U.S. drug crisis deepens as opioid overdoses jump

Opioid overdoses in ERs up 30 percent as crisis worsens

U.S. drug crisis deepens as opioid overdoses jump

Nationwide, emergency room visits increased 30 percent from July 2016 to September 2017.

Eight states from three US regions reporting substantial increases-25 percent or greater-in the rate of opioid overdose ED visits. The largest increase - 109 percent - was in Wisconsin.

Drug overdose deaths dropped in 14 states, making health officials hopeful that policies aimed at curbing the death toll may be working. Visits rose 35 percent in IN, 28 percent in OH and 21 percent in Missouri. "We saw, sadly, that in every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing", Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat tells NPR, pointing out the crisis may be worse than the data suggest.

About 20 percent of the kids under age 6 ingested methadone, which is a drug used to help people quit other opioids, and also as a painkiller.

"We don't have to wait until it's too late", Schuchat said. In 16 states there were 119,198 emergency department visits (26.7 per 10,000 visits) that were suspected opioid-involved overdoses.

The report, however, did not break down overdoses by the type of opioid, for example pain pills, heroin, or fentanyl.

Public health experts say use of the overdose antidote Naloxone, coupled with a decline in opioid prescriptions may be working.

"Research shows that people who have had an overdose are more likely to have another".

The ED2Recovery Program has also expanded to UW Hospital and there are efforts to expand it statewide using federal grant money. "It is a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, compassion and urgency", Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, U.S. Surgeon General, said at the telebriefing. Per quarter, this rate increased on average by 5.6%.

The objective is to better understand, and improve the response to, the crisis that has made drug overdoses the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

Despite efforts to address the crisis, opioid overdoses in the US continue to increase at a disturbing rate.

The rate of such ER visits rose 105 percent in DE and 81 percent in Pennsylvania.

States that saw a slight decrease in opioid overdoses included Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

The rate rose most in the Midwest - 70 percent, including a 65 percent hike in IL.

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