261905 Using geographic information systems to identify locations of drug overdoses in Los Angeles

Monday, October 29, 2012

Aleksandar Kecojevic, MPH, DrPH(c) , Department of Community Health, Drexel School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Karla D. Wagner, PhD , Division of Global Public Health, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA
Peter Davidson, PhD , Division of Global Public Health, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Stephen E. Lankenau, PhD , Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University, School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Background/Purpose: Opioid overdose is a significant cause of premature mortality in Los Angeles (LA) County. Training programs aimed at teaching drug users to effectively respond to opioid overdose were implemented by two community-based organizations (CBO) in LA: Homeless Healthcare LA and Common Ground Westside. To date, GIS analysis has not been used to describe location of overdose relative to location of training programs and/or census bureau data. Methods: We interviewed 101 trained and untrained clients of 2 CBO from June 2010 to April 2011. Locations of 130 overdoses experienced and/or witnessed by respondents were geocoded with ArcGIS. The location of the CBO and socio-economic data (i.e. crime rate, average income) from the US Census will be overlaid with the overdose map to assess the spatial variations. This will allow us to identify areas of LA with an increased drug overdose burden. Results: These maps will combine epidemiological, census and geographic data in a graphical form. We expect to find high spatial correlation between overdose location, crime rate and low income areas. The overlay of data will address fundamental question of program effectiveness including service utilization by the targeted population. Conclusions: This project will demonstrate the utility of GIS mapping for intervention/prevention planning. Results can inform overdose prevention programs by identifying “hot spots” within the CBO catchment areas that experience elevated rates of overdose. Public health practitioners could use these findings to more effectively appropriate resources and develop strategies for targeted outreach to populations who are exposed to opioid overdose.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe how GIS technology can be used to help describe drug overdose patterns and improve prevention efforts Assess the association of neighborhood socio-economic status on drug overdose patterns in Los Angeles County

Keywords: Drug Use, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student at Drexel School of Public Health, and I conceptualized and conducted this analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.