Opioid Epidemic Continues To Worsen, Spike In Overdoses Nationwide

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

"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".

However, the CDC says it's seeing its highest-ever opioid-related death rates.

The data reports that, from the same time frame as the ESOOS Program report, all 5 U.S. regions experienced increases in overdose rates.

Other states that have been dealing with the opioid epidemic for a long time, like Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, had modest decreases in opioid overdoses resulting in hospital stays.

The report found that emergency department visits due to suspected opioid overdoses continued to climb - about 30% - from July 2016 to September 2017 across the country.

Cities and towns in 16 states reported showing increases ranging from 21 percent to upwards of 43 percent in more rural areas, and upwards of 54 percent for large cities, according to the CDC Enhanced State Overdose Surveillance Program data. The Midwest and large metropolitan areas saw the largest increases.

The greatest increases were noted in states in the Midwest region, including Wisconsin (109%), IL (66%), in (35%), OH (28%), and Missouri (21%). In Kentucky, the CDC's analysis showed a 15 percent drop in overdoses.

Emergency rooms are seeing a jump in opioid overdoses. This data may not be a indicative of the epidemic as a whole, as many individuals who experience an overdose are not always admitted into urgent care facilities.

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.

Schuchat said that could reflect changes in the drug supply in urban centers like Chicago, where the practice of cutting heroin with fentanyl has exacerbated drug toxicity. They were seen in men and women.

United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said his family has been affected by the opioid crisis.

Adams stressed the importance of preventing opioid misuse by improving safe prescribing practices and helping patients understand the benefits of opioid alternatives, and how to safely use, store and dispose of prescription opioids.

The "gold standard" to treat opioid addiction is medication-assisted treatment - such as Suboxone or methadone - combined with counseling. They can serve as important links for follow up for opioid use disorder.

But Harris said many people who have substance use disorder are uninsured, and trying to get the uninsured into a medication-assisted treatment program is hard.

This report contains crucial new information regarding opioid overdoses and how to respond, according to Schuchat.

"American physicians, and the public, have come to believe that opioids should be the first line medication for moderate to severe pain".

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