hidden. We are happy to the National Safety Council is using the power of Story Maps to communicate the problem and break the stigma associated with the opioid epidemic."
Esri's spatial analytics and mapping capabilities are in daily use by city, state and local governments across the country. They are using the company's location-based tools to better understand the impact of - and plan the best approach for - managing the opioid crisis within their own communities.
The NSC Survivor Advocate Network realized the impact that location intelligence and visualization could have to raise awareness, while also connecting others dealing with opioid tragedy. Taking over the map is the latest component of the NSC mission to eliminate all preventable deaths, in part, by personalizing a crisis that has affected so many people.
More information about how consumers can address this public health and safety crisis is available through the Stop Everyday Killers campaign, which has put a face on the opioid epidemic through film, digital assets and a traveling memorial exhibit.
About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.
Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, offers the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available. Since 1969, Esri has helped customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Today, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including the world's largest cities, most national governments, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and location analytics to inform the most authoritative maps in the world. Visit us at esri.com.