NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An investigation has found that the number of drug overdose deaths in Tennessee is likely higher than reported.

The USA Today Network-Tennessee investigation found fundamental flaws in how drug deaths are reported across the state including inconsistencies in how officials flag possible overdose deaths, county budgets that limit the number of autopsies performed and death certificates that contain incomplete or inaccurate information.

There were at least 1,451 people who died from overdoses in Tennessee in 2015, but the investigation found there were likely hundreds more.

Dr. Adele Lewis, deputy state chief medical examiner, says “there is no doubt we are under-counting” drug overdose deaths.

The number is an important way to measure the extent of the drug problem in the state and determine ways to combat it.

Information from: The Tennessean,

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