Consumption and Consequence Data
These local data help you define the needs of your community specific to opioid misuse.
Consumption data describe opioid misuse in terms of the frequency or amount used; these data help you see the usage patterns in your community. For example:
- Number of youth ages 12–17 reporting current (within the past 30 days) misuse of prescription opioids
- Number of adults ages 18 and older reporting use of heroin in the past year
- Number of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers in a given year
The consequences of opioid misuse include physical and mental health conditions, increased health care use, and increased risk of overdose and death. Consequence data can help you better understand the problem in your community. For example:
- ED visits involving the use of heroin or prescription opioids
- Opioid-related hospital discharges
- Deaths from opioid overdose
- Opioid-related arrests
Quantitative and Qualitative Data
Both quantitative and qualitative data are useful to the assessment process.
Quantitative data are usually reported numerically—often as counts or percentages. In addition to self-reported survey data, quantitative data can be mined from archival data sources, such as police reports, census data, and death certificate data. Quantitative data can measure the extent of opioid misuse, and provide insights into how different factors (such as intervening variables) relate to each other.
- Example: The percentage of teens who reported using heroin during the last 30 days
Qualitative data may help you gain a deeper understanding of the opioid misuse problem in your community and give you insight into the beliefs, attitudes, and values of various stakeholders. These data are usually reported in words. Sources of qualitative data include stories, key stakeholder interviews, case studies, testimonials, and focus groups.
- Example: Findings from focus groups with individuals who misuse opioids suggesting that these people are disconnected from formal health and social service support systems
Consider Existing Data
Before launching your data collection effort, take stock of information that may have already been collected in your state or community. For example:
- Data collected through national or state surveys, such as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health or the Massachusetts Youth Health Survey and the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey
- Interviews and/or focus groups with active users, health care providers, etc.
- Records from public meetings or forums
- Public health statistics—self-reported survey data, death certificates indicating an opioid overdose as the cause of death, etc.
- Law enforcement data, such as opioid-related drug arrests or drug trafficking
- Department of Justice data, such as outcomes of criminal cases related to opioid misuse
- Public safety data—data from the fire department on emergency medical services for opioid overdose, etc.
- Hospital data, such as discharge codes for opioid-related poisonings
Since local data are not as readily available as national or state data, you’ll likely need to supplement these sources by collecting data from your local target area. To standardize data collection and allow for comparisons across different areas, do your best to use the same questions and wording as used in the national and state survey.