Opioids have been around for a long time. Unfortunately, so has the opioid crisis. This class of drug may be helping people mitigate their pains, however — when abused — opioids can also kill people. Recently, it’s been found that the opioid crisis is far worse than initially perceived. The number of deaths from the opioid crisis seems to have been miscalculated — by a huge margin.

The Opioid Crisis Is Killing Far Too Many Americans

The University of Rochester Medical Center researchers conducted a study to learn the more accurate number of deaths caused by the ongoing opioid crisis in the country. They found out that deaths from opioid-related deaths are 28% higher than what was initially reported.

Researchers also learned that in some states, opioid-caused fatalities are possibly two times higher than what was originally broadcasted — the states Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania possibly have way more residents who died from an opioid overdose. The researchers believe that the reason for this discrepancy is that some victims lacked death records.

According to one of the study’s authors, Dr. Elaine Hill, “A substantial share of fatal drug overdoses is missing information on specific drug involvement, leading to underreporting of opioid-related death rates and a misrepresentation of the extent of the opioid crisis,” they added that “The corrected estimates of opioid-related deaths in this study are not trivial and show that the human toll has been substantially higher than reported, by several thousand lives taken each year.”

Does It Matter If We Learn the Accurate Opioid-Related Death Toll?

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2021, more than 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. Now that the University of Rochester Medical Center learned that the numbers could be more than that, then we should even be more worried about the opioid crisis — and the people who are struggling with opioid abuse.

Witnessing someone overdose on opioids can be traumatizing. Many of us have seen haunting videos of people overdosing on opioids. And, as tragic as it is, some of us may even know a person who’s a victim of the opioid crisis. If you do know someone who’s abusing opioids, there’s always the risk of them dying from opioid overdose. Sadly — and hopefully not — but if they do, they’ll end up becoming a part of the currently-misrepresented statistic — which should be prevented from happening.

Can the Opioid Crisis Be Overcome?

Most of us are aware of how dangerous opioids can be — and it should be emphasized that opioid overdose can be lethal if the person doesn’t get immediate medical attention. Currently, the standard antidote for opioid overdose is Naloxone (Narcan). However, most of the time, only medical professionals carry the drug. Therefore, if a person overdosing on opioids isn’t immediately found, or if the person they’re with doesn’t recognize that they’re overdosing, chances are, the victim will die.

That said, knowing how fatal opioid overdose can be, the best way to prevent people from dying from it is by advocating against opioid abuse. There’s no harm in informing your loved ones that opioid abuse is unhealthy and potentially life-threatening. You can remind them to avoid it unless it’s prescribed or administered to them by a medical professional.

If you — or you know someone — who’s abusing opioids, talk to a physician, consider going to a rehabilitation program, or find less-dangerous alternatives to opioids.

Types of Opioids and Opiates

Opioids are somewhat ancient drugs that have been used to treat people who are in extreme pain. Even now, they’re still used for that purpose — or what it’s supposed to be used for, at least. Now that we’re aware that there’s an ongoing opioid crisis, it’s important to know which types of opioids and opiates are being abused by some people.


Opioids and opiates are sometimes used interchangeably. The main difference between the two, however, is that opiates contain compounds that have been extracted from the opium poppy sap.

Here are some of the opiates:

  • Morphine
  • Genuine Heroin
  • Codeine
  • Opium


Opioids contain synthesized chemicals — or chemicals that weren’t sourced from the opium plant. These groups of drugs are typically made in the laboratory. Furthermore, some types of opioids are “semi-synthesized” — or some opium particles are still present in the drugs.

A few types of opioids and the common brands they come in:

  • Fentanyl (Sublimaze, Ultiva, Duragesic patch)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Methadone (Dolophine)
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin)
  • Dextromethorphan (Robitussin, NyQuil)


The opioid crisis seems significantly more worrisome than what was initially reported — there are far more Americans who are dying from opioids. Though opioids are integral to the world of medicine, when the drugs that fall under the opioid category are abused, the risk of a person dying from opioid overdose is always present. So far, thousands of Americans have fallen victim to the opioid crisis — and thousands more have apparently succumbed to this “silent epidemic.” What’s worse is the families they left behind still suffer and grieve from their losses.

If you know someone who’s abusing opioids, consider having a medical professional speak to them — they’ll suggest the best solution for your loved one.


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The opioid crisis seems to be more severe than we thought. Find out why. Learn which drugs belong to the opioid family.


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