When researchers took a closer look at death records from 1999 to 2016, they discovered a disturbing trend. More than 20% of deaths from drug overdose did not specify the type of drug involved. Within the context of a nationwide epidemic that claims the lives of 130 Americans every day, this lack of answers was particularly upsetting. As a result, economists from the University of Rochester dug deeper and tried to uncover the truth behind these unspecified drug fatalities.
With a careful examination of records, the team of researchers was able to make a prediction:
About 72% of unspecified drug overdose deaths were actually from opioids.
Much Worse Than We Thought
The percentage above is important because it expands the scope of an already enormous epidemic. The published study adds more than 99,000 opioid deaths to the national death toll from 1999 to 2016, bringing the total number of opioid victims to 453,300. In some states, the number of deaths was double the previous estimates and nationally, the total number of fatalities increased by about 28%.
Many deaths in the United States are not investigated properly, due to understaffed public-health departments and poorly trained coroners. Mistakes in reporting can have serious consequences and interfere with the ability to address public health crises – like the existing opioid epidemic and the emerging coronavirus crisis.
Failures to correctly determine an individual’s cause of death can also diminish their family’s ability to seek justice, especially considering the ongoing opioid litigation in the United States.
How This News Could Affect You
If you lost a loved one to a drug overdose, their death may have been caused by inappropriate prescription, administration and/or promotion of opioids. Just like the investigators of this study, Attorney Brett H. Oppenheimer can dive deeper into your loved one’s potential case and help determine whether or not their fatal drug injury was caused by opioids.
Now is a crucial time to discuss your claim with our legal team. A federal judge recently cleared the way for the filing of claims against Purdue Pharma and related entities—even though there are currently Bankruptcy proceedings. Additionally, there is a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) handling many opioid claims.
Anyone who has been affected by Purdue opioids can file a claim until June 30, 2020. If you do not know what brand of opioids caused the suffering, or even if opioids were not the confirmed cause of loss, there has never been a better time to start investigating.
Explore your options with Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC today. Call our firm at (502) 242-8877 to speak to Brett directly or contact us online for a free consultation.