Appalachian Diseases of Despair

Author(s): Michael Meit, Megan Heffernan, Erin Tanenbaum, and Topher Hoffmann
Author Organization(s): The Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis

This study analyzed the impact of diseases of despair on mortality within the Appalachian Region, focusing on increasing morbidity and mortality from three main causes: alcohol, prescription drug, and illegal drug overdose; suicide; and alcoholic liver disease/cirrhosis of the liver.  

Related Resources

Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool

NORC at the University of Chicago and ARC released the Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool in March 2018 (with two updates since) to help Appalachian communities better understand the drug overdose epidemic in a socioeconomic context, and to inform their planning and response strategies. The tool lets users:

  • Map overdose data for the Region’s 420 counties and overlay data on socioeconomic factors including income, poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, ethnicity, and disability.
  • Compare county-level information with regional and national data, and see changes in the data between 2009-2013 and 2014-2018.
  • Generate county-level data fact sheets to assist in community planning efforts.
The tool is available at