A New Study Shows ER Visits for Overdoses Are Skyrocketing


Because research shows that having one overdose is a good predictor of having another, the data presents an opportunity for targeting prevention efforts-like giving overdose reversal drug naloxone to family members and guiding the overdose victim to treatment-say CDC researchers in an accompanying commentary.

The American opioid epidemic claimed more than 64,000 lives in 2016 alone.

Health officials have been playing catch-up with the opioid epidemic all along, leaving many questioning how we got to the crisis point we've reached.

The new CDC report had some limitations, including that the data sources could have underestimated or overestimated opioid overdoses based on differences in how hospitals coded their emergency department visits. That 90-day emergency declaration was renewed at the end of January - but made no additional funding available to institute program, according to accounts.

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

There's more bad news about the nation's devastating opioid epidemic.

Now, their fast tracking method has revealed that the crisis is far from over.

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Public health experts say use of the overdose antidote Naloxone, coupled with a decline in opioid prescriptions may be working.

But the rates varied between regions and states.

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 Division of Public Health, already recognizing the important role that not only emergency departments, but also first responders have to play in battling the state's opioid epidemic, is holding the Acute Overdose Management System of Care Forum on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at Delaware Technical Community College in Dover.

Other major outbreaks of overdoses included a 105 percent increase in DE, an 81 percent increase in Pennsylvania, and a 34 percent increase in Maine.

On the whole, the Midwest suffered the highest rates of overdose, with every state in the region reporting increases.

However, hospital visits in cities of all types increased steadily in each quarter by 51 percent.

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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.

But even in the smallest, most rural towns that submitted overdose data, there was a 21 percent increase in overdoses.

The "amount of prescription #opioids prescribed was approximately three times as high in 2015 as it was in 1999 - enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for 3 weeks", acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat said on Twitter last week.

Every state in the Midwest region experienced large increases: Wisconsin (109 percent), IL (66 percent), in (35 percent), OH (28 percent) and Missouri (21 percent). New Jersey was not included in the study.

The World Health Organization has described the epidemic of opioid overdoses and deaths in North America as being fueled by increased prescribing and sales.

Health departments also can notify communities about emerging spikes in emergency department overdoses so that public health and public safety resources can be better coordinated to respond when help is needed most.

Meanwhile, White House officials are being briefed today by Dr Warren Bickel, an addiction neuroscientist with Virginia Tech University, whose aim is to educate the government on the behavioral science behind the opioid epidemic.

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