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Exploring Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Epidemic Opioid Overdoes in the Louisville Metropolis

Authors: Charlie Zhang*, University of Louisville, Gregory S. Hess, University of Louisville
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geography and Urban Health, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Opioid overdose, epidemic, urban health disparities, spatial analysis, Louisville
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While opioid overdose epidemic has become a national crisis across communities in the U.S., limited geographic research has investigated the spatial aspects and characteristics of this public health problem. Using individual-level data obtained from the Louisville Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the last two years, this research analyzed the spatiotemporal patterns of opioid overdoses and racial/ethnic disparities using GIS and spatial statistical methods. Results indicate that opioid overdose cases in Louisville had a highly clustered distribution and whites were disproportionately represented by whites. A comparison of the spatial patterns of opioid overdoses with the distribution of robbery crime suggests a statistically positive correlation between these two phenomena. Findings from this empirical analysis can inform public health efforts and public safety policies for mitigating the opioid epidemic and reducing crime rate.

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