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To make substance use data more easily accessible to individuals, local communities, and state agencies, the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) has redesigned its Drug Overdose and Related Comorbidity County Profiles dashboard, which consolidates substance use-related emergency department, inpatient hospitalization, and death data for every Kentucky county as well as for the state as a whole.

“The Kentucky Overdose Data To Action Program focuses on using public health surveillance data to inform prevention and intervention planning at the state and local levels,” said Dana Quesinberry, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and KIPRC and principal investigator for surveillance on the CDC-funded program. “These county profiles are an efficient method for us to provide data from multiple sources in a concise ‘one-stop’ location.” 

The dashboard includes rates and counts of drug overdoses and selected co-occurring medical conditions for each county in Kentucky (as well as for the state as a whole). The data are organized into four tabs or pages. The first and second tabs (rates and counts, respectively) include data on fatal overdoses, nonfatal overdose-related emergency department (ED) visits, and substance use disorder diagnoses (excluding alcohol-, nicotine-, and inhalant-related disorders); the third and fourth tabs include data on neonatal abstinence syndrome births, total infectious disease ED visits and inpatient hospitalizations, and ED visits and inpatient hospitalizations for infectious disease with co-occurring drug-related diagnoses. Overdose indicators are broken down by drug type as well, and the infectious disease by diagnosis (endocarditis, hepatitis A, hepatitis C, and HIV). Relevant ICD-10-CM definitions are included on the fifth tab.

“The new dashboard contains death (mortality) data due to overdose, in addition to hospital (morbidity) data,” said Madison Merzke, Data Management Analyst for KIPRC. “It also contains a new year of data—2020—and rates in addition to counts.”

Users can download a county’s data into a PDF, image, or PowerPoint file. 

Due to state data release policy, counts between one and four and rates calculated on counts less than 10 are suppressed and rates based on counts less than 20 are considered unstable. 

Counts represent encounters of care or deaths, but indicators are not mutually exclusive, Merzke said. One encounter of care or death may include multiple drug types, diagnoses, etc., and thus be included in multiple indicators. Likewise, counts that are encounters of care do not represent individual patients; one patient may be included multiple times in that year's count for that same indicator if they have multiple encounters of care. 

“Data are provisional and always subject to change,” she said. “Our data providers update data on an ongoing basis, and this can occasionally slightly change numbers.”

The county profiles dashboard will be updated annually, according to Merzke. She added that feedback would be incorporated to the best of KIPRC’s ability to better provide useful information to Kentucky communities.

Hospital data are received from the Kentucky Outpatient Services Database and Kentucky Inpatient Hospitalization Claims Files of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services within the Office of Health Data and Analytics via the Kentucky Hospital Association. Death data are received from the Kentucky Death Certificate Database of the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Records are scanned for the appropriate ICD-10-CM codes based on the methodology and definitions outlined in the final tab of the dashboard. 

“We have an awesome team here at KIPRC working on drug overdose data (as well as other injury data), so if there is anything we can do to provide data or prevention assistance to Kentucky's public health workers, or if there are questions about this dashboard, our website includes more information and contact info,” Merzke said.

To view the dashboard, visit

For more information on programs or to submit data requests, visit

KIPRC is a unique partnership between the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) and the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health. KIPRC serves both as an academic injury prevention research center and as the DPH’s designee or “bona fide agent” for statewide injury prevention and control.