Georgia Doctors Ordered By Medical Board To Undergo Opioid Training

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. Many states are finding ways to combat the epidemic including Georgia which now requires that every doctor in Georgia undergo opioid training passed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. The training will instructs doctors on proper guidelines in prescribing opioids and recognizing signs of abuse. Check out the article here.

By Julia Watson

Opioid Prescribing Rate By County 2016

MOTD8_18_17_OpioidRxRate2016It is well known that the US currently faces an opioid epidemic and according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since 1999 the rate of overdose death related to opioid, including both heroin and prescription drugs, has quadrupled. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use in which the incidence of heroin abuse was 19 times higher among individual who reported prior use of non-medical pain reliever use compared to those who did not. In addition to the negative health effects the epidemic has also had economic impacts on the health care system with nearly 55 billion dollars being spent a year on health and social cost related to prescription opioid abuse [1]. For these reasons many states have cracked down on prescribing opioids and one might see the importance in using geographic information system (GIS) to map out hotspots of opioid prescription rates so they can possibly be reduced.

Check out this map that shows the rate of opioid prescription by county for the year of 2016. From the map we can see many counties within various southern states have higher rates indicated by the dark brown shading.

By Julia Watson

Years of Potential Life Lost Rate (2011 to 2013)

Check out this map that shows the years of potential life lost rate from years 2011 to 2013. The years of potential life lost rate, also known as premature mortality rate, measures the frequency in which people are dying. From the map we can see a pronounced cluster of states darkly shaded (Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia) indicating a large proportion of counties within these states had a high rate of premature deaths. In other words people who lived within these counties were dying at an early age. In contrast we can see counties within states such as, Maine, Road Island, Vermont are lightly shaded yellow/orange, indicating people who lived within these counties were dying at an older age.


For more information click here

By Julia Watson

The Availability of Food

These maps from 2010 show the availability of grocery store locations and also the percentage of people who had a car to get there. The topic of food availability is already an interesting conversation.. is there enough food? Is there enough food, but it just isn’t distributed evenly? Why is healthy food more expense then unhealthy? Why has food become more of a business then of a way to survive? Take a look at these maps, because they bring another problem into the mix! Transportation and accessibility.

The information for the maps was collected from the USDA Food Environment Atlas and the maps were created by Meharry Medical College.

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Flint Lead Testing Map

This map on  from February 1st, depicts the results of home lead tests in Flint. The test information, gathered by the State, was then grouped into the following categories to make this map:

  • 0 ppb – no lead detected in the drinking water
  • 1-4 ppb – the EPA deems this range as acceptable
  • 5-14 ppb – exposure is a concern, but still below an EPA “federal action level”
  • 15-49 ppb – a range above the federal action level for lead, but can be treated by filters
  • 50-149 ppb – reaching dangerous levels, but can be treated by filters
  • 150 and above – a range at which the federal government says water filters might not workScreen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.02.29 AM.png

Looking at this map, trying to determine the source is difficult because no real pattern can be determined. Makes you think about what other areas in the US have horrible water that either hasn’t been discovered yet, or just taken seriously.

Thanks Michigan Radio for the map! All information from 

Adult Obesity Map

This is a map that we created based off of data from the Center for Disease Control. This information shows the percentage of adults that were classified as obese in the year 2010. Blue indicates areas with the lowest percentages, while red shows areas where obesity in adults is more prevalent. It is interesting to think about the fact that we have so much food here in the US, yet getting a hold of healthy options is more difficult then it should be. #foodforthought

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After the 2nd Presidential Debate: The maps are talking


The debate held on 10/16/2012 was much heated the first. Now opinion polls are rushing to understand the after-effects on voters on states across the country. Even better this has been mapped here

Visit the economist online for the latest interactive map and view a trend by taking a look at the 2008 results.

Data source: the economist online

Renice Obure, Research intern, Vertices,

Realigning of national boundaries


South Sudan was the result of more than a decade long civil strife in the Republic of Sudan. Now with more economic and civil unrest occurring remotely in different areas of the world, there is an anticipation of a looming realignment of  the national boundaries that would result in a new map looking like this according to an opinion piece in NY TIMES Published on 09/22/2012

The colored areas highlight the areas in which new boundaries are likely to occur due to the current and political atmosphere of these areas.

For more information visit the  interactive map 

For this piece there is country specific information for Belgium, Congo DRC, Mali, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, (Siberia-China-Russia) and Korea.

Source: NY TIMES OPINION by Jacob and Farag Khanna

Renice Obure, Research Intern, Vertices,