CDC: ED opioid overdoses rise 30%

The opioid addiction epidemic sweeping the nation shows no signs of abating.

Emergency rooms saw a big jump in overdoses from opioids previous year - the latest evidence the nation's drug crisis is getting worse.

According to a report published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation's hospitalization rate directly linked to opioid misuse has risen about 30 percent, which is an alarming figure bar none. The largest increase came in the Midwest, which saw 70 percent more overdoses.

The data also confirmed again that the drug crisis, which started in rural America with the diversion of hundreds of millions of prescription painkillers to the black market, has struck cities hard, probably because of the increase in the use of the street drugs heroin and fentanyl. "But the substances are more unsafe than five years ago", Schuchat says. "The number of Americans experiencing opioid overdoses is still increasing". "But nothing yet has happened". He says an overdose can be an opportunity.

The latest analysis is an attempt by the CDC to track the opioid epidemic more closely, Schuchat says. While this fact has been supported by numerous studies over the past decade, the AAP report brings to light a disturbing and previously underreported facet of the burgeoning opioid crisis: among children under the age of six, "opioids now account for the majority of drug poisonings". "Having the right data available at the right time can help direct the right resources to the most impacted areas".

The report found that from July 2016 to September 2017, a total of 142,557 emergency room visits were due to suspected opioid overdoses. Temporal trends in overdoses were analyzed from 52 jurisdictions in 45 states at the regional level and by demographic characteristics. Significant quarterly rate increases were seen from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017 in 10 states; rates decreased significantly in one state. This increase was accompanied, the authors point out, by an increase in adult deaths from opioid overdose.

For example, overdoses increased 105 percent in DE, compared with 80.6 percent in Pennsylvania and 34 percent in Maine. But those increases varied dramatically from state to state, even within a region. In Kentucky, the CDC's analysis showed a 15 percent drop in overdoses.

Vanessa Coleman

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