Death Certificates’ Lack Of Specificity Hampers Efforts To Curb Opioid Crisis
When a patient overdoses with multiple drugs in his or her system, it's often lumped together on the death certificate as "multiple drug toxicity." But knowing drug types could help public health officials figure out which is causing the most deaths.
Getting Better Data On Which Drugs Are Killing People
As the opioid epidemic surges, Alabama’s toxicologists are testing more blood samples from overdose victims to determine what drugs were in their bodies. But the results of those costly and time-consuming tests are not always ending up on death certificates. More often than not, when overdose victims are found to have multiple drugs in their bodies, coroners simply write “multiple drug toxicity” or “drug overdose” on the death certificate, says Alabama’s forensic science chief Michael Sparks. (Vestal, 8/19)