Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Julia Costich, JD, PhD

Committee Member

Kathi Harp, PhD

Committee Member

Elizabeth Riley, PhD


The purpose of this study was to implement and examine a new surveillance system for Kentucky State Police’s forensics unit to track trends of illicit drugs and drug trafficking, and to see if the implementation of this new system was associated with a decrease in overall drug counts over a period of five months. An extensive review of the literature showed that the drug epidemic in the United States continues to worsen, with public health and law enforcement institutions leading the fight in attempting to end the epidemic, but little evidence showing these two joining forces to work together.

Results showed that the implementation of this surveillance system was associated with significant decreases in overall drug counts from baseline to follow up. An overall decrease of 9.24% between baseline and follow up was found after the implementation of a new surveillance system that utilizes Tableau software to periodically track drug trends. Additionally, this research can provide valuable insight for combatting the drug epidemic, since it is at the forefront of the drug epidemic and drug overdose epidemic.

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