The Opioid Crisis Is Even Worse Than We Thought

Tyler Durden's picture

America’s opioid epidemic is now killing more than 100 people every day, fueling a public-health crisis that’s straining state and local resources – even forcing at least one Pennsylvania coroner to increase his freezer capacity to make room for all of the bodies.

And according to one recently published study, the epidemic may be killing more Americans than previously believed. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, suggests that certain states may have underestimated the rate of opioid- and heroin-related deaths, skewing national death totals by more than 20%. In 2014, the most recent year covered by the study, the rate of opioid-related deaths was, in reality, 24% higher than the official count.   

Meanwhile, data from the CDC released Tuesday show that drug overdose deaths peaked in the third quarter of last year, with 19.7 for every 100,000 people, compared with 16.7 in the same period the year before.

Trump signed an executive order in March creating a national opioid commission to recommend strategies for combating the crisis. The commission, which is being led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has already urged Trump to declare a national emergency to deal with the opioid crisis. A final list of recommendations is expected by Oct. 1.

"We will fight this deadly epidemic and the United States will win," Trump said during a press briefing on Tuesday called to address the opioid epidemic. "We will win. We have no alternative."

Discrepancies arise when death certificates don’t specify the class of drug, or the specific drug, responsible for a given death. In certain states, the corrected opioid-related death rates were significantly higher than what had previously been reported. In Pennsylvania, which had the highest discrepancy, the real rate was more than double the official rate, with deaths per 100,000 rising to 17.8 from 8.5. Indiana, Alabama, Louisiana and Kentucky were also guilty of “substantially” underreporting death rates.

According to government data, Pennsylvania had the 32nd highest reported opioid mortality rate and the 20th highest reported heroin mortality rate in the country. But the study found that nearly half of opioid and heroin-related deaths weren’t counted. When the data were corrected, Pennsylvania’s ranking rose to the fourth-highest opioid mortality rate, and seventh-highest heroin mortality rate.

The corrected data also yielded more “coherent” geographic patterns by eliminated discrepancies caused by quirks in how fatality data are collected in each state.

“Specifically, the corrected death rates demonstrate that opioid involved mortality was concentrated in the Mountain States, Rust Belt, and Industrial North—extending to New England—and much of the South, whereas heroin deaths were particularly high in the Northeast and Rust Belt, but less so in the South or Mountain States. The results were less apparent when using reported rates, because high mortality in states such as Pennsylvania and Indiana were concealed by a frequent lack of specificity about drug involvement on death certificates.”

The study, which analyzed data on drug-related deaths collected between 2008 and 2014, found that heroin-related deaths increased more rapidly in most states, except for Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Nationwide, the increase in heroin-involved mortality was underestimated by around 18%, while the change in opioid-related fatalities was negligible.

Drug-overdose deaths in 2015 killed 52,000 Americans, more than gun homicides or car accidents. Preliminary data suggest that number grew to nearly 60,000 in 2016. In one Ohio county, deaths from drug overdoses – the bulk of which were caused by powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl – surpassed deaths from homicides, suicides and car crashes combined.

And 2017 is expected to be even worse.

Read the full study below:

2017.08.08ajpmopiates by zerohedge on Scribd




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NoPension's picture

What kind of drug dealer kills his fucking customers?

Addict them...yes. Kill them? WTF?

Yen Cross's picture

  Medicare and Obamacare for starters.

  Ohhh, I forgot the VA. They love killing obsolete soldiers.

Stackers's picture

Maybe we should start by not having the US Army protect Afghanistan poppy fields ?

SofaPapa's picture

Language gives it all away...

"We will fight this deadly epidemic and the United States will win"

Far too few in the world - with an even smaller percentage of those living here in the US - understand that precisely this framing of this subject creates the problem.  Create a war rooted in people's behavior - mankind's favorite strategy throughout history - sit back, and count the casualties of the war.  If you want to end the casualties, end the war.

Ending all wars, however - literal military ones and social ones as well - would require those in positions of "power" (which is actually a myth, but quite a tantalizing illusion) to be willing to permit individuals to interact freely with both ourselves and each other.  Our species is nowhere close on a population-wide scale to being willing to relinquish "control" (illusory though it be) over our surroundings.  There have been many individuals who have attained this willingess.  Relative to the population, however, these individuals are still a drop in the ocean.  This is true in every human society I have heard stories of, among all races and ethnic groups.

Put more briefly:

Mmm. Another war.  Let's add it to all the others.  Should work out great. Right?

pugilist's picture

so, this is why they're called pain killers?

Automatic Choke's picture

death rate?   i thought it was pretty much one per person, regardless....

