U.S. News: Do you live in a U.S. opioid hot spot?

UC identifies 25 clusters where fatal drug overdoses are most prevalent

U.S. News & World Report examined a University of Cincinnati study that identified 25 clusters of fatal drug overdoses across the United States.

The study published in the journal PLOS One also found a strong connection between fatal overdoses and poor mental health.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and Tennessee saw the highest percentage of opioid overdose deaths.

"Not everyone is similarly at risk," assistant professor of geography Diego Cuadros said. "We wanted to identify characteristics that put people at higher risk of a fatal overdose."

White men between 25 and 34 years of age had the highest risk of a fatal overdose, but the UC study found an increasing risk among Black men ages 30 to 34.

"We saw a strong association with mental health and substance abuse disorders, particularly opiates," Cuadros said. "What's happening now is we're more than a year into a pandemic. Mental health has deteriorated for the entire population, which means we'll see a surge in opiate overdoses."

Read the U.S. News & World Report story.

Diego Cuadros sits in a park.

UC assistant professor Diego Cuadros in UC's College of Arts and Sciences tracks the spread of disease and addiction in his Health Geography and Disease Modeling Lab. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand