Tracking computer called impressive

September 16, 1992

Officials in President Bush's drug war came to Towso yesterday to examine a new weapon -- a computer that plots Baltimore County's worst drug neighborhoods.

They left impressed.

"This is a very positive approach to using technology to help limited resources go further," said Severin L. Sorensen, a special assistant in the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House.

The computer program, called the Substance Abuse Tracking System (SATS), takes the locations of drug arrests and complaints, and areas with the most people in drug treatment programs, and converts the information into maps county officials use to direct enforcement and treatment efforts.

Mike Gimbel, head of the county's Office of Substance Abuse, said the program began three years ago with a $100,000 federal grant used to buy a computer and specialized software.

To maintain the confidentiality of clients who use the county's five drug treatment centers, a computer operator deletes their names.

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