Healthy Living: Opioid crisis in America much worse than reported

The latest government numbers show that drug overdose deaths in 2016 continued to climb despite ongoing efforts to stem the overdose epidemic. 

The age-adjusted quarterly death rate for drug overdoses increased by more than 20 percent between the first quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2016.

Most of those overdoses are from opioids and new data indicated the number of opioid-related deaths may be under-reported.

Between 2000 and 2015, the number of overdose deaths in the United State rose more than 137 percent. More than half a million people died from drug overdoses during that time.

According to the CDC, prescription opioids are a driving factor in the increase, with more than 60 percent of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S. involving opioids. 

Across the country, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

A new study found that many opioid-related overdoses are under-reported and the scope of the problem may be much worse.

Researchers found that 20 to 25 percent of overdose death certificates did not have any specific drug listed as a cause, suggesting that estimates could be significantly off.

They believe the death rate from opioids is 24 percent higher than previously estimated.

The study’s lead author said data on drug overdose deaths should be improved so that authorities can better understand the opioid crisis and respond effectively.

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s annual report, heroin is the leading cause of drug or alcohol-related deaths among people ages 20 to 29.

In 2015, there were 90 heroin overdose deaths in San Diego County.  

Categories: Healthy Living