Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Jane Ungemack, DrPH; David Gregorio, PhD, MS; Ann Hartman, MPH

Field of Study

Public Health


Master of Public Health

Open Access

Open Access


Objective: An Opioid Community Needs Assessment examining opioid use and its consequences in the Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) was conducted to characterize the problem in the district and inform future harm reduction program operations through data driven evidence-based research.

Methods: This study conducted a cross-sectional, community-based, secondary analysis of opioid use related data sourced from broadly utilized vital statistics and novel syndromic surveillance systems. Data sets were sourced from the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH’s) & Health Monitoring’s EpiCenter Syndromic Surveillance, Washington/Baltimore’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDA) Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).

Results: Master data tables were analyzed by region, overdose rates, standard age groups, gender, race/ethnicity, temporality and primary suspected drug. Opiate use rates normalized via rates per capita (per 100,000), places CCHD snuggly between Hartford County and Connecticut. Within CCHD, the town of Newington accounts for over 50% of CCHD’s cases. Demographic analysis by age group, race/ethnicity and gender has predominantly characterized opioid use among White, non-Hispanic males aged 45+. Temporal analysis identified predominant opioid use within late weekend day (Friday-Sunday) hours 12:00-2:00AM of late summer and early fall months (June-September). Drug analyses have primarily implicated heroin and fentanyl use.

Conclusions: Essential modifiable targets have been identified, informing the implementation of tailored, community-specific harm reduction program initiatives through evidence-based practice. It is the intent of this study to afford community stakeholders a unified understanding through the development of a SMART action plan.

Major Advisor

Jane Ungemack, DrPH