Predictive Modeling of Opioid Overdose Using Linked Statewide Medical and Criminal Justice Data

Brendan Saloner, Hsien Yen Chang, Noa Krawczyk, Lindsey Ferris, Matthew Eisenberg, Thomas Richards, Klaus Lemke, Kristin E. Schneider, Michael Baier, Jonathan P. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Responding to the opioid crisis requires tools to identify individuals at risk of overdose. Given the expansion of illicit opioid deaths, it is essential to consider risk factors across multiple service systems. Objective: To develop a predictive risk model to identify opioid overdose using linked clinical and criminal justice data. Design, Setting, and Participants: A cross-sectional sample was created using 2015 data from 4 Maryland databases: All-payer hospital discharges, the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), public-sector specialty behavioral treatment, and criminal justice records for property or drug-associated offenses. Maryland adults aged 18 to 80 years with records in any of 4 databases were included, excluding individuals who died in 2015 or had a non-Maryland zip code. Logistic regression models were estimated separately for risk of fatal and nonfatal opioid overdose in 2016. Model performance was assessed using bootstrapping. Data analysis took place from February 2018 to November 2019. Exposures: Controlled substance prescription fills and hospital, specialty behavioral health, or criminal justice encounters. Main Outcomes and Measures: Fatal opioid overdose defined by the state medical examiner and 1 or more nonfatal overdoses treated in Maryland hospitals during 2016. Results: There were 2294707 total individuals in the sample, of whom 42.3% were male (n = 970019) and 53.0% were younger than 50 years (647083 [28.2%] aged 18-34 years and 568160 [24.8%] aged 35-49 years). In 2016, 1204 individuals (0.05%) in the sample experienced fatal opioid overdose and 8430 (0.37%) experienced nonfatal opioid overdose. In adjusted analysis, the factors mostly strongly associated with fatal overdose were male sex (odds ratio [OR], 2.40 [95% CI, 2.08-2.76]), diagnosis of opioid use disorder in a hospital (OR, 2.93 [95% CI, 2.17-3.80]), release from prison in 2015 (OR, 4.23 [95% CI, 2.10-7.11]), and receiving opioid addiction treatment with medication (OR, 2.81 [95% CI, 2.20-3.86]). Similar associations were found for nonfatal overdose. The area under the curve for fatal overdose was 0.82 for a model with hospital variables, 0.86 for a model with both PDMP and hospital variables, and 0.89 for a model that further added behavioral health and criminal justice variables. For nonfatal overdose, the area under the curve using all variables was 0.85. Conclusions and Relevance: In this analysis, fatal and nonfatal opioid overdose could be accurately predicted with linked administrative databases. Hospital encounter data had higher predictive utility than PDMP data. Model performance was meaningfully improved by adding PDMP records. Predictive models using linked databases can be used to target large-scale public health programs..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1162
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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