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Old 29 August 2017, 04:37 PM
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erwins erwins is offline
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,366
Icon86 Fact checking the opioid epidemic

I am interested in understanding what is fact, what is fiction, what is spin, and what is media hype about the opioid epidemic.

There are aspects of what is being reported that remind me of the whole "crack baby" hysteria.

I've sought out some articles, but, for example, on the federal HHS site, there are articles that seem to me to lump relatively unrelated things together as part of the same statistic, which makes the statistics less useful to me, and also makes the site seem less trustworthy to me.

For example, it listed a number for something like how many people abused a prescription drug in 2015. The number included people who had taken prescribed medication for a nonmedical reason, and people who had taken a prescription drug that was not prescribed to them. While both are undesirable, the details of the latter could often have little to do with what is commonly thought of as drug abuse.

Other articles cite percentage increases in deaths over 30 years without giving the actual numbers, or providing the death *rate*. Looking up the numbers for the actual death rates, it looks like there has been a potentially large increase in the death rate from heroin in the past 4 years, and much smaller changes in the death rates from prescription opioids.

Anyway, I am hoping that there can be some discussion of the data and the reporting, and some serious Snopesing about what is true, what is hype and ideologically-driven spin, and what is still to be proven, etc.
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