Solving a problem without understanding its magnitude is a near impossible task. This is the reason America has been unable to effectively fight the opioid epidemic. Over the years, the nation has been relying on false data to plan how to mitigate this crisis. A recent study found out that the mortality rates related to opioids in 2014 were 24% higher than what was reported. In the same year, heroin mortality rates were actually 22% higher than what was quoted in the statistics. Therefore, the government has been relying on false information to plan for the effort to fight this problem, and that is where the problem really is.
Why the Discrepancies?
The question that everyone is asking is why the official data could be so wrong on a matter that is greatly affecting the country. There are lots of people that are losing their lives every day. In fact, the deaths resulting from drug abuse have overtaken those caused by motor accidents. It therefore is baffling when you notice that the official records do not reflect the real situation on the ground. One of the reasons behind this is the information that is entered into the victim’s death certificate. Some hospitals usually do not enter all the information. In addition, there families that do not want to make it known that one of them has died because of opioid abuse.
In the study, the researchers found out that most of the victims who dies because of overdoses had been labeled as having died of unspecified drugs. It is such information that is entered into their death certificates that made it difficult to come up with accurate statistics about the real situation. In fact, it is almost impossible to find complete data on some victims, and the researchers had to use other means to ascertain the real cause of their death. I was baffling to find out that people who have obviously overdosed had been recorded as having died of other illnesses. When the figures were adjusted, the resultant reality was that the number of casualties that were reported was way lower than what it really is.
Changing State Rankings
If you apply the information for this new study, you will notice that the state rankings dramatically change. Opioid and heroin related mortality in some states has been underreported more than others. For example, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana have not been some of the most meticulous data recorders. Because of this, their new rates after adjustment were notably higher. It is something that is likely to change the way the governments tackle this problem. If they can rely on this new data, they may have the realest view of the crisis yet. It also is important to note that the new finds show a different geographical pater that what was reported. Considering that the crisis is getting worse by the day, there is no doubt that the states should start using real; facts and data in their effort to save communities from the grueling effects.