The National Opioid Misuse Community Assessment Tool is the first ever interactive data visualization of national county-level drug overdose mortality rates. Developed by NORC at the University of Chicago’s Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, the tool integrates overdose mortality rates for counties in each of the 50 states with social determinants of health data such as unemployment rate, poverty rate, and disability status. Users can compare county-level information to the rest of their state and to the nation, seeing a visual representation of how the data has changed over time. From the tool users can print and email county and state-level fact sheets highlighting overdose mortality data to aid in community assessment and response planning.
An earlier iteration of the tool developed by NORC in collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) used similar mapping technology to illustrate the impact of the opioid epidemic across counties in the Appalachian Region. The Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool continues to be updated and revised, providing a focused look at overdose mortality data within the Appalachian region.
NORC’s overdose mortality mapping tools demonstrate the utility of data visualization in support of community health planning and response. Future iterations of the tools will provide additional planning and response information, including a vulnerability index to help assess community risk factors, and an integrated resource page to link users to important information such as best practices and funding opportunities.