Newstrack 04/13

Maps: Maine’s 2016 overdose deaths by county

This was a unique article by the Portland Press Herald in that it wasn’t an article at all. Instead, a series of two maps were presented: a map of death rates from all drug overdoses, by county and a map of death rates from opioid overdoses, by county. If you roll your mouse over an individual county, there was a list of data including the total number of deaths by overdose in that county, the county’s population, and overdose deaths per 100,000 county residents. It’s engaging because it’s interactive and very visual, but the data itself is just listed. The maps are a little redundant as well, since each map, when rolled over with your mouse, presents exactly the same data, but it does help to distinguish where opioid overdoses are a bigger problem.

I think a supplementary article, or at least a little blurb about overdoses being a problem in Maine above the maps would add a little more context. Even links to the Press Herald’s previous and recent articles about this epidemic would provide more context. But perhaps the lack of an explanation makes the data itself more central and striking.

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