ED Opioid Overdose Visits Jump 30% in One Year

Ebony Scott
March 7, 2018

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds DE hospitals have seen a more than 100 percent increase in suspected opioid overdoses. In 16 states with particularly high overdose rates, shown in the CDC graphic below, the ER visit rate jumped by an average of 34.5 percent.

"With the attention that this is getting, it's very disappointing that we're seeing these increases", said Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC Acting Director.

The Vital Signs report was published online March 6 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report compiled from emergency departments in 45 states found overdoses rose 109 percent in Wisconsin, 66 percent in IL, 35 percent in IN, 28 percent in OH and 21 percent in Missouri.

The Midwest experienced a 70 percent increase over that time, a spike that was driven by rises in Wisconsin of 109 percent, IL at 66 percent, and in at 35 percent. Pennsylvania experienced an 81% hike.

Overdoses also increased in "cities and towns of all types", the report said. It's not that more people are abusing drugs, it's the kind of drugs they're using.

"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.

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Nearly 100 people are dying every day across America from opioid overdoses - more than auto crashes and shootings combined.

Almost 143,000 Americans were brought to the ER for opioid overdoses during the 15-month period.

The CDC's guidance went a step further than education, encouraging community members to 'connect with organizations in the community that provide public health services, treatment, counseling, and naloxone distribution'.

The CDC defines opioids as prescription pain medications, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever.

There were some decreases reported in the East, with the largest being a 15 percent reduction in Kentucky, which could reflect fluctuation in drug supplies or interventions. "This data sends a wake up call about the need to improve what happens when patients leave the emergency department". But those increases varied dramatically from state to state, even within a region.

The study comes just a week after the White House held a week-long opioid summit. According to media reports, Trump claimed to have already discussed plans for prosecuting manufacturers of prescription painkillers with United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Others say one key could be training emergency room doctors and nurses to make sure addicts get help to break their addiction.

Today - two new reports about opioids.

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