The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc. (NASADAD) published this issue brief about how states use geographic information systems (GIS). GIS and other data visualization technologies enhance the way that state substance use agencies plan, implement, monitor, and communicate about substance use, including opioid misuse and overdose prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. While GIS technology has been used in many fields for decades, its adoption in the substance use field is relatively new. This Issue Brief provides case studies of two states – Washington and Pennsylvania – that have made GIS an integral part of their state substance use agency’s operations. Their GIS activities, including Washington’s Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative and MAT Locator and Pennsylvania’s Opioid Data Dashboard, have been instrumental in addressing shared challenges that have resulted from each state’s opioid epidemic. These challenges include how to improve access to prevention, treatment, and recovery resources; where to deploy limited resources; and how to effectively communicate with a diverse group of stakeholders – community partners, state and local policymakers, healthcare providers, the media, and the general public – about pressing opioid use problems. This Issue Brief is meant to inspire states’ adoption of these technologies in their own substance use agencies. It describes how GIS has enabled Washington and Pennsylvania to strengthen program management and service delivery through mapping of state and community data, better-informed decision making, and greater efficiencies in service planning.
Funding source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Financing Reform and Innovation
A report on the use of GIS and data visualization to improve state efforts to address the opioid epidemic from NASADAD.