This session will showcase an innovative collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy, the University of Minnesota, Duluth, Geospatial Analysis Center, and the Minnesota Department of Health. The project uses innovative geospatial analysis to assess local consequences of the opioid epidemic. Attendees will see visuals of zip-code level “hot spots” where hospital-treated opioid overdoses and hepatitis C cases are highest. These hotspots often get missed in an examination of county-level data. In addition, data will be presented on harm reduction strategies used by Minnesota pharmacists’ that include naloxone and syringe access. This session underscores the utility of innovative analysis to identify the greatest need and then develop community-specific initiatives that meet that need.
Dr. Heather Blue is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy-Duluth campus. She completed her PharmD at the University of Minnesota and worked as a clinical pharmacist at Allina Health Mercy Hospital before moving back to Duluth to join the College of Pharmacy. Her current research is based on her clinical practice in the emergency department at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, with an emphasis in opioid overdose reduction strategies.
Laura Palombi works as a public health pharmacist in rural northern Minnesota, providing substance use focused trainings and technical assistance to communities and coalitions. Her research and practice focus on engaging health care professionals and community members in finding solutions to the opioid crisis.
Nate Wright is the Lead Drug Overdose Epidemiologist in the Injury and Violence Prevention Section at the Minnesota Department of Health. He is the project coordinator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance System. His work defines and describes the epidemiology of opioid and drug overdose, as well as substance use mortality, morbidity, and behaviors in Minnesota.