Overdose Deaths Under Reported
Business Insider recently reported on “Way More Americans Are Dying From Drug Overdose Than We Thought” and the results are grim. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) 52,404 people died from drug overdoses in 2015. Over 60% of those deaths were attributed to dying from opioids (prescription painkillers). They also reported that “Overdose numbers have been rising for years, but new research published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that those rates were dramatically under-reported.” This is because often times no single drug is reported as the cause in a death certificate.
New Statistics Tell a Different Story
When the data was revisited and normalized the results demonstrated that deaths from opioids were much more prevalent in the Mountain states, Rust Belt, and Industrial North and much of the South. Heroin deaths were higher in the Northeast and Rust Belt states, but had less of an effect on the South or Mountain regions.
Christopher J. Ruhm, the author of the paper and a professor at the University of Virginia, wrote, “Current death certificate data are problematic for understanding the drug poisoning epidemic, with a particular issue being the frequency with which no specific drug is identified”
The new statistics are the results of an investigation by a field officer for the CDC who suspected the death toll was much higher than previously reported.
How to Combat Drug Overdose?
One of the biggest challenge facing those tangled in drug abuse and drug addiction is finding treatment. As health care become more complicated and the current administration seems more focused on law enforcement, at the expense of medical treatment, people are rightfully concerned. We must tell our elected officials that drug abuse needs to be treated as a medical issue, and we should be increasing coverage for drug related issues, not decrease it.
If you or a loved one is tangled in drug abuse or addiction, don’t risk becoming a drug overdose statistic. Reach out to an organization in your community who can help. You can always call our hotline and talk to someone who can provide guidance and even help you determine your treatment options. The call is free and someone is there 24/7. 1-877-973-4221