Dr. Devin Banks
Final Abstract for URS Program
The opioid overdose crisis in the United States has disproportionately affected the African American community. These increases are due in part to increased availability of fentanyl in the drug supply. However, little is known about the geographical characteristics of opioid overdose in the post fentanyl era and how it may vary based on neighborhood racial make-up. The current exploratory study investigates the geographic characteristics of opioid overdose in St. Louis City and County from 2016-2021. Data included geographical location of fatal opioid overdose among St. Louis residents (N=3,755). Analyses included examining hotspots (i.e., significantly high clustering) and cold spots (i.e., significantly low clustering) of overdose by race. Results indicated that opioid overdoses within the Saint Louis Region were more clustered in North St. Louis and primarily among African Americans. For non-African Americans, opioid overdoses arose in parts of South County. Results show that opioid overdoses are not distributed randomly but cluster as a function of race. Findings also point to important areas to target as the fentanyl crisis becomes worse.