In 2017, Ohio had the second highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States. Current opioid related epidemiologic literature has begun to uncover the environmental level influences on the opioid epidemic and how the end results may ultimately manifest over space and time. This work is still nascent however, with most clustering research conducted at a spatial unit such as county level, which (1) can obscure differences between urban and rural communities, (2) does not consider dynamics that cross county lines, and (3) is difficult to interpret directly into strategic and localized intervention efforts. We address this gap by describing, at the Census block level, the spatial-temporal clustering of opioid related events in rural Ohio.
We use the outcome of the administration of naloxone emergency medical service (EMS) calls in rural Ohio Census blocks during 2010-16 in a Poisson model of spatial scan statistics.
We found that naloxone event clustering in rural Ohio in the recent decade was widely dispersed over time and space, with clusters that average 17 times the risk of having an event compared to areas outside the cluster. Many of the larger spatial clusters crossed administrative boundaries (i.e., county lines) suggesting that opioid misuse may be less responsive to county level policies than to other factors.
Timely identification of localized overdose event clustering can guide affected communities toward rapid interventions aimed at minimizing the morbidity and mortality resulting from contagious opioid misuse.

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