By: Shannon Persad
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Opioid Overdose Death Toll May Be Higher Than Recorded
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “From 1999-2017, almost 400,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids.”
A new report from the Washington Post suggests that the number may be higher.
Researchers suggest the opioid-related overdose deaths maybe 28% higher:
“…University of Rochester researchers found that between 1999 and 2016, about 100,000 more people died from opioids who were not accounted for — potentially obscuring the scope of the opioid epidemic and affecting funding for government programs intended to confront it, Elaine Hill, an economist and senior author of the study, told The Washington Post.”
Why the Opioid Overdose Deaths May Be Higher
According to the Washington Post, there were discrepancies in several states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Indiana. The researches who conducted the study found the following:
“The federally funded study, published in the medical journal Addiction, used data on death rates per county and state from an agreement that Hill and co-authors Andrew Boslett and Alina Denham have with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The Post has the same arrangement with CDC.)
The researchers found that the records were least consistent in poorer communities. On average, the people whose records were not counted were white females in the 30 to 60 age range.
The incorrect records could be attributed to several factors, Hill said. Limited resources in counties can delay toxicology reports, limit drug testing and even prevent the completion of autopsies.
Counties can opt to appoint medical examiners, while others elect coroners. Coroner positions do not require professional training, whereas medical examiners are appointed and have board certification in a medical specialty, according to the National Academy of Medicine.”
In all, certain communities weren’t properly accounted for and certain demographics. Limited resources may have also contributed to the possible miscount of opioid overdose deaths.
How to Get Help for an Opioid Addiction
If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction or any other substance abuse, contact ATSI at 1-(855)-498-2121 for a confidential consultation.