Drug Involvement in Fatal Overdoses Dec 01, 2017 By Christopher J. Ruhm Drug Involvement in Fatal Overdoses Death certificate data from the Multiple Cause of Death (MCOD) files were analyzed to better understand the drug categories most responsible for the increase in fatal overdoses occurring between 1999 and 2014. Statistical adjustment methods were used to account for the understatement in reported drug involvement occurring because death certificates frequently do not specify which drugs were involved in the deaths. The frequency of combination drug use introduced additional uncertainty and so a distinction was made between any versus exclusive drug involvement. Many results were sensitive to the starting and ending years chosen for examination. Opioid analgesics played a major role in the increased drug deaths for analysis windows starting in 1999 but other drugs, particularly heroin, became more significant for recent time periods. Combination drug use was important for all time periods and needs to be accounted for when designing policies to slow or reverse the increase in overdose deaths. SSM - Population Health Christopher J. Ruhm Christopher J. Ruhm (@christopherruhm) is a Professor of Public Policy & Economics at the University of Virginia. Read full bio Related Content Christopher J. Ruhm Oklahoma Wanted $17 Billion To Fight Its Opioid Crisis: What's The Real Cost? Research The state's plan — and the basis of that $17 billion ask — was looking at abatement for the next three decades. That 30-year plan was authored by Christopher Ruhm, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia. He says you can easily get into the billions when you consider the costs of dealing with this epidemic in the long term. Cognitive Performance and Labour Market Outcomes Research We use the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and other sources to examine how cognitive performance near the end of secondary schooling relates to labour market outcomes through age fifty. Our preferred estimates control for individual and family backgrounds, non-cognitive attributes, and survey years. New Research: Non-Opioid Drug Death Rates Are Also on the Rise News The number of Americans dying from drug overdoses has risen rapidly in the last decade, with opioids viewed as the primary culprit. However, recent research suggests that opioids are not the only drug involved. According to Batten professor of economics, Christopher J. Ruhm, half of the overdose deaths have involved polydrug use and deaths involving nonopioid drugs are rising almost as fast as those involving opioids.