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

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

More dismal news from the front lines of the opioid epidemic: Emergency room visits for opioid overdoses climbed by almost 30 percent between July of 2016 and September 2017, according to a report published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The general increment in opioid overdoses found in healing facility crisis rooms between the second from last quarter of 2016 and 2017 happened the country over.

A few areas, including Kentucky, noted decreased overdoses.

"We saw increases in every geographic region, increases in men and women, increases in all adult age groups", said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the acting director of the CDC. Kentucky's emergency opioid overdose visits decreased by 15 percent, and Rhode Island and New Hampshire both saw decreases of 10 percent or less. The jump was driven in part by a 109 percent increase in Wisconsin.

Overdose increases in some states and cities may be due to changes in the volume and type of illicit opioid drugs being sold on the streets, health officials said.

Because those who have experienced a past overdose are more likely to overdose again, the emergency departments can also use this data to target high-risk patients and connect them to case managers and community resources for substance use disorders. "It may be much more awful", Schuchat says.

The CDC reported that overdose rates were highest in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Missouri. "It is rare for a person to die due to the accidental overdose of a single drug", East Baton Rouge Parish's Coroner William "Beau" Clark wrote in his report.

"All five regions of the US saw significant increases during this time period", said Anne Schuchat, MD, acting CDC director, in a CDC tele-briefing Tuesday. "It is concerning that 20 years into this epidemic, it is still getting worse".

"It's sort of like indicating a consuming building and saying, 'Gracious, there's a fire there". "There's been a ton of talk from Congress and from the organization and an acknowledgment that we have to take care of this issue". Time after time addicts are essentially resuscitated and sent home without follow-up mind, just to overdose once more, she says.

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"Yep", he said. "We see a little of everything".

"We needed all the more opportune data", Schuchat says.

"Overall, ED visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased 35 percent in these 45 states hit hard by the epidemic", according to a press release. In Wisconsin, visits spiked 107 percent between July 2016 and September 2017, compared with 105 percent in DE, and 81 percent in Pennsylvania, with by far the largest population of the three.

But even in the smallest, most rural towns that submitted overdose data, there was a 21 percent increase in overdoses. Researchers said overdose rates in that system increased about 30% in all regions and most states.

The programs software collects data on more than 60 percent of all emergency room visits across the USA in 45 states.

The survey did find small declines in overdose visits in a few states, including MA and New Hampshire. In a moment, we'll hear about the first long-term study looking at how effective opioids are treating common kinds of chronic pain. "The quantity of Americans encountering opioid overdoses is as yet expanding". 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.

"Emergency department education and post-overdose protocols, including providing naloxone and linking people to treatment, are critical needs", said Alana Vivolo-Kantor, a behavioral scientist in CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. NPR health correspondent Rob Stein has the details.

SCHUCHAT: The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating.

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