Opioid Overdoses Skyrocket in Emergency Departments

Opioid Overdoses Skyrocket in Emergency Departments

Opioid Overdoses Skyrocket in Emergency Departments

The statistics released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are from 16 states that received federal grants to help them better track hospital ER visits caused by opioids.

The report analyzed overdoses from emergency department visits in the across 52 jurisdictions in 45 states from July 2016 through September 2017. In 16 states hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, ER visits from overdoses rose 35 percent during that time.

However, the CDC says it's seeing its highest-ever opioid-related death rates.

"Emergency department education and post-overdose protocols, including providing naloxone and linking people to treatment, are critical needs", Vivolo-Kantor said. It is typical to see overdose increases at the start of the month, when many people get their paychecks, but the spikes could also be due to growing fentanyl use, he said.

"This is a very hard and fast-moving epidemic", she said. Increases were seen in rates across demographic groups and all 5 USA regions; the largest increases were seen in the Southwest, Midwest, and West (about 7 to 11% per quarter). Overdoses in the Southeast rose at the slowest rate, increasing by 14 percent.

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The greatest increases were noted in states in the Midwest region, including Wisconsin (109%), IL (66%), in (35%), OH (28%), and Missouri (21%).

Jennifer Miller, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services, said many suspected opioid overdoses in ERs don't become confirmed cases.

The supply of those more risky drugs is increasing faster in some parts of the country than in others, which may help explain the geographic variations, Schuchat says. But some states that historically have had the worst opioid problems, including West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, experienced small decreases in overdose visits.

Opioids were involved in two-thirds of all overdose deaths in 2016.

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