Wyoming Unclear of Toll From Prescription Drug Abuse
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming officials say they can't precisely measure prescription painkiller abuse in the state because of inconsistent and incomplete record-keeping.
Statewide statistics on overdose deaths are gathered from county coroners, police and ambulance calls and people seeking help for drug abuse.
But Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti says the state's 23 county coroners report deaths differently. She says the other records don't always identify the specific drug involved in an overdose or account for all cases.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin were involved in more than 33,000 overdose deaths in 2015.
Wyoming had 95 overdose deaths that year, but officials say it's hard to determine how many were caused by prescription drugs.