The opioid epidemic that claimed 33,000 lives nationwide in 2015 may actually be worse than thought, says a report by CNN.com.
“It’s quite concerning, because it means that the (opioid) epidemic, which is already quite severe, could potentially be even worse,” Hall said.
How did opioid use become an epidemic?
Earlier this month, officials in Cuyahoga County, working with cleveland.com and several others kicked off an opioid awareness campaign called “Know the Risks.”
Opioid users have a higher risk of developing pneumonia, according to the story.
Deaths from opioid epidemic may be underestimated
That means a number of drug-related deaths are not being counted, since surveillance systems mainly track overdose deaths.
And thus it’s not going to get picked up in opioid surveillance,” Hall said.
Twenty-two of these 59 unexplained drug-related deaths involved toxic levels of opioids.
But the death certificates didn’t include coding that would be picked up by statewide opioid surveillance systems.
The Minnesota cases raise the question of whether similar drug-related deaths are being missed in other states, particularly those hardest hit by the prescription drug abuse epidemic, Hall said.
National opioid epidemic may be worse than estimated
By 2015, opioid overdose deaths totaled more than 33,000 — close to two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths.
But more than half of these opioid-linked deaths didn’t show up in Minnesota’s official total for opioid overdose deaths.
In other words, the US’s deadliest drug overdose crisis in history is likely even deadlier than we think.
Multiple media outlets, including Vox, have reported the terrifying statistics: The opioid epidemic has led to the deadliest drug crisis in US history — deadlier than the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.
A new study, however, suggests that we may be in fact underestimating the death toll of the opioid epidemic and current drug crisis.
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