Core Research Project


Small Area Estimation for Opioid Abuse Prevention and Response

Surveillance of opioid-related epidemics and related public health action have been challenged by two barriers:  

(1) Multisectoral approaches are needed to reverse opioid-related epidemics, yet data sources needed to describe these epidemics are isolated within different agencies. This fragmentation impedes identifying emerging hotspots and mounting rapid responses to this dynamic epidemic.  

(2) The opioid epidemic has been expanding to include rural areas and, thus far, surveillance has struggled to keep pace with this shift. It has been difficult to adequately surveil the counts and rates of opioid overdoses in rural counties because of their small population sizes.  

This research project will apply advanced geospatial methods to integrate multiple types of surveillance data acquired from diverse sectors to rapidly create stable estimates of opioid overdose counts and rates of prescription opioids alone, heroin alone, and co-use in Georgia’s 159 counties, 108 of which are rural with populations less than 35,000. Standardized tables, maps, and reports will be created and rapidly disseminated to key stakeholders to facilitate action. Statistical programs developed to create these outputs will be packaged so that other Departments of Public Health can re-create the reports using their states’ data. 

PILance Waller, PhD;  

Collaborators: Laura Edison, DVM, MPH (Georgia Department of Public Health) 

Opioid Surveillance Brown Bag

Additional Opioid Abuse Resources