New Online Tool Uses Data to Show Impact of Opioids

October 9, 2016

To better help the community understand the scope and impact of the heroin epidemic, the Northern Kentucky Health Department has developed an interactive opioid data story map. The online tool provides data on a variety of issues, including overdoses, blood-borne diseases and police/fire/EMS response, and provides a link to resources and organizations addressing the issue in an eight-county region of Northern Kentucky. The data story map is available on the Health Department’s website.

“The numbers in this story map really do paint a picture of the burden that heroin, and its associated issues, has on Northern Kentucky,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “The story map brings together a variety of figures from many partners in the heroin response in one central location. It’s a flexible tool, too, allowing users to quickly view high level data, or to dig deeper and look for trends in data over time, or to look at county or ZIP code specific measures.”

Some key data points:

  • On average, one person in Northern Kentucky died from a drug overdose every 40 hours in 2015. This is nearly five times the number of lives lost due to car accidents.
  • As of 2014, Northern Kentucky’s rate of blood-borne infections, such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C, commonly resulting from IV drug use was more than 10 times the U.S. average.
  • Drug activity is a burden on local law enforcement: In 2015, one in four drug arrests were opioid-related, with an average of three arrests per day.
  • Drug activity is also a burden on local fire and EMS, with an average of seven responses per day to drug-related incidents in 2015; the overdose reversal drug naloxone was administered in four out of seven EMS runs.
  • Interactive maps show locations where members of the community can obtain naloxone overdose reversal kits and where prescription medication drop boxes are located in the community.

“As the Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact Response Taskforce continues to work on initiatives around support, treatment, prevention and advocacy, this data story map will be a useful tool in helping community members and HIRT partners to understand the extent of the opioid epidemic, and monitor progress that our community is making in this effort,” said Jim Thaxton, HIRT Coordinator.

Information in the data story map will be updated every six months.

For more information about the heroin response, click here or call the Health Department at 859.341.4264.