Iowa Substance Abuse Use Data Set (I-SUDS): Preventing Overdose Through Actionable Data

In the U.S., prescription opioid-related overdose deaths have continued to rise, despite some states showing decline.    In Iowa, the rates of prescription opioid-related overdose deaths, 6.2 per 100,000 people, are lower than the national rate of 13.3 per 100,000.  However, like the rest of the nation, this represents a substantial increase; the death rate has nearly doubled in a ten-year period, from 3.3 in 2006 to 6.2 per 100,000 people in 2016. In addition to increasing death rates, injection drug use is associated with increasing rates of HIV and hepatitis C infections.  The current opioid crisis also affects economic output, with more than four million U.S. workers currently out of the labor force because of opioid use. A recent statewide stakeholder meeting convened by the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Iowa identified improving surveillance as one of the top five priorities to combat opioid use disorder in Iowa.  In particular, stakeholders identified a need for real-time data that can be sourced from, and used by, multiple agencies and communities.

Our long-term goal is to empower local communities to prevent the spread of substance use disorders by expanding and integrating the sets of data available to provide key stakeholders with actionable data customized to their needs.

  • We plan to accomplish this goal by building the Iowa Substance Use Data Set (I-SUDS), a multi-stream, multi-sourced, comprehensive data warehouse for timely, non-personally identifiable, actionable data derived from institutional records, community partners, and directly from substance users.
  • I-SUDS will house both quantitative and qualitative data, accessible through a set of mobile/web apps, and customized to the specific needs of diverse stakeholders, including researchers, educators, health care providers, journalists, community members, local public officials, and substance users.

Specific Aims


Portrait of Brandi Janssen, clinical associate professor in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Team Lead, Brandi Janssen, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health
A portrait of Ryan Carnahan of the University of Iowa College of Public Health
Ryan Carnahan, Department of Epidemiology
Heath Davis
Heath Davis, CTSA and Carver College of Medicine
Juan Pablo Hourcade
Juan Pablo Hourcade, Department of Computer Science
Boyd Knosp
Boyd Knosp, Associate Dean for Information Technology, Carver College of Medicine
Anna Merrill
Anna Merrill, Department of Pathology, Carver College of Medicine
Jennifer Sanchez
Jennifer Sanchez, College of Education
Stephan Arndt
Stephan Arndt, Department of Psychiatry, Carver College of Medicine