The nation’s current opioid crisis may be worse than previously thought. According to a researcher at the University of Virginia, the number of overdose deaths from opioids is likely much higher than what is being reported.
After reviewing thousands of death certificates issued between 2008 and 2014, Dr. Christopher Ruhm discovered deaths from opioids are 24 percent higher than current reports indicate. Specifically, the death rate from heroin was 22 percent greater.
Before the study, nine out of 100,000 deaths were linked to opioids in 2014. However, after Dr. Ruhm crunched the numbers based on his analysis, the number increased to slightly over 11. Heroin overdoses went from just over three per 100,000 to four.
Cited by NBC News, the study pinpointed several states where opioid overdose deaths were underreported.
“Opioid mortality rate changes were considerably understated in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey and Arizona. Increases in heroin death rates were understated in most states, and by large amounts in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Alabama.”