Opioid Overdoses Skyrocket in Emergency Departments

Posted March 08, 2018

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

"The increases in overdoses were seen in adults of all age groups".

Emergency rooms across the United States saw a big jump in overdoses from opioids past year - the latest evidence the country's drug crisis is worsening.

This fast-moving epidemic affects all ages, genders and states and is still increasing across the USA, she said. There were variations in these rates among states in the Northeast and Southeast regions, with some states seeing significant increases and others experiencing nonsignificant decreases.

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IL is one of the hardest hit states, with a almost 66 percent increase in suspected opioid overdose visits to the emergency room previous year.

Comparing the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017, researchers found a 29.7 percent jump in ER visits due to opioids.

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.

The data is the latest sign that the "fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating", said Anne Schuchat, the CDC director.

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Almost two thirds of drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved prescription opioids, illicit opioids, or both, an increase of 27.7 percent from 2015.

"As medical professionals are becoming more aware of the potential for a patient to have an opioid overdose, the number of suspected cases will increase", she said. "However, if the person is seen in the ED, we are presented with an opportunity to take steps toward preventing a repeat overdose, ideally linking an individual to care and potentially preventing an overdose death". It also is increasing community outreach efforts to nursing homes to help address prescription opioid addiction among the elderly.

However, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are among states showing a decrease in such visits, according to the CDC data. In 45 states, opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in a year.

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