KOMO News: UC identifies hot spots in opioid crisis

Black men ages 30 to 34 face increasing risk from epidemic

KOMO News 4 in Seattle, Washington, highlighted a new study by the University of Cincinnati that identified national hot spots in the ongoing opioid epidemic.

UC's Health Geography and Disease Modeling Laboratory found that the opioid epidemic is taking a deadly toll on people in disproportionate clusters.

Published in the journal PLOS One, the study demonstrates how both widespread and localized the problem of substance use disorders can be,  co-author Diego Cuadros said.

“Not everyone is similarly at risk,” said Cuadros, assistant professor of geography in UC's College of Arts and Sciences. “We wanted to identify characteristics that put people at higher risk of a fatal overdose.”

Researchers found that white males ages 25 to 29 were most at risk of fatal opioid overdose followed by white males ages 30 to 34. The study also identified an increasing risk to Black males ages 30 to 34.

"Prevention is important," Cuadros told KOMO News. "Maybe most of the interventions right now have been focused on the white population. So you tell the Black community that this is a problem that is also going to be affecting them in the near future, so we need to be prepared about that and we need to be prepared about what type of services we're going to provide to this population, this community."

Researchers also examined the link between substance abuse and mental health, finding that mental health issues increased the risk of death from a drug overdose by 39 percent.

Watch the KOMO News 4 report.

Featured image at top: UC graduate Andres Hernandez was lead author of a study on the national opiate epidemic. Photo/Jay Yocis/UC Creative + Brand

A map of the contiguous United States features circles around hot spots in the contiguous United States in parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

A map of the contiguous United States shows the spatial distribution of relative risk for fatal overdoses from substance use disorder in 25 identified clusters. Graphic/UC