Thursday, March 22, 2018

Interactive map shows county-level data on Appalachian opioid ODs, correlated with socioeconomic data

Screen grab from interactive map showing overdose rates with
the highest rates in dark blue (click on the image to enlarge it)

A new data visualization tool offers in-depth, county-by-county information about the impact of the opioid epidemic in Appalachia and how it relates to factors such as unemployment, poverty, education and disability.

The Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool, developed by research organization NORC at the University of Chicago and the Appalachian Regional Commission, "integrates overdose mortality rates for each Appalachian county with data on unemployment, poverty, and disability, as well as other socioeconomic variables. Users can compare county-level information with regional and national data and see changes in the data between 2006–2010 and 2011–2015. The mapping tool can also generate fact sheets to assist in community planning and response efforts," ARC's Wendy Wasserman says in an ARC press release. A few of the correlations shown by the map include:
  • In Central Appalachia, counties with the highest rates of overdose are often the same counties with the highest rates of people on disability.
  • In Central Appalachia, the counties with the highest overdose rates are often the same counties with the lowest rates of educational attainment.
  • In Northern and Southern Appalachia, the highest overdose rates are in urban counties.
  • While Central Appalachia remains the most highly affected subregion of Appalachia, other subregions are experiencing increasing rates of overdose.

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