Mapping Children’s Exposure to Drug Overdose Deaths

Mark S. Mather , Population Reference Bureau (PRB)
Beth Jarosz, Population Reference Bureau (PRB)
Marissa Slowey, University of Chicago

The U.S. opioid epidemic has gained widespread public attention, but this attention has focused mainly on its effect on adults and those who have died of overdoses. There has been less consideration of the potential effects of the opioid crisis on children. However, it is likely that millions of children have been affected, either directly—through parental addiction or death—or indirectly through the experiences of friends, classmates, or neighbors. In this analysis, we combine county-level mortality statistics with U.S. Census Bureau population estimates to investigate and map state and regional patterns and trends in children’s potential exposure to drug overdose deaths—especially accidental deaths from opioid use. Data from 2016 are compared with data from 2000, 2006, and 2010 to determine whether children’s potential exposure to drug overdose deaths has increased over time, and to compare trends across different geographic areas and population subgroups.

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 Presented in Session 3. Population, Development, & the Environment; Data & Methods; Applied Demography