Geographic and temporal trends in fentanyl-detected deaths in Connecticut, 2009-2019.

Annals of epidemiology(2023)

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PURPOSE:Since 2012 fentanyl-detected fatal overdoses have risen from 4% of all fatal overdoses in Connecticut to 82% in 2019. We aimed to investigate the geographic and temporal trends in fentanyl-detected deaths in Connecticut during 2009-2019. METHODS:Data on the dates and locations of accidental/undetermined opioid-detected fatalities were obtained from Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Using a Bayesian space-time binomial model, we estimated spatiotemporal trends in the proportion of fentanyl-detected deaths. RESULTS:During 2009-2019, a total of 6,632 opioid deaths were identified. Among these, 3234 (49%) were fentanyl-detected. The modeled spatial patterns suggested that opioid deaths in northeastern Connecticut had higher probability of being fentanyl-detected, while New Haven and its neighboring towns and the southwestern region of Connecticut, primarily Greenwich, had a lower risk. Model estimates also suggested fentanyl-detected deaths gradually overtook the preceding non-fentanyl opioid-detected deaths across Connecticut. The estimated temporal trend showed the probability of fentanyl involvement increased substantially since 2014. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that geographic variation exists in the probability of fentanyl-detected deaths, and areas at heightened risk are identified. Further studies are warranted to explore potential factors contributing to the geographic heterogeneity and continuing dispersion of fentanyl-detected deaths in Connecticut.
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