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Modeling the prescription opioid epidemic

Modeling, Computation, Nonlinearity, Randomness and Waves Seminar

Modeling the prescription opioid epidemic
Series: Modeling, Computation, Nonlinearity, Randomness and Waves Seminar
Location: Online
Presenter: Christopher Strickland, Department of Mathematics, University of Tennessee

Opioid addiction has become a national health crisis in recent years, with involvement in 66% of all drug overdose deaths in 2016 and high economic costs. In contrast to the dynamics of a classic disease or illicit drug epidemic, opioid addiction has its roots in legal, prescription medication - a fact which greatly increases the exposed population and mathematically suggests non-contact based, linear routes of infection, which complicate the analysis. 

In this talk, I will present a first epidemic model for opioid addiction and treatment. Through analysis of our model, we show that existence of an addiction-free equilibrium depends upon parameter choices which would transform the dynamics into that of a purely illicit drug epidemic.

Numerical analysis reveals how prescriptions, not social contagion, drove sustained this epidemic and subsequently highlights specific targets for control. Following this, I will present preliminary results from our new model that examines the role of heroin and fentanyl on the epidemic in the context of more complete data from the state of Tennessee. Highlights include a strong fit between model and data with necessary, time-varying parameters, and strong evidence that heroin and fentanyl now constitute a self-sustaining epidemic of their own, even as prescription-based addictions are in decline.

Place:  Zoom:   
Password:  "arizona" (all lower case)