NEW ARTICLE: RTM, Social Determinants of Health, Drug OD Deaths

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Joel Caplan

May 19, 2023, 9:59:24 AM5/19/23
to risk-terrain-modeling
🚨 Study in South Florida assessed the independent contributions of social determinants of health in the Risk Terrain Modeling analysis of drug overdose deaths.

Journal of 'Drug and Alcohol Dependency' 📄

Mengyu, L., Caplan, J. M., Kennedy, L. W., Moise, I. K., Feaster, D. J., Horigian, V. E., Roll, J. M., McPherson, S. M., Rao, J. S. (2023, online first). Geo-spatial Risk Factor Analysis for Drug Overdose Death in South Florida from 2014-2019, and the Independent Contribution of Social Determinants of Health. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.


Purpose: The current research examines the effects of the built environment, social determinants of health measures and aggregated risk from the built environment at neighborhood-level on drug overdose death locations in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Methods: Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM) was used to assess the place features risk factors that significantly increase the risk of drug overdose death spatially in Miami-Dade County ZIP Code Tabulation Areas, Florida from 2014 to 2019. An aggregated neighborhood risk of fatal drug overdose measure was developed by averaging the risk per grid cell from the RTM within census block groups each year. Six logistic and zero-inflated regression models were built to examine the effects of three indices of incident-specific social determinants of health (IS-SDH) measures and aggregated risk measure separately, and simultaneously on drug overdose death locations each year.

Results: Seven place features including parks, bus stops, restaurants and grocery stores were significantly related to the occurrence of fatal drug overdoses. When examined separately, one or more indices of the IS-SDH were significant covariates of drug overdose locations in some years. When examined simultaneously, the three indices of the IS-SDH and aggregated risk of fatal drug overdose measure could be all significant in certain years.

Conclusions: The patterns of high-risk areas and place features identified from the RTM related to drug overdose deaths may be used to inform the placement of treatment and prevention resources.


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Joel M. Caplan, Ph.D.
Twitter: @JoelCaplan

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