Opioid Overdose Deaths May Be Underestimated Due to Incomplete Reporting

Mortality from opioids may be higher than it appears.

States may be underestimating the effect of opioid-related overdose deaths because of incomplete cause-of-death reporting on death certificates, indicating that the mortality from opioids may be higher than it appears, according to an analysis published Wednesday.

The study, published in Public Health Reports

, the journal of the Office of the US Surgeon General,

found that potentially 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were not included in national opioid-related mortality estimates from 1999 to 2015 because coroners and medical examiners did not specify the drug that contributed to the cause of death. The analysis was conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Not knowing the correct number of deaths makes it more difficult to align resources, according to the researchers.

Click to continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.