Opioid Overdoses in the US Rose 30 Percent in a Year

Desiree Steele
March 8, 2018

Meanwhile, a separate report found that emergency room visits from opioid overdoses rose 30 percent, although no data from Oklahoma was included.

Wisconsin and DE each saw a more than 100 percent increase in opioid-related emergencies past year.

Nationwide, emergency room visits increased 30 percent from July 2016 to September 2017.

The Chicago Tribune reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released state emergency room data.

After the Midwest, where opioid overdose visits rose an average of 70 percent, the largest regional increase was in the West, where the rise was 40 percent.

"We saw, sadly, that in every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing", Schuchat says.

Schuchat cautioned the CDC data could be a low-end estimate, as some drug users may avoid going to an emergency department when they overdose.

Schuchat and Adams called for expanding the use of naloxone to first responders, community members and overdose victims and their families to prevent opioid overdoses. In Kentucky, the CDC's analysis showed a 15 percent drop in overdoses.

Southall said that during the past six months, any patient who shows up at the Mercy emergency department after overdosing can get access to treatment programs, and can even make an appointment with a primary care doctor while they're still recovering at the hospital.

The fact that the report was only able to capture people who were hospitalized suggests that the grim toll may be much higher, because many people who overdose never go to the ER.

The findings in the report could help identify and track overdoses in a way that helps the development of responses from both the medical community and law enforcement agencies, Schuchat said. The findings highlight the need for enhanced prevention and treatment efforts in EDs and for greater access to evidence-based opioid use disorder treatments, including medication-assisted treatment and harm reduction services. "Closer coordination between public health and public safety can serve to address changes in the illicit opioid supply and use of illicit opioids, which affects overdose rates", she continued. "However, there an increasing number of high quality studies that are demonstrating, for a number of conditions, injuries, and surgeries, a combination of ibuprofen or naproxen and acetaminophen is as effective or more effective than an opioid in reducing pain", Hull said.

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