Students Create ‘Bad Batch’ App To Warn When Deadly Heroin Mixes Hit The Streets

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A group of high school students recently launched an app that warns the public when a particularly strong or deadly mix of heroin hits the streets.

The app, called Bad Batch, was created and is maintained by students in a coding program at Digital Harbor High School in Baltimore, MD. Bad Batch, which the students compare to the Amber Alert system, sends a text message alert to subscribers when a fatal batch of heroin starts to circle in Baltimore by using overdose data from local law enforcement and EMS teams, reports FOX Baltimore.

Students in a program called Code in the Schools, a non-profit created by Michael and Gretchen LeGrand, began constructing the app in October to help address the addiction crisis, which is running rampant in Baltimore and greater Maryland.

“On Saturdays, I come here for three hours to work on Bad Batch,” 19-year-old Kenneth Williams told FOX Baltimore.

Alerts have already started and the students hope the app will catch on and take off in other cities hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Bad batches of heroin will randomly pop up in communities throughout the U.S., sparking mass overdoses within a few days or even hours.

The influx of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, a painkiller 50 to 100 time stronger than morphine, and carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer up to 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, are largely blamed for the rise in opioid overdoses and fatalities in the U.S. (RELATED: Synthetic Painkillers Bought On The Dark Web Open ‘A New Chapter’ In Drug Crisis)

Other potent analogs of fentanyl including acrylfentanyl and tetrahydro fentanyl have also been identified in overdose fatalities in states across the U.S.

“The synthetic thing is new to everybody,” Dr. Paul Lewis, a health officer in Multnomah County, OR, told Willamette Week. “We thought heroin was the foe, but now these synthetics come along. It’s a new chapter, and we don’t know how it ends.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said June 6 that drug deaths in the U.S. experienced the largest increase in recorded history in 2016, claiming more than 60,000 lives. He notes early data suggests deaths from opioids and other drugs will continue to increase in 2017.

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Steve Birr