CDC reports rising opioid-related emergency room visits

Posted March 07, 2018

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.

"Seeing frequent overdoses, especially in young patients, can take an emotional toll", Sharp said. Missouri's rate increased by 21 percent.

"Our results through September 2017 show opioid overdoses are increasing across all regions, most states for most men and women and most age groups", said Dr Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC.

Midwestern states increased the most dramatically, with a 70% jump fueled by a doubling (109% increase) of overdose ED visits in Wisconsin.

The rate rose most in the Midwest - 70 percent, including a 65 percent hike in IL. Another dramatic increase occurred in Pennsylvania, where overdoses went up 81%.

The opioid epidemic is affecting all types of residential areas - from the smallest rural towns to the biggest metropolitan cities - but the sharpest increases in related hospital trips happened in urban areas.

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

'Coordinated action between [emergency rooms], health departments, mental health and treatment providers, community-based organizations, and law enforcement can prevent opioid overdose and death, ' its new report said.

The report highlighted a number of prevention and treatment methods that have been, and will continue to be, implemented to drive down the staggering effects of the nationwide crisis.

For this report, CDC turned to emergency department records from 52 jurisdictions in 45 states to provide the most up-to-date look possible.

There were some decreases reported in the East, with the largest being a 15 percent reduction in Kentucky, which could reflect fluctuation in drug supplies or interventions.

Benjamin Miller with the Well Being Trust, a national foundation that explores holistic health issues, said the latest CDC data on opioid overdoses is tragic, unsurprising and offers the latest "reflection of our country's inability to have a timely and comprehensive response to these issues". According to media reports, Trump claimed to have already discussed plans for prosecuting manufacturers of prescription painkillers with United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

However, neither Congress nor the White House has appropriated new funding to treat people affected by the opioid crisis, despite pleas from public health officials, some of whom have put a starting price tag at $6bn.

"Science is clear: Addiction is a chronic disease and not a moral failing", the doctor said.