Specialists argued that opioid addiction causes approximately 91 overdose deaths every year in the United States, the country being in the agonies of an epidemic of opioid abuse. A new research developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the total number of opioid deaths may be underestimated.
CDC specialists argue that they might have underestimated the number of opioid addiction cases
Dr. Victoria Hall, a CDC field officer in Minnesota, has stated that the Minnesota Department of Health received a report about an unusual death of a middle-aged man. The man, who had been on an extended opioid therapy meant to treat his back pain, suddenly died. His family was worried about the fact that he might abuse his treatment.
After the autopsy, the medical examiner revealed that the man tested for a high level of opioids and was also diagnosed with pneumonia. Hall noted that on the death certificate, the examiner only put pneumonia, avoiding mentioning the use of opioids. Researchers claim that it may be hard to trace death causes, similar to this one, within surveillance systems based on autopsy report codes like the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Edition.
In America, every year, approximately 91 people die due to opioid abuse
Hall pointed out that more than half of the number of deaths triggered by opioid addiction in Minnesota, starting with 2006 until 2015, had not been encompassed in the total number of the state. The new research does not indicate to what percent specialists are underestimating the problem, but it reveals that there are some missed cases. Hall also said that this terrifying situation looks as if it were the peak of an epidemic.
The new research was made public on April 24 at the Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. At the conference, experts showcased the recent investigations of CDC. Disease detectives at US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sustained more than a hundred field investigations every year, in the US and at a global level. The team led by Hall analyzed death records from the Minnesota Department of Health’s Unexplained Death surveillance system, which is also known as UNEX, starting with 2006 and ending in 2015.
In many other states, the CDC started implementing the new system in 1995 in several states. However, Minnesota was the one which maintained it. The surveillance system was designed to be on a constant lookout for all sorts of diseases. How do you think authorities could diminish the number of opioid addicts?
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