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Health & Wealthness Podcast

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Health and Wealthness is a podcast where your hosts, Emily Weigel and Hanaa Khan discuss pressing and trending topics about health and wealth that everyone should know about. Our first four episodes focus on the opioid crisis. Both the science

Health and Wealthness is a podcast where your hosts, Emily Weigel and Hanaa Khan discuss pressing and trending topics about health and wealth that everyone should know about. Our first four episodes focus on the opioid crisis. Both the science and healthcare sides. We then go on to talk about burnout and mental health in a conversational episode.

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2021-05

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Neighborhoods and Opioids: A Look at Community-Level Factors

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The opioid crisis has become one of the most persistent public health crises in America, killing over 100 people a day. The opioid crisis emerged in the late 1990s and 2000s when opioid overdoses began to dramatically increase due to

The opioid crisis has become one of the most persistent public health crises in America, killing over 100 people a day. The opioid crisis emerged in the late 1990s and 2000s when opioid overdoses began to dramatically increase due to prescription painkillers. Heroin subsequently became a popular drug that was obtained through illicit markets in 2010. More recently, fentanyl, a potent and illicitly manufactured synthetic opioid, has driven a notable increase in the number of opioid overdose deaths. The opioid crisis has impacted many communities across the country. However, some communities are more susceptible to higher rates of opioid use. In order to determine which neighborhoods in Tempe, Arizona are more vulnerable to opioid use the author uses Tempe Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls for service data and American Community Survey data to address two research questions: 1) What sociodemographic factors at the census-tract level are associated with calls for service to opioid related incidents and 2) are aspects of the physical environment associated with calls for service to opioid related incidents (e.g. vacant units, lack of complete plumbing, multiple unit housing structures)? Understanding community-level risk and protective-factors is essential for furthering the discussion on interventions that aim to address problematic opioid use in vulnerable communities. The current study finds that communities that are economically disadvantaged, and have a higher percentage of units that are vacant have more EMS calls for service to opioid related incidents. However, counter to the proposed hypothesis of social disorganization theory, residential instability was associated with fewer calls for service to opioid related incidents (i.e. higher levels of residential transience). Additionally, racially and ethnically diverse communities had fewer calls for service to opioid related incidents albeit statistically non-significant. These findings have implications for future research and for possible policy implications directed at reducing opioid overdoses.

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2021