Data is key to understanding the substance-related issues facing states, tribes, jurisdictions, and communities. Yet accessing existing data can be challenging. National-, state-, and community-level data sources are typically maintained by a variety of agencies, requiring prevention practitioners to go on a veritable treasure hunt to find the data they need.
To address this data challenge, several states have created interactive data systems to make these data sources more readily available. These online tools, often referred to as data warehouses or data dashboards, provide one-stop shopping for data hunters, enabling users to find and compare data across multiple communities and counties. The following examples highlight a few of the states that have developed interactive data systems:
- The Arizona Community Data Project at the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission is a user-friendly tool allows users to search a variety of substance-related indicators. For each selected indicator, users can compare state data to county-, coalition (region)-, and/or multiple county-specific data. In addition, users can add separate filters for variables such as ethnicity, gender, race, youth, and adults. All data can be displayed in multiple formats and generated reports can be saved for future reference. The site is also accompanied by tutorials on topics including program evaluation, grant writing, and data-driven decision-making.
- The Florida Community Health & Wellness Dashboard at the Florida Department of Children and Families uses images and large text to create an efficient, user-friendly tool. The site contains data from more than twenty sources, focusing on data related to the state’s four priority problems—underage drinking, adult heavy alcohol use, prescription drug misuse and abuse, and marijuana use. Users can view four data sets at a time, and compare up to ten counties simultaneously. Data sets can be readily exported, via Excel, for use in presentations and grant proposals. The site includes state and national surveys. Data are available by state, region, or county; can be sorted by ethnicity, gender, age (both youth and adults), year, and race.
- Idaho Prevention and Treatment Research at Idaho.gov allows users to view county-specific data on numerous indicators. Users can select and compare between one and 21 indicators for each county and view indicator trends, over time. In addition, each county’s landing page contains a description of the size, population, and background of the county, as well as relevant documents for download. The site includes state or county sources. Data sources not specified. Data are available on both youth and adults. There are no demographic sorting capabilities.
- The Kentucky Data Warehouse for Substance Abuse Prevention at REACH of Louisville offers simple and straight-forward displays of data for the state, including maps, graphs, raw data tables, and rankings of counties for indicators in education, crime, health, and substances. Users can compare individual regions or counties, select a few for comparison, or compare all counties at once. Users can also access the raw data contained in the data sets, as well as links to the contributing data sources and relevant documents such as a statewide needs assessment and prevention plan. The site includes state and national data sources. Data are available by state, region, and county. Data are available on both youth and adults. There are no demographic sorting capabilities.
- The Louisiana State Epidemiological Workgroup Online Data System at Bach-Harrison.com comprises more than sixteen state and national data sources, offers communities simple analytic tools to support their needs assessments. For each selected indicator, users can simultaneously compare state and national data to parish (county)-, regional-, or multiple parish-specific data. In addition, users can add separate filters for variables such as age (both youth and adults), ethnicity, gender, grade, and race. All data can be displayed in multiple formats and generated reports can be saved. The site also offers a comprehensive list and description of data sources used, pre-calculated reports, and links to other useful reports, briefs, and fact sheets.
- Substance Use in MN (SUMN.org), a project of the Minnesota State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW), is a user-friendly, comprehensive, centralized data source. Users can sort data by substance-related topic, location (county, region, or state), and demographic (grade, gender, race, and age). Reports can be displayed in a variety of formats and readily exported. In addition, every results page offers a detailed description of the data source, including a description of the data, the sponsoring agency, the geographic area surveyed, the frequency, and data characteristics. The site also provides a list of community resources, relevant publications, and a toolbox that includes tips for using the site. Includes state and national data sources, and data are available on both youth and adults.
- Snapshots: Mississippi’s Health Data Source is an easy-to-use tool that requires users to create a username and password, but offers access to any participant who signs up. Users can access data on a variety of topics, including alcohol, tobacco, drugs, family and community, safety, self-image, and health and nutrition; and can name and save reports for future reference. Depending on the data set requested, data are available in either graph or chart form. This interactive tool is part of a larger website that contains profiles of each county in the state, information on data sources, helpful prevention links, and frequently asked questions. The site includes state and national data sources. Data are available by state and county; can be sorted by gender, race, and grade. Data are available on children and youth only.
- Missouri Behavioral Health Data at the Missouri Department of Mental Health, a project of the Missouri Behavioral Health Epidemiology Workgroup, provides access to a variety of Missouri behavioral health data. A querying tool allows users to select and compare indicators, subpopulations, time periods, and geographies. Data results are displayed as a chart which can be easily inserted into other work products or can be downloaded as a table for further manipulation. Currently available datasets include Missouri Student Survey, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, substance misuse and mental health treatment, problem indicators reported by state agencies, and census population estimates. Data are available by state, county or city; in some cases, data can be sorted by race, gender, age, income, rural-urban location, education level, and health insurance status. Data are available on both youth and adults.
- Montana Social Indicators Data System at Bach-Harrison.com includes ten national and state data sources. Users can search for indicators at various data levels, enabling users to tailor their data search to their particular needs. Levels include state, county, health-planning region, judicial district, Montana Association of Counties region, and school superintendent region. Most sources focus on youth. Data can be displayed in multiple formats, and can be readily copied and exported. Data are available by state, county or region; can be sorted by gender.
- Oklahoma Data Query System at Bach-Harrison.com pulls from thirteen national and state data sources to create one centralized data source. The site offers users detailed directions for how to use it, including how to locate an indicator. Data sets are available in multiple formats and can be readily exported. Data are available by nation, state, county or region; and can be sorted by gender and grade. Data are available on both youth and adults.
- Rhode Island Data Hub offers a number of helpful tools for accessing child and youth health data, including:
- Reports, including pre-made graphs that allow users to examine a specific topic
- Data stories, which are guided tours through selected data with descriptions of how they relate to a given policy question
- Data catalogs, which enable users to create a list of personalized search topics and results
- Weave, a tool that allows users to create their own graphs using imported data
The site includes state and national data sources. Data are available by state, county, or coalition; no demographic sorting possible. Only child and youth data are available.
- TNprevent.org, Tennessee’s data warehouse for substance misuse prevention, is a user-friendly tool that allows users to select from a variety of locations, types of substance misuse, and indicators, and generate customized, county-specific reports. Although the number of indicators included in the database is limited, county data is available for multiple years. The site includes state and national data sources. Data can be sorted by age and are available on both youth and adults.