Under Reporting of Deaths from Heroin Overdose

(Image from www.thefix.com)
(Image from http://www.thefix.com)

“If you don’t know how many people are dying from it, how do you know how to combat it?”

 This question, posed by Stacy Emminger, a woman her lost her son to heroin overdose, is at the heart of an article reported on NPR today.

Many states do not maintain accurate, detailed records of deaths due to overdose. As was the case for Emminger’s son, the death certificate states the cause of death as “multiple drug toxicity, accidental”. The problem with such a vague statement is that you have no idea what the person actually died from. This prevents identification of the full scope of the heroin (or other drug) problem and makes the availability of antidotes for overdose (like naloxone) or treatments (like methadone or buprenorphine) that much more difficult.

Read the whole article on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/2015/05/21/405936768/states-lack-accurate-statistics-on-widespread-heroin-use

Or listen to the story:

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/405936768/408407236

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