CDC: ED opioid overdoses rise 30%

CDC: Opioid overdose emergency room visits up 30 percent nationwide; decrease in Massachusetts

New data from the Centers for Disease Control reveals huge increases in the number of opioid overdoses across the nation. In 16 states hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, ER visits from overdoses rose 35 percent during that time.

Eight states from three US regions reporting substantial increases-25 percent or greater-in the rate of opioid overdose ED visits. The exact number was not released.

However, 63,632 people died of drug overdose deaths in 2016 in the United States, a 21.4 percent increase from 2015, the CDC said.

Increases in other states across the nation are even more alarming - Wisconsin up 108 percent, Pennsylvania 80 percent, DE nearly 105 percent in suspected overdoses.

"We're now seeing the highest drug overdose death rates ever recorded in the United States, driven by prescription opioids and by illicit opioids such as heroin and illicitly-manufactured fentanyl,"Anne Schuchat, MD, acting director of the CDC, said during a telebriefing on the report".

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Research shows people who have overdosed once are likely to do so again, making the ER a gateway for connecting people with treatment, Schuchat said. The response plan includes allowing emergency room doctors to start overdose survivors in medication.

"This fast-moving epidemic affects both men and women, and people of every age". Health officials say the increase may be due to the availability of different or more powerful drugs like fentanyl. The only significant drop was in Kentucky (15 percent).

"We know that up to 90 percent of people will relapse in the first year going through rehab", he said.

"This increase reinforces the need for us to work together: government, health care, behavioral health, community-based organizations, substance use disorder treatment programs, clinicians, pharmacists, law enforcement, and others, to implement strategies to help reverse the growing epidemic", Shah said in an emailed statement. "EDs can link these patients to mental health and substance abuse treatment centers, which can assist them in gaining access to medication-assisted treatment", Adams said. "Another innovative approach is the idea of navigators". Opioid overdoses in large central metropolitan areas increased by 54%. The CDC now recommends against using opioids for chronic pain.

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