Monday, June 20, 2016

Mapping the US Overdose Epidemic

The USA is experiencing a drug overdose epidemic. Drug overdose deaths have more than doubled in the last 15 years. The cause for a lot of these overdose deaths appears to be the heavy marketing of powerful prescription painkillers by the pharmaceutical industry.

The Guardian has illustrated the rising number of drug overdose deaths in the USA with an animated choropleth map, which shows the number of overdose deaths at county level from 1999-2014. The map uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A Deadly Crisis: Mapping the Spread of America's Drug Overdose Epidemic appears to be a custom made choropleth map, which uses Ractive.js to animate through the fifteen years of data. The animated choropleth layer is very effective in visualizing the dramatic increase in overdose deaths across the United States.

The Guardian article includes a number of smaller animated choropleth maps to illustrate the rise in overdose deaths in a number of specific states. The animations in these smaller maps is slowed down a little, which helps to visualize the spread of overdose deaths by county in each of the highlighted states.

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