In June of 2016, we sat down with Dr. Tom Gilson, the nationally known medical examiner from Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Hoping it might inform and help others, Dr. Gilson reviewed Sam McNeil’s report from the medical examiner of Palm Beach County.  

Today, we revisit that discussion and uncover how some communities, such as the Baltimore Department of Health, are studying overdose victims to discover new prevention strategies to impede the opioid epidemic.

Also joining us today is Brittney Spencer, the Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) Coordinator for the Maryland Department of Health. Ms. Spencer and her team have been fighting the opioid epidemic since 2014, researching the autopsy reports, treatment admission reports, police reports, and medical records of overdose victims to identify missed opportunities for prevention.

This research helps the OFR collaborate with stakeholders to develop new programs for overdose prevention. These programs save lives and prevent substance use disorder in the future.  

The OFR team has learned much from studying the opioid epidemic’s effect on their community. Through their efforts, this one team from Baltimore provides the framework for strategies and programs such as Levels of Care, EMS Leave Behind, and LEAD. Together, these resources provide the necessary response tools to influence and impact the worst health crisis in our country’s history.

Listen to today’s podcast for a detailed breakdown of Maryland’s impact against the opioid crisis, with Brittney Spencer.

If your community would like to learn more about starting an OFR program, contact Brittney Spencer, the director of the overdose fatality review initiative with the city of Baltimore health department at and 443-984-2614.

For more information on Maryland’s Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team, view these resources.

Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team Charter

Local Drug Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) Team Data Use Manual