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Using synthetic populations to understand geospatial patterns in opioid related overdose and predicted opioid misuse

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Ohio is leading the nation in an epidemic of overdose deaths, most of which are caused by opioids. Through this study we estimate associations between opioid drug overdoses measured as EMS calls and model-predicted drug misuse. The RTI-developed synthetic population statistically represents every household in Cincinnati and allows one to develop a geographically explicit model that links Cincinnati EMS data, and other datasets. From the publicly available National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we developed a model of opioid misuse and assigned probability of misuse to each synthetic individual. We then analyzed EMS overdose data in the context of local level misuse and demographic characteristics. The main results show locations where there is a dramatic variation in ratio values between overdose events and the number of misusers. We concluded that, for optimal efficacy, intervention strategies should consider the existence of exceptional geographic locations with extremely high or low values of this ratio.
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Vol:.(1234567890)
Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory (2019) 25:36–47
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10588-018-09281-2
1 3
S.I. : SBP-BRIMS 2018
Using synthetic populations tounderstand geospatial
patterns inopioid related overdose andpredicted opioid
misuse
SavannahBates1 · VasiliyLeonenko2· JamesRineer3· GeorgiyBobashev3
Published online: 5 December 2018
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract
Ohio is leading the nation in an epidemic of overdose deaths, most of which are
caused by opioids. Through this study we estimate associations between opioid
drug overdoses measured as EMS calls and model-predicted drug misuse. The RTI-
developed synthetic population statistically represents every household in Cincin-
nati and allows one to develop a geographically explicit model that links Cincinnati
EMS data, and other datasets. From the publicly available National Survey on Drug
Use and Health (NSDUH), we developed a model of opioid misuse and assigned
probability of misuse to each synthetic individual. We then analyzed EMS overdose
data in the context of local level misuse and demographic characteristics. The main
results show locations where there is a dramatic variation in ratio values between
overdose events and the number of misusers. We concluded that, for optimal effi-
cacy, intervention strategies should consider the existence of exceptional geographic
locations with extremely high or low values of this ratio.
Keywords Opioids· Synthetic populations· Data linkage· Overdose
Savannah Bates received support from the Research Training Group in Mathematical Biology,
funded by a National Science Foundation Grant RTG/DMS—1246991. Vasiliy Leonenko was
supported by the Fullbright Visiting Scholar Program.
* Georgiy Bobashev
bobashev@rti.org
Savannah Bates
svbates@ncsu.edu
1 Department ofBiomathematics, North Carolina State University, 2620 Yarbrough Dr, Raleigh,
NC27607, USA
2 Institute ofDesign & Urban Studies, ITMO University, 49 Kronverksky Pr., St.Petersburg,
Russia197101
3 RTI International, 3040 E Cornwallis Rd, Durham, NC27709, USA
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... In order to understand the relationship between the numbers of AH+ users and the number of EMS calls, we follow our earlier research [2], where the ratio r 1 between the overdose-related EMS calls and the assessed number of opioid drug users was studied. In this paper, we compare r 1 with the alternative indicator r 2 which depends on the cumulative number of people in the cell under study instead of the assessed quantity of AH+ individuals. ...
... Despite the fact that we cannot draw any definite and final conclusions, in the author's opinion, the study successfully introduces the application of the concept of using synthesized data for health conditions of unknown prevalence (arterial hypertension) to categorize spatial distribution of their acute repercussions (acute coronary syndrome). As it was demonstrated by the authors before [2], the same approach can be successfully used in case of opioid drug usage, and we expect to broaden the scope of its application by applying it in other domains. ...
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... Homicide rates across the US are also correlated with opioid overdoses, suggesting a close nexus between violence and the drug markets that fuel the opioid crisis (Rosenfeld et al., 2021), with particular emphasis on gun violence (Johnson et al., 2020). This is in part because users prefer to ingest opioids near the location of drug markets (Bates et al., 2019). ...
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... In some areas, accidental deaths from overdose may be co-located with outdoor drug markets. Recent research suggests that many opioid misusers, in particular, use drugs near locations of drug purchase rather than at their homes (Bates et al. 2019;Metraux et al. 2019). Law enforcement reports and anecdotal evidence also suggest a contemporary link between drug market locations and deaths from drug overdose given the powerful lure of inexpensive drugs and high-quality heroin in some jurisdictions. ...
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