The Benefits of Using GIS Technology in State Substance Use Agencies

NASADAD squareThis issue brief from the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) discusses how geographic information systems (GIS) and other data visualization technologies enhance the way that state substance use agencies plan, implement, monitor, and communicate about their prevention, treatment, and recovery activities.

The brief describes the benefits and impacts GIS and data visualization tools have had on shared challenges. This includes how to improve access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services; where to deploy limited resources; and how to effectively communicate with a diverse group of stakeholders—such as community partners, state and local policymakers, healthcare providers, the media, and the general public—about pressing substance use problems, including opioid addiction. The brief is meant to inspire states’ adoption of these technologies in their own substance use agencies partially by describing how GIS has enabled Washington and Pennsylvania to strengthen program management and service delivery through mapping of state and community data, better-informed decision making, and greater efficiencies in service planning.