Health & Fit: More people may die from opioids than thought - - PressFrom - US
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Health & Fit More people may die from opioids than thought

22:06  27 june  2018
22:06  27 june  2018 Source:   nbcnews.com

This engineered painkiller works like an opioid but isn't addictive in animal tests

  This engineered painkiller works like an opioid but isn't addictive in animal tests What if there were a drug that did the job opioids do best - relieve pain - without prompting many of their negative side effects.Addiction, of course, is a particularly dangerous and disruptive side effect, since it hijacks a patient's brain and demands escalating doses of opioid drugs to hold withdrawal symptoms at bay.

As many as 70,000 people may have died from opioid overdoses since 1999, but were not added to the already overwhelming toll, researchers reported Deaths from opioid overdoses may be even more numerous than people thought because they have been misclassified in many states, a new.

Public health officials overlooked more than 70,000 opioid -linked deaths from 1999 to 2015, according to the study. When someone dies of an overdose, it’s up to people like medical examiners and coroners to record exactly which drug was responsible.

Image: A full syringe, empty syringe and spoon on the roof of the car in which a man in his 20's overdosed on an opioidA full syringe, empty syringe and spoon on the roof of the car in which a man in his 20's overdosed on an opioid in the Boston suburb of Lynn, Massachusetts on Aug. 14, 2017. © Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC Image: A full syringe, empty syringe and spoon on the roof of the car in which a man in his 20's overdosed on an opioidA full syringe, empty syringe and spoon on the roof of the car in which a man in his 20's overdosed on an opioid in the Boston suburb of Lynn, Massachusetts on Aug. 14, 2017. Some states don't classify opioid overdoses on death certificates

As many as 70,000 people may have died from opioid overdoses since 1999, but were not added to the already overwhelming toll, researchers reported Wednesday.

They found that in some states, many drug overdoses are so broadly classified that they are not being counted properly as opioid-related. In some states, it's as many as a third of all drug overdose deaths, the team at the University of Pittsburgh school of public health reported.

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Public health officials overlooked more than 70,000 opioid -linked deaths from 1999 to 2015, according to the study. When someone dies of an overdose, it’s up to people like medical examiners and coroners to record exactly which drug was responsible.

Opioid overdoses caused more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record. Opioid Crisis Devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic include increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of newborns experiencing withdrawal

"Potentially 70,000 opioid-related, unintentional overdose deaths from 1999 through 2015 have been missed because of incomplete reporting, indicating that the opioid overdose epidemic may be worse than it appears," they wrote in the journal Public Health Reports.

Their findings support other studies that have found opioid overdoses are undercounted.

Pennsylvania had the most unspecified overdose deaths — more than half were not classified, they found.

The team went through death records and looked at specific codes assigned by the National Center for Health Statistics. They're called International Classification of Diseases, or ICD codes.

"We counted overdose deaths by state and year. We calculated the percentages of overdose deaths by state and year coded as opioid-related, non-opioid-related, and unspecified," the team, led by biostatistics researcher Jeanine Buchanich, wrote.

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  Fatal accidents involving drugs surpasses alcohol-related crashes: report A report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association stated fatal car crashes involving drugs has surpassed those related to alcohol in the past decade.A new report published Thursday found that fatal car crashes involving marijuana, opioids and drug use have increased over the past decade and surpassed incidents related to alcohol.

In 2016, nearly 50,000 people died of opioid overdoses in the United States, and, per capita, almost as many died in Canada. From 2000 to 2016, more Americans died of overdoses than died in World War I and World War II combined. Yet even these grim numbers understate the impact of opioid abuse

In 2014, more people died from opioid overdoses than fatal car accidents. I spend a weekly average of 550 frustrating minutes sharing the road with my fellow commuters; to think that more people have died from opioids than in car accidents is staggering.

They also looked at trends over time.

"In five states, more than 35 percent of overdose deaths were coded as unspecified (from highest to lowest: Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana, and Mississippi)," they wrote.

The team extrapolated how many unclassified drug overdose deaths were probably opioid related in each state. From 1999 to 2015, a total of 438,607 people died from unintentional drug overdoses. Opioid-related overdose deaths rose 401 percent. Unspecified overdose deaths rose by 220 percent, they added.

When they calculated how many unclassified drug overdose deaths were probably due to opioids, they found a huge variation from one state to another. Over the 16 years, just nine cases were probably misclassified in Vermont, while more than 11,000 had likely been misclassified in Pennsylvania, they found.

Part of it has to do with who files the death reports. Some states have coroners, who are often elected and who often have little or no medical expertise.

Opioid epidemic: New laws restricting prescriptions go into effect in three states

  Opioid epidemic: New laws restricting prescriptions go into effect in three states Beginning July 1, new laws aimed at limiting the supply of prescription opioids will go into effect in Florida, Michigan and Tennessee.Beginning July 1, Michigan doctors will be prohibited from prescribing more than a seven-day supply of opioid medication for patients in acute pain — pain from broken bones, bad backs, short illnesses and most surgeries, pain that's relatively short-term.

More than 200 opioid overdose deaths likely went unreported in Michigan in 2015, according to a new University of Pittsburgh study. Initial data said 1,186 people died from accidental opioid overdoses that year, according to the study. But a review by researchers showed that an additional 216 people

Veterans are among those hit the hardest by the devastation that is the American opioid crisis. In fact, the latest federal data shows those vets who served in The report, which was penned by Art Levine, explains that the VA’s practice of overprescribing opioid medications is the culprit behind thousands

"Coroners are less likely than medical examiners to be physicians and do not necessarily have the medical training needed to complete drug information for death certificates based on toxicology reports," they wrote.

Some states have more organized, centralized reporting systems than others do.

"Our analysis emphasizes the importance of reporting complete drug information on overdose deaths," they wrote.

The problem could get even worse as new synthetic drugs hit the market.

Overdoses are now being attributed to new drugs, such as fentanyl-related substances. "But the drug class codes have not changed, meaning that even with complete drug reporting, death certificates lose some drug specificity during the coding process," they wrote.

That makes it hard to keep track of where the problems are, what they are — and thus makes it harder for governments to respond effectively.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 42,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016, a 30 percent increase from the year before. Synthetic opioid overdoses killed 20,000 of them.

Opioid overdose deaths are so numerous they have helped drive down U.S. life expectancy.

The 'Holy Grail' of Safe Opioids Might Be One Step Closer to Reality .
The ultimate goal of pain medicine — a powerful painkiller with few to no side effects, such as dependence or overdose — is still elusive. But a team of researchers believe they’ve come closer to reaching it. The experimental drug, labeled AT121, affects the body differently than traditional opioids such as morphine.

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