Treating the Data Overdose: Navigating Big Data to Find Answers to Our Growing Opioid Problem

Deanna Schreiber-Gregory
Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine


It is a well-known problem that the prevalence and severity of our opioid issue has been growing quickly over the past few years. As a health care provider in mental health, I have seen the impact that this issue has had not only on our culture & environment, but on the individuals suffering from this addiction and the effect their pain has on their loved ones. This is a heart-breaking issue that could benefit greatly from the expertise and dedication of data scientists, analysts, and data managers alike. The relevant data available to the general public is vast and robust, if only we knew how to use it!

This presentation will focus on how to identify meaningful databases to answer our data-for-good themed question (opioid dependence and overdose prevalence), how to scrub and prepare our data for analysis (including a brief outline of common pitfalls, obstacles, and frequently overlooked considerations), what analyses are or could be meaningful, and how to present the data/results in a meaningful and attention-catching way. Given that not everyone has access to a variety of SAS software packages, this presentation concentrates on how to achieve our goals using Base SAS programming techniques. This author invites a spirited discussion on the different ways to explore this issue and where best to present and distribute our findings. Data scientists, analysts, and data managers would benefit the most from this presentation, but anyone with an interest in this topic is invited to attend!