Bach Harrison Louisiana State Epidemiological Workgroup Online Data System

This Website
About the Website

The Louisiana State Epidemiological Workgroup Online Data System was developed by Bach Harrison, LLC originally to satisfy a requirement of a federal grant awarded to Louisiana called the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG). A companion component of Louisiana’s SPF-SIG project, the State Epidemiological Workgroup (SEW), also was created. The SEW was formed in 2005, and tasked with identifying and evaluating the substance abuse prevention related data that exists in the state, and developing a database that would assist professionals in substance abuse prevention and other related fields. The SPG-SIG project has long since been completed, but both the State Epidemiology Workgroup and the SEW Online Data System continue to thrive.

This website was developed with the guidance of the SEW and the data presented through this website continues to be collected by member agencies represented on Louisiana’s SEW. The indicators collected by the SEW represent the most comprehensive compilation of data related to the consumption and consequence of substance use and abuse in Louisiana. The primary goal of the SEW Online Data System has been to provide a mechanism to access data easily; data that can be used to inform prevention planning at the state, regional, and parish levels. To this aim, the website enhances the ability of substance abuse prevention professionals to access the SEW data at the community level by providing simple analysis tools, and allowing users to download raw data that can be analyzed further as needed. For community level prevention professionals, the website offers several advantages over a written epidemiological profile report because it allows users to generate customizable queries of indicators by parish, and mapping options of several years of data (rather than a single year as provided in the profile reports). Additionally, users can examine trends within certain demographic variables such as gender, grade and age when these data are available.

About the Data

The data housed within the SEW dataset were collected from a variety of sources both nationally and within the state of Louisiana. The data are presented (and available for download) through the website as they were provided to the SEW by the source agency. Many indicators in the SEW dataset were provided by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s State Epidemiological Data System (SEDS). The SEDS compiles a variety of substance abuse relevant data that are available through national datasets. Other indicators were provided by agencies within the state of Louisiana. In particular, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Office of Behavioral Health and LDH Office of Public Health provided a wealth of data to the SEW. For a complete list and descriptions of data sources contributing to the SEW dataset, please see the data sources tab of this website.

By default, charts and map presentations of the data from the online system focus on parish and state data (rather than national data), and allow comparisons between these three levels of geography. With that being said, some data sources the SEW felt were important for inclusion in the data system are only available at state and national levels. For these indicators, the system presents state and national data rather than parish data.

Every effort is made to include the most recent data possible for each indicator. However, most data sets do not have data for the current or previous year. There are a variety of reasons for the lag in data availability. However, the primary reason for this lag is that most data sources have one to three year delays in making their data available to the public.

Additionally, for many indicators the source agency(s) would not allow small numbers of events or cases associated with a particular level of geography (e.g., less than five cases per parish) to be released for public use. These restrictions regarding data release are intended to protect the anonymity of those who are counted as part of the statistics for those indicators. As a result, queries of some indicators may result in some parishes having missing values that actually reflects that a low number of events occurred in that geography (e.g., less than five cases) for the specified time period. Typically, this occurs for indicators which are low frequency events (e.g., suicide, homicide, etc.), and/or in areas where populations are small (i.e., resulting in lower numbers of events). In order to minimize the number of data points that were unable to be released due to small numbers, the SEW queried different indicators with different time periods as necessary. For lower frequency event indicators, years were aggregated to maximize the likelihood that publishable numbers would be available for as many parishes as possible. The lower frequency the indicator, the greater numbers of years of aggregation are necessary. Therefore, presentations of indicators through the online database system will vary in the timeframes that they are published. For example, higher frequency events such as property and violent crimes allow publication of single year data at parish level, whereas relatively lower frequency indicators such as lung cancer deaths allow publication of 3-year aggregated data, and very low frequency indicators such as accidental deaths due to fires only allow publication of 7-year aggregated data at parish level. In order to balance the desire to have trend data for as many time periods as possible, with the publication limitations of low frequency indicators, the timeframes covered may differ within the same indicator for parish level data and for demographic breakdowns for this indicator.

About Rate Calculations

Most of the rates presented through the SEW Online Data System were calculated using population projections (estimates) developed by the United States Census Bureau (for more detailed information please see the data sources tab on this site). The Census Bureau population projections used for rate calculations are available for viewing or downloading through the online data system. These data are included in the list of indicators under the label “Census Projections.” For crash data obtained from the Highway Safety Research Group (HSRG) at Louisiana State University, rates were pre-calculated by the HSRG rather than re-calculated. This was done to ensure that queries made on the HSRG website were consistent with data presented through this website. Please note that the Census Bureau population estimates are updated each year, and as a result, the projections found in this website may differ slightly from the projections found on the Census Bureau website.

Contact Information

For questions about the State Epidemiology Workgroup or for technical assistance in using the website, please contact Kristy Miller at the Governor’s Office of Drug Policy, at

For questions or feedback regarding technical issues with the website, please contact Bach Harrison, LLC, at