Using synthetic populations to understand geospatial patterns in opioid related overdose and predicted opioid misuse

  • Savannah Bates
  • Vasiliy Leonenko
  • James Rineer
  • Georgiy Bobashev
S.I. : SBP-BRiMS 2018


Ohio is leading the nation in an epidemic of overdose deaths, most of which are caused by opioids. Through this study we estimate associations between opioid drug overdoses measured as EMS calls and model-predicted drug misuse. The RTI-developed synthetic population statistically represents every household in Cincinnati and allows one to develop a geographically explicit model that links Cincinnati EMS data, and other datasets. From the publicly available National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we developed a model of opioid misuse and assigned probability of misuse to each synthetic individual. We then analyzed EMS overdose data in the context of local level misuse and demographic characteristics. The main results show locations where there is a dramatic variation in ratio values between overdose events and the number of misusers. We concluded that, for optimal efficacy, intervention strategies should consider the existence of exceptional geographic locations with extremely high or low values of this ratio.


Opioids Synthetic populations Data linkage Overdose 


  1. Cajka JC, Cooley PC, Wheaton WD (2010) Attribute assignment to a synthetic population in support of agent-based disease modeling. Methods Rep 19:1009Google Scholar
  2. DeMio T (2017) Ohio’s Overdose Deaths Soar Again, as State Ranks 2nd Worst in the Nation. Cincinnati Enquirer. Accessed 7 May 2018
  3. Knight C, Brookbank S (2018) Deters: Man Who Kidnapped 84-Year-Old ‘Deserves to Stay in Prison for a Long Time’. Cincinnati Enquirer. Accessed 10 May 2018
  4. Ohio Department of Health (2016) Fentanyl and Related Drugs Like Carfentanil as Well as Cocaine Drove Increase in Overdose Deaths. Accessed 7 May 2018
  5. Rotuno-Johnson M (2017) Ohio Parents Overdose on Heroin at White Castle While Kids Are with Them. WCMHGoogle Scholar
  6. Walinchus L (2018) How Can Ohio Cities Step Up Their Response To Overdoses? Make The Data Public. WOSU 89.7 NPR News. Accessed 7 May 2018
  7. Wheaton WD et al (2009) Synthesizes population databases: a US geospatial database for agent-based models. Methods Report 2009(10):905Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiomathematicsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Design & Urban StudiesITMO UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.RTI InternationalDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations