An Observation of Access to Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities and the Effect on Opioid Overdose Deaths

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This study examines the accessibility of opioid use disorder (OUD) facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties zip codes that experience high rates of fatal opioid overdose. This study also aimed to investigate the types of communities (rural or urban) that experience the highest rates of fatal opioid overdose in the two counties. This descriptive study used geographic information system (GIS) software and crosstabulation analyses to compare the rates of opioid overdoses that occur in each zip code of these counties and substance abuse treatment facilities available in these same zip codes in their respective counties. Results showed that rural communities within these counties experienced some of the highest rates of fatal opioid overdose deaths while simultaneously lacking access to treatment facilities that were abundant in urban areas of these same counties. The findings of this research suggest that there are inadequate resources available for those suffering from OUD that live in the rural communities of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Policy reforms are recommended at the county government levels in order to increase access to treatment for residents of these areas, including access to medication assisted treatment (MAT).
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Health
Health Education, Public Health