EuroZone's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

two hoots's picture

Blacks killing blacks, drug abusers dying....somethings they just let happen as the gov is likely thinking "save them and you'll have to support them forever including the cost of saving them.  They will likely reproduce and create more of the same"?   So the gov can keep clean hands and let nature take its course. 

M4DM4N's picture

Sorry, but this one ain't just a black thing.  I live in a state that is majority black, and yes, they kill each other and themselves frequently with guns, drugs, etc., but the painkiller issue is an upper-middle class thing here.  In the rather affluent community where I work, the painkillers are killing the housewives with tennis elbow and their teenage kids who are swiping the pills from mom's purse.  Hell, one of my sons has been prescribed more hydrocodone by this age(18) than I have been in my entire life!!! And I used to have some significant back problems!!! There is a claim that restrictions on what and how much a doc can prescribe are supposedly helping the problem, but I'm not seeing it.  I see a free flow of pain pills all over the place. 

The charts above also try linking the OD deaths to opioids alone when, in fact, benzodiazapines (xanax, valium, rohypnol) are a likely culprit for many of those.  Xanax is all the rage with the rappers now, too (look for "xany bars" in the lyrics), so the demand for and use of those is also through the roof.


Can't these kids and their moms just smoke a joint or do a line of blow like normal people used to?!?! 

Volaille de Bresse's picture

"Hell, one of my sons has been prescribed more hydrocodone by this age(18) than I have been in my entire life!!! And I used to have some significant back problems!!"


Hey what happened to PAIN in this country? Pain is good, REHABILITATE PAIN!!!


Huh the last sentence sounds like a quote from a Chuck Palahniuk novel. Where's the America that endorsed "the fight club" back in the late 90's.

naps8906's picture

And this is bad because?  More dead = less burden on medicare/ss.  I wish number is closer to 10,000/day

Uncle Skid's picture

"Another war."  If it's like the war on poverty, drugs, and terrorism it'll be just another money pit.

DieselChadron's picture

I think this mind fuck campaign is mostly designed to garner public support for including psychology pharmaceuticals in obamacare 2.0.  Here is why I think so:

Footprint's picture

Agreed; Also find out who flies the drugs out of Pakistan.



Nolde Huruska's picture

This current epidemic is being driven by Big Pharma opiods. The majority of their opiates are grown in Tasmania and supplied by Tasmanian Alkaloids. Used to be a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson but private now. It is also moving into medical cannabis;

what happened's picture


Of course there is the physician and federal government role in this.  This epidemic began in the 1990's with a false flage that a third of the population had chronic pain syndrome.  I knew doctors that were in the pain management business and then turn patients over to the addiction manager.  This is what happens when you put profit before people.

youngman's picture

It was a way of getting workers comp for life......again a money for nothing scheme....remember carpel tunnel syndrome....

lew1024's picture

If they conveniently die in the hospital, they provide organs.

Lots of $ in organs, ask the Clinton-CIA Crime Cabal.

HRClinton's picture

The kind whose agenda isn't money, but getting rid of the "wrong sort"?

Change the voting demographics in inner cities in swing States?

"Yo, Ni**a! Try this new sh*t!"


Jballsquared's picture

25% of the country got an opiate prescription in the last 12 months. Death rate is 19.7 per 100,000.

You do the math. This is paranoid fever dream of the cocksuckers needing to replace their lost marijuana enforcement revenue with a new bogeyman. So tired of this shit. I took oxy for five years. Loved every minute of it. Keep it under 30mg a day and you're fine. I quit, tapered off for three days and replaced it with Xanax and caffeine for a week. No big fucking deal. Still hooked on the caffeine though. The troglodytes smoking up 30 pills a day are in a whole other camp but go ahead and take their oxy, they'll just go back to smoking meth so have fun with that. If you just legalize the goddam plants and let folks hit the poppy the way god intended they wouldn't go jacking up to the concentrates in the first place.

Learn, bitchez.

BeanusCountus's picture

Agree. My math a little different though. Using your number of 25% of population, 80M got scrips for the stuff. But number I use is only 15M of population gets them on recurring basis. Pretty small. 36,500 die? Less than 1/10th of one percent of recurring. And they do it to themselves. Sad, but alcohol, smoking, hell, maybe even jogging, does what it does. We have more stuff to worry about.

Xena fobe's picture

It is less than that because the statistics are mixing street drug users with prescription drug users. 

lew1024's picture

George Webb's Youtube series shows that the CIA makes $ from importing cheap opiods from SE Asia -> Pakistan and India at 1/4 and 1/2 strength.  Those go into the VA's supplies, also other nation-wide pharmacy chain's supplies.

So legit users can be getting 1/4 strength this week, and full strength next week.  --> OD.

boattrash's picture

Bingo! If people with chronic pain could grow that poppy patch, score the pod, stir a ball of that latex into their morning coffee and maybe an afternoon cup as well, there would be no need for all the synthetic shit from Big Pharma.

