Checking the Vitals on Opioid Deaths

new paper in the journal Addiction suggests the opioid crisis is even worse than official death counts suggest.
 
University of Rochester researchers found that in 20% of drug overdose deaths, death records didn’t specify the drug involved, and that 72% of those unspecified deaths resulted from opioids.
 
Their count added 99,000 additional opioid deaths from 1999-2016—raising the death toll 28%.   
 
Why were they missed?
 
States’ methods of investigating death vary widely, and that warps death counts in any number of crises—from opioids to COVID-19.
 
One key variable: Does the state hire a coroner or a highly trained medical examiner to determine causes of death?
 
The Atlantic

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