RDSC Economist: The Opioid Crisis May Be Far Worse than We Thought

RDSC Economist Andrew Boslett’s Research Featured in National Media

Rochester Data Science Consortium Economist Andrew Boslett’s recently published research, co-authored with Elaine Hill, Ph.D., Economist and Assistant Professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Public Health Sciences, and Alina Denham, M.S., URMC, argues that opioid-related overdoses could be 28 percent higher than originally reported due to incomplete death records, making the Opiod Crisis far deadlier than previously imagined. The paper, published in the journal Addiction, found that almost 72 percent of unclassified drug overdoses that occurred between 1999-2016 involved prescription opioids, heroin, or fentanyl – translating into an estimated 99,160 additional opioid-related deaths.

The research found that this discrepency is more pronounced in certain states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Indiana, where the estimated number of deaths more than doubles – obscuring the scope of the opioid crisis and potentially affecting programs and funding intended to confront the epidemic.

The paper’s dramatic finding, novel research methods, and implications for how how we view the Opiod Crisis caused it to be quickly picked up by major national media, including ABC News, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, NewScientist, among others. A link to the complete research paper and associated news coverage can be found below.

Original Paper

Addiction: Using contributing causes of death improves prediction of opioid involvement in unclassified drug overdoses in US death records

News Coverage

ABC News: The opioid crisis may be far worse than thought, making the epidemic harder to fight

The Atlantic: The Opioid Epidemic Might Be Much Worse Than We Thought

The Crime Report: Is the Opioid Epidemic Much Worse Than Officials Have Said?

EurekAlert! (from AAAS): Study: The opioid crisis may be far worse than we thought

Futurity: More than 99K Opiod Deaths in U.S. May Have Gone Unreported

The Hamilton Spectator: Opioid epidemic death toll higher than originally thought, researchers say

Managed Healthcare Executive:Missing Data Masks Scale of Opioid Epidemic

NewScientist: US opioid crisis: 100,000 overdose deaths may have gone uncounted

Sci-Tech Daily: Opioid Crisis May Be Far Worse Than We Thought – Thousands More Lives Taken Each Year Than Reported

The Standard: Opioid epidemic death toll higher than originally thought, researchers say

University of Rochester Medical Center Newsroom: Study: The Opioid Crisis May Be Far Worse than We Thought

The Washington Post: The death toll of the opioid epidemic is higher than originally thought, researchers say