Opioid overdoses kill nearly 5 people every hour in the US — CDC

In US opioid overdoses up 30 percent in a year

In US opioid overdoses up 30 percent in a year

The report found that from July 2016 to September 2017, a total of 142,557 emergency room visits were due to suspected opioid overdoses.

The emergency department (ED) visits for opioid overdoses in 45 states increased 30 percent in the USA, from July 2016 through September 2017, says the report.

The hospital data is collected by the CDC's Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance program.

"Opioid overdoses increased for men and women, all age groups, and all regions", said the report. "For every fatal case, there are many more nonfatal cases, each one with its own personal and economic toll", said Anne Schuchat, the CDC's acting director.

State and county health departments play a key role in combating the opioid epidemic by providing naloxone to the public and first responders, increasing access to addiction treatment, and supporting harm reduction programs for injection users, according to the report.

The agency also released specific data for 16 states that are among the hardest hit by the opioid crisis and get extra funding to report overdose data more quickly.

A handful of states - New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Kentucky and West Virginia - saw a decrease in overdoses that brought patients to the emergency room. "The quick moving opioid overdose epidemic proceeds and is quickening". Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Delaware and IL reported an uptick of 50 percent or more, the report said. Belated efforts to rein in distribution fueled a resurgence of heroin and the emergence of a deadly, black market version of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

According to the CDC, overdoses kill about five people every hour across the USA with the victims totalling 5,400 more in 2016 then the soldiers who died during the entire Vietnam war. "Increases in opioid overdoses varied by region and urbanization level, indicating a need for localized responses".

STEIN: That's right. She said overdoses spiked 70 percent in Midwestern states like Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

ANDREW KOLODNY: It is concerning that 15, 20 years into this epidemic, it is still getting worse.

The study comes just a week after the White House held a week-long opioid summit.

STEIN: Kolodny says the nation needs billions of dollars to provide treatment for the millions of Americans struggling with their addiction.

JESSICA HULSEY NICKEL: We can use this near-death experience - use it as a moment to change that person's life.

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