ER visits for opioid overdose up 30%, CDC study finds

Opioid Epidemic Worsens In US With Overdoses In ERs Up 30 Percent Last Year

ER visits for opioid overdose up 30%, CDC study finds

IL is one of the hardest hit states, with a almost 66 percent increase in suspected opioid overdose visits to the emergency room a year ago. North Carolina saw a 31 percent spike during the same time period. The exact number was not released.

Overdoses from opioids have increased by 30 per cent across the U.S. in eighteen months, prompting experts to warn that the epidemic of addiction that has already claimed tens of thousands of lives is getting worse. Wisconsin had the largest increase of the states measured, a 108 percent surge in emergency department utilization.

The ER data show trends in the opioid abuse epidemic before deaths do, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study.

The Attorney General's office reported that a major factor in overdoses increasing is the presence of fentanyl mixed with heroin, making the drugs more powerful and more likely to cause an overdose.

Emergency departments at SSM Health St. Mary's in both Madison and Sun Prairie started a program where people who overdose are encouraged to seek drug treatment.

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.

But Smith, at the medical association, said that while Portland may have more access to Narcan, that may not be the case in more rural parts of Maine. The only significant drop was in Kentucky (15 percent).

"This increase reinforces the need for us to work together: government, health care, behavioral health, community-based organizations, substance use disorder treatment programs, clinicians, pharmacists, law enforcement, and others, to implement strategies to help reverse the growing epidemic", Shah said in an emailed statement.

"We think that the idea of initiating medically-assisted treatment in the emergency department is an innovative and exciting strategy", Schuchat said. Overdoses in the Southeast rose at the slowest rate, increasing by 14 percent. The CDC now recommends against using opioids for chronic pain. "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.

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