HedgeJunkie's picture

I am in chronic pain. The drugs fuzz me out and I can't have that while I'm working. So I ignore the pain and do what I need to do.

Users of opioids that die from abuse simply committed another form of suicide.

My son recently suicided (shot to the head) and I'm suddenly in a group where we are comparing notes. The fact that this group is formed in this smallish town (pop <50k) is telling enough; but there were three new suicides since my sons' a little over a month ago.

I think we're witnessing people giving up on a mass scale.

How they give up is up to them. Some, like my son, use a gun; others use drugs. I smoke and drink beer and, occasionally, tequila.

But I haven't given up to take it to the excess.

Troy Ounce's picture


Sorry to hear about your son.

But do you know where all that gender, trans, political correctness and race fixation comes from? From the same source the opioids epidemic comes from:

A growing number of people feel alienated from our shit society. They have no purpose and nobody fucking cares. 

War will come because of this. 

BeansMcGreens's picture

An excellent comment.

Alienation has always been a source of drug escape/ suicide but now has accelerated due to television, movies, youtube and such entertainment. To be a proper American or just human if you do not have that nice house, great paying job, new car you are a loser. And for many these of people, of which I am one, will never have, though my life is by choice, I am over sixty and quite content. But for many, and even my children are affected by this, the lack of certain things make them feel as if they are one of a lower caste system of which there is no escape.

And I am seeing more of this attitude around me. The most uneducated fat slob  that might be a county deputy or soldier is considered a giant amoung others due to his "sacrifice" so worthy of their taxpayer salary, while the lowly businessman actually producing something is for some strange reason considered ignorant due to driving a fifteen year old car.

Adult life is becoming a continuation of high school.

bloofer's picture

You're right up to a point, but there are other factors. There is little available in the way of meaningful work, and almost nothing in the way of self-directed meaningful work. People have a real need for this. Without it, work loses its dignity. They need an economy in which they can start businesses--or, when they're young, plan to start businesses by gaining skills and capital. In other words, people are not very happy when they're slaves.

Many people will be satisfied with meaningless non-self-directed work, as long as they have social connections: They're willing to do even slave-type of work to provide for their families. Nowadays, social connection through family life is a lot harder to come by.

Yes, young people have been conditioned to not value their own lives if they don't have "things." But even without them, people will still value their own lives if they have social connections--and even moreso if they are allowed to be productive.

M4DM4N's picture

It doesn't help their feeling of alienation when their form of socialization is blankly staring into their phones all day.  Don't get me wrong...I love my phone and all it does for me, but the phone snubbing I get from my wife and kids these days is becoming infuriating.  Couple that with the fact that most under-30's have snapchat as a main source of "news" and you're right...we are primed for war, because we are primed for whatever the screen tells us is right. 

Gen. Ripper's picture

You're carrying a heavy load. Hope you can keep that good attitude.

peterpam's picture

Hey Hedgejunkie, I'm so sorry about your son. I know what it's like to loose a kid to drugs/alcohol and alienation to this madness.

Captain Chlamydia's picture

Sorry for your loss. I'm a family doctor in the Netherlands and lost patients and friends to suicide. 

The more a country is 'evolved', the higher the suicide rate. Yes, that is correct. Multiple factors for those numbers of course. 

For example, female doctors in Sidney have a three times higher suicide rate than the rest of Australia. 

As a doctor, I think the whole society is ill. It will take many more lives before politics, society, economics and people change. Maybe the way we treat our animals is examplery for the way our society is run. 

I have two sons and the love goes deep, do not know how you must feel. 

Kind regards, wisdom and peace to you. 

boattrash's picture

HJ, So sorry to hear that. I've lost a couple very close friends to suicide but never a child. My sincere condolences to you and yours. Stay strong my friend. Hopefully one day I can meet up with you and share some of those beers and tequila. BT

SofaPapa's picture


My deepest condolences for your pain, and most especially for the pain of the loss of your son.  Pain such as yours demands response, while there is of course none possible to soften it.  Only time.  You have my most sincere respect for your position.

"I think we're witnessing people giving up on a mass scale."

You touch here on a theme I think about a lot.  The societal pressures on all of us at this point are extreme.  Each of us faces our own individual pressures, the pressures of our direct social network, and the "societal" pressures common to us all.  That last element - the pressure of our society - has recently gone off the charts.  We are witnessing literal casualties to this pressure.  It is becoming increasingly "rational" to consider escaping the madness however we can.

Just one more perspective, however: when we "fight the insanity", we feed it.  Violent (emotional or physical) opposition only serves to amplify even further the crazy both around us and within us.  Suicide, in all its forms, lies among these violent forms of resistance.  Acceptance, on the other hand - so derided in our culture - represents time-honored medicine to calm insanity.  What we cannot accept we are doomed to amplify.  Paradoxically, acceptance is the true path to escape.

