The opioid overdose crisis in the US: A spatially clustered growing epidemic

Authors: Andres Hernandez*, University of Cincinnati, Ana L Hincapie, University of Cincinnati , Pamela C Heaton, University of Cincinnati, Neil J Mackinnon, University of Cincinnati, Jingjing Li, University of Cincinnati, Diego F Cuadros, University of Cincinnati
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geography and Urban Health, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Health geography, Opioid epidemic, Spatial epidemiology, Urban health
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


According to the 2018 CDC annual report of drug related risks and outcomes, the opioid epidemic continues to be one of the major health crises in the US. Drug overdose deaths involving prescription or illicit opioids reached a record number of 42,249 for 2016. This was a retrospective analysis of Ohio overdose deaths involving prescription and non-prescription opioids. Data collected from the Ohio Department of Public Health from January 2010 to December 2016 were used to measure temporal patterns by race, gender and age groups. Spatial scan statistics were used to examine clustering of opioid overdose deaths. Results show that opioid overdose mortality rate in Ohio increased from 8.31 in 2010, to 29.65 deaths/100,000 people in 2016 and continues growing for all major demographic groups. White males between 30-39 years old is the group with the highest mortality rate with 114.69 deaths/100.000 people. Mortality rates for black population were concentrated in males between 30-39 and 60-69 years old with 49.70 and 21.70 respectively. Spatial patterns of opioid overdose deaths exhibit 12 significant clusters close to major Ohio cities. Study results suggest that although the most affected population is white males, mortality rate is also increasing rapidly in black males. There is a distinct spatial heterogeneity in the opioid overdose mortality in Ohio, where rates of the cluster areas were more than eight times higher than the State average. The aforementioned results may help local authorities to improve prevention policies and to design interventions on targeted population for the upcoming years.

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