State-by-State Visualizations of Opioid Abuse and Dependence

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 9.15.48 PMFAIR Health has released an online interactive heat map at showing new findings on opioid abuse and dependence diagnoses and procedures for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The innovative visualizations, issued in conjunction with a white paper on regional and state variations in opioid-related treatment, allow Americans throughout the country to see a snapshot of the opioid crisis in their particular state or across states.


A national, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information, FAIR Health created the visualizations by drawing on data from its database of more than 26 billion privately billed medical and dental claim records dating back to 2002—the nation’s largest repository of private healthcare claims. Using that database, the national heat map represents opioid abuse and dependence claim lines as a percentage of total medical claim lines by state in 2017. The colors of the states reveal which states have the highest or lowest percentages.

Clicking on a state displays an infographic for that state in 2017. The infographic includes the top five procedures associated with opioid abuse and dependence by utilization and aggregate cost, such as methadone administration, naltrexone injection and group psychotherapy. The lists of procedures vary considerably from state to state. Each infographic also shows the percentages of opioid abuse and dependence diagnoses by age group and gender in the state.

The white paper that accompanies the release of the heat map is the fourth in a series of studies released by FAIR Health on the opioid epidemic. The first white paper examined national trends in the epidemic; the second, the impact of the epidemic on the healthcare system; and the third, geographic variations in the epidemic.

FAIR Health can create customized States by the Numbers data analyses and visualizations to meet the specific needs of healthcare stakeholders, such as federal and state governments, policy makers and researchers. Such analytics and visualizations can be used to study a variety of diseases and conditions at the level of a state, a location within a state, a multistate region or the nation.

FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: “Our interactive heat map on opioid abuse and dependence opens a new geographic window into this serious epidemic. FAIR Health stands ready to assist healthcare stakeholders with similar analytics and visualizations for other pressing public health concerns.”

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