NEW YORK (CNN) – The latest government numbers show that drug overdose deaths in 2016 continued to climb, despite ongoing efforts to stem the overdose epidemic.
The age-adjusted quarterly death rate for drug overdoses increased by more than 20-percent between the first quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2016. The majority of those overdoses are from opioids.
Also, new data indicates that the number of opioid-related deaths may be under-reported. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of overdose deaths in the United States rose more than 137-percent. More than half a million people died from drug overdoses during that time.
According to the CDC, prescription opioids are a driving factor in the increase. Across the country, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
A new study finds that many opioid-related overdoses are under-reported and the scope of the problem may be much worse.
Researchers found that 20-to-25-percent of overdose death certificates did not have any specific drug listed as a cause, suggesting that estimates could be significantly off.
They believe the death rate from opioids is 24-percent higher than previously estimated.
The study’s lead author says data on drug overdose deaths should be improved so that authorities can better understand the opioid crisis and respond effectively.