Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Opioid Overdose Mortality in Milwaukee, WI from 2003 to 2018

Authors: Andrew Schendl*, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Zengwang Xu, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geography and Urban Health
Keywords: Opioid epidemic, spatial regression, overdose mortality, Milwaukee
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 18
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Mortality from opioid overdose has quickly risen to become the leading cause of non-natural death in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin in recent years. In order to better understand the opioid epidemic and formulate effective responses, this study examines the spatial and temporal variations of the opioid overdose mortality in Milwaukee County, WI from 2003 to 2018. Standardized mortality rates of different races/ethnicities are calculated at the county and neighborhood levels to examine how they vary over time and across the county. The specific neighborhood characteristics defining areas of high opioid overdose mortality rates are identified along social, economic and demographic dimensions. Spatial regression models are employed to understand how the social, economic and demographic characteristics of neighborhoods of different spatial scales contribute the variation of the mortality rates. The neighborhoods are defined at the block group, census tract, and neighborhood levels, allowing for the identification of social factors that function at different spatial scales. This study contributes to the literature an intra-city/county study on the direct and the most severe consequence of the opioid epidemic in one of the most segregated cities in the USA.

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