Opioid overdoses kill nearly 5 people every hour in the US — CDC

Opioid overdoses kill nearly 5 people every hour in the US — CDC

Closer coordination between public health and public safety agencies can support identification of changes in supply and use of illicit opioids, further allowing communities to take appropriate action to reduce opioid overdoses.

New numbers out Tuesday show America's opioid crisis is getting worse, not better. Overdose-related trips to emergency departments increased among all age groups and both sexes and increased at the largest rate in the biggest cities.

Alana Vivolo-Kantor, PhD, a behavioral scientist in CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a statement that people who have already suffered from overdoses are statistically more likely to suffer from another.

After the Midwest, where opioid overdose visits rose an average of 70 percent, the largest regional increase was in the West, where the rise was 40 percent. In the Midwest, overdoses jumped 70%, due in part to increases of 109% in Wisconsin and 65.5% in IL, report NPR and CNN.

All five USA regions experienced rate increases; the largest was in the Midwest (70 percent), followed by the West (40 percent), Northeast (21 percent), Southwest (20 percent), and Southeast (14 percent).

The report didn't specify why overdoses vary across the country.

"We think that the idea of initiating medically-assisted treatment in the emergency department is an innovative and exciting strategy", Schuchat said.

"We saw our spike a little earlier, 18 months or two years ago", Southall said. "The margin of error for taking one of these substances is small now and people may not know what they have".

That's partly because many overdoses occur away from hospitals. Opioid researcher Andrew Kolodny agrees on that point, telling NPR there's "a recognition that we need to do something about this problem".




Alert communities to rapid increases in overdoses seen in EDs and coordinate an informed and timely response.

"We have talked in the past about the rural areas being hard hit by the epidemic. But nothing yet has happened".

"The science is clear: addiction is a chronic disease and not a moral failing".

"We want there to be warm handoffs in the emergency department between resuscitation or saving a life and addressing the longer term needs for that individual and their support system", Schuchat said.

Emergency rooms can provide naloxone, the overdose antidote, to reverse an overdose's symptoms and prevent death.

"We wanted more timely information", Schuchat says.

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

That analysisshowed a 34.5 percent increase between the same periods in 2016 and 2017. "It does not respect state or county lines and is still increasing in every region in the United States". Overdoses in the Southeast rose at the slowest rate, increasing by 14 percent. But some states, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island showed a slight decrease. In Kentucky, the CDC's analysis showed a 15 percent drop in overdoses.

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