This, the most difficult strategy for any individual to practice, brings the greatest reward.

Again, my respect to you for sharing your loss.

Volaille de Bresse's picture

"I think we're witnessing people giving up on a mass scale"

Yup but why the same wave of suicides didn't happen during the Great Depression? My guess is religion was more pregnant than it is now. People with a suicidal drive were held back by their religious belief (all religions ban suicide).


My thoughts are with you HJ.

lew1024's picture

Long-term, high-dose cannabis controls pain, but doesn't fuzz your mind.

I know coders who write great code day after day with a hash pipe on their desk.

CBD is said to not be so potent mentally, I don't see any difference between that and THC, although it is indeed better at controlling pain.

BrownCoat's picture

@ NoPension,

"What kind of drug dealer kills his fucking customers?"

Ever hear of a drug called Krokodil ?

Oh regional Indian's picture

Precisely and a clear sign that those marketing these drugs are not in it for the profit (plenty of that in the doctor/pharma nexus). 

They are in it precisely for killing off the weakest sections of society, weak in the pocket, weakened in the mind, weakened in spirit.

This is Brave new world run by the Harkonnens....

They've succeeded in creating a society that will never rise against their oppressors.... too much fear of pain/death...


JLM's picture

Proof there is a devil if you need one  :(

Lore's picture

Canada is a little further along in this particular game of Crisis Creation. "Harm Reduction" programs essentially socialize all the expense of keeping the addict alive, while ensuring continued stable cash flow to the trafficker.  To the psychopathic organizers of a narcocracy, such a program is "Win-Win." 

Call me hard-nosed, but on one level at least, I can't help thinking that anybody who knowing and deliberately puts anything like that shit in their bodies is merely doing their bit to affirm Darwin's theory of Natural Selection, with commensurate savings to the public purse. 

Toxicosis's picture

That is why I am fully against any safe injection sites paid for by the taxpayer.  Let the drug dealers build the shit and let them hook as many as they like.  Bring the wagon around every morning to collect the dead.  They can also pay for disposal/incineration costs.  We need to stop saving people from themselves.  They continue to use, then they are useless continuers.

Lore's picture

On the other hand, there are many sad stories associated with victims.  What we're seeing is symptomatic of psychopaths in charge.  They're natural destroyers.  It's strange how they regard themselves as better than the people around them, when all they ever leave is a trail of destruction and heartache.  Everything gets more corrupt, perverse and broken unless / until power is taken away from psychopaths.  It's why I'm absolutely certain that America is on a path to complete collapse.  The absolute worst among you are empowered and freed from accountability and treated like celebrities, and the sheeple STILL, STUBBORNLY put faith in their lies. 

Toxicosis's picture

I don't disagree that drug dealers would be narc's, sociopaths and even psychopaths.  And yes there are some terrible stories out there.  If a woman was hooked from a young age and working the streets than I say put her in rehab, even against her will.  Help her clean up, but if she goes back to self-destructive behaviors, than what?  Many families have other responsibilities to contend with, how much energy time and money should we continue to expend on every user.  I know mother's that use heroin constantly and deprive their children of the basics of life.  The children need the future, I say let her go and take her own life as she puts her selfish needs ahead of her children.  And yes I see North America going down a permanent shit-hole if this doesn't stop.

FoggyWorld's picture

Drug dealers could care less because for every one they lose they seem to be able to pick up another.

armageddon addahere's picture

"What kind of drug dealer kills his fucking customers?"


What kind of drug dealer gives a shit what happens to his customers? Not the big drug companines making billions that's for sure. They don't care now and they never did care.

1033eruth's picture

If they would have only borrowed the tobacco company's strategy, they would have an exploding consumer base.  Need to get some doctors to do commercials about how 8 out of 10 doctors recommends Camels (insert opiode substitute here), etc, etc.  Find the right Marlboro man and so on.  But the very smart thing would be to go over seas to China where they are addicted to cigarettes and start spiking their tobacco with a little bit of (fill in the blank).  They wouldn't be able to keep up with demand.

What an ingenious way to subvert China too.  

BeanusCountus's picture

For 36,500 deaths per year? Collateral damage. And it's small relative to the people that take em. And probably need em. Sorry to be so cold,but this is overblown. Soon the number will go down, as the abusers die off. Those folks would die of something or other anyway. And how many of the "opiod deaths" are heroin? All in the same category you know. Bet that it's at least 50%.

lasvegaspersona's picture

oral opioids...non-suicides...probably...ZERO.

Combined with alcohol and or downers though...the numbers can go up.