Drug & Health Studies

1/23/2021 Sussex County Health Coalition.

By M. J. Scales, Research Associate, University of Delaware Center for Drug and Health Studies

The State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) is a network of statewide stakeholders that promotes the health of Delawareans through identifi cation, collection, use, and dissemination of behavioral health data. The University of Delaware Center for Drug and Health Studies (CDHS) facilitates the SEOW and delivers on the mission by developing a wide range of data products including the annual Delaware Epidemiological Profi le, hosting two network meetings per year, responding to data requests, and building stakeholder capacity through technical assistance.

An individual may face a circumstance that is brought about, or infl uenced by, several risk factors. For example, risk factors that can contribute to the development of lung cancer include environmental toxins, genetics or family history, smoking, and the combination of these factors. Equally as important when we consider a person’s health is the intersection of all aspects of health – mental wellness, physical health, and health behaviors. As visualized in the diagram, 2017 Delaware Youth Risk Behavior Survey data was analyzed and found that:

  • 41% of high school students reported past month substance use;
  • 32% of high school students reported past year mental health challenges; and
  • 37% of high school students reported engaging in a sexual risk behavior at least once in their lives (YRBS, 2019).

Further review also found that 35% of students reported two of these risk factors and 12% of youth reported experiencing all three types of risk factors. While accumulated risks are challenging to address, they also highlight the importance of comprehensive screening, programming, interventions, and partnerships across sectors. Examples of this can be seen in the offi ces of primary care doctors that use a universal depression screening tool or reproductive care providers that take the opportunity to discuss substance use with patients.

This diagram and other data products, such as interactive heat maps, can be found at https://www.cdhs.udel.edu/seow/delaware-heat-maps