Opioid Overdoses in the US Rose 30 Percent in a Year

A man injects heroin into his arm at Kurt Cobain Memorial Park in Aberdeen Wash. on June 13. The U.S. government says non-fatal overdoses visits to hospital emergency rooms were up about 30 per cent late last summer compared to the same three-month per

The Tuesday report shows opioid overdoses that led to emergency room visits across the country jumped 30% from July 2016 to September 2017.

The most recent report from the CDC's Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) Program stated that, from July 2016 through September 2017, opioid overdoses have increased 35% in the program's 16 participating states. The exact number was not released.

Emergency departments can provide naloxone - a drug that combats overdoses - and recommend treatment to patients, making it an important frontline in the nation's opioid epidemic, the report said. "Closer coordination between public health and public safety can serve to address changes in the illicit opioid supply and use of illicit opioids, which affects overdose rates", she continued.

"This is a very hard and fast-moving epidemic", Schuchat said.

StateImpact's Jackie Fortier reports on new data about drug overdose deaths.

That's not to say they're the sole region affected by the opioid epidemic. Increases were seen in rates across demographic groups and all 5 US regions; the largest increases were seen in the Southwest, Midwest, and West (about 7 to 11% per quarter). But some states, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island showed a slight decrease. The rates of suspected opioid overdoses rose by 5% each quarter on average.

The supply of those more unsafe drugs is increasing faster in some parts of the country than in others, which may help explain the geographic variations, Schuchat says. That would involve training hospital physicians to administer the first dose of medications that reduce patients' opioid withdrawal symptoms so that they aren't sent out into the city without any defense against the itch for their next fix. "Having the right data available at the right time can help direct the right resources to the most impacted areas".


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