CDC Admits Rx Opioid Deaths ‘Significantly Inflated’ — Pain News Network – March 21, 2018 – By Pat Anson, Editor
Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have acknowledged that the agency’s methods for tracking overdose deaths are inaccurate and have significantly overestimated the number of Americans that have died due to prescription opioids.
(See previous post: CDC Over-Counting Rx Opioid Overdose Deaths)
In an editorial appearing in the American Journal of Public Health, four researchers in the CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention say many overdoses involving illicit fentanyl and other synthetic black market opioids have been erroneously counted as prescription drug deaths.
How inflated were the overdose numbers?
- Using the agency’s “traditional definition” for prescription opioids, the CDC estimated that 32,445 Americans died from overdoses of pain medication in 2016.
- Under a new “conservative definition” – one that excludes the “high proportion of deaths” involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl – the death toll from prescription opioids is cut nearly in half to 17,087 overdoses.
The editorial by CDC researchers Puja Seth, Rose Rudd, Rita Noonan and Tamara Haegerich carries a disclaimer that their views “do not necessarily represent the official position” of the CDC.
But given the agency’s past reluctance to let employees speak to the media without prior approval, it’s highly unlikely the editorial was not cleared beforehand.
Original article: CDC Admits Rx Opioid Deaths ‘Significantly Inflated’