Geospatial patterns of emergency department admissions for substance use disorder in Maryland

Authors: Yanjia Cao*, University of Maryland, Kathleen Stewart, University of Maryland, Eric Wish, Center for substance abuse research, Eleanor Artigiani, Center for substance abuse research
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: substance use disorder, GIS, spatial-temporal patterns, emergency department admission
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Tyler, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Traditional methods for monitoring drug use rely on survey data of drug users and build correlations between behaviors and drug use. However, these surveys are conducted intermittently and can lack spatial and temporal detail. In this research, we focus on 6 counties in the state of Maryland, a dataset of approximately 4000 cases of emergency department visits to four hospitals for treatment for substance use-related health problems during 2016-2017. Approximately 1000 of these cases included results of urinalysis specifying eight different types of drugs including opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepine, and methadone among others. Based on the month/year and zip code locations of these patients, we analyzed dynamics in geospatial patterns by drug type, through identifying statistically significant changes in space and time. For example, while Methadone showed a decrease over time from 07/2017 to 10/2017 in Baltimore City, Marijuana and Benzo was found to increase in Anne Arundel County for the same period. This is of significant contribution to substance abuse surveillance for local health officials over time through monitoring emergency department admissions from the perspectives of space and time.

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