Thursday, 20 September, 2018

American opioid overdoses up 30 percent in a year

Opioid overdoses seen in hospital emergency rooms are way up. Timely treatment with naloxone can reverse the effects of opioids MoreCloseclosemoreOpioid overdoses seen in hospital emergency rooms are way up. Timely treatment with naloxone can reverse the effects of opioids
Marty Perkins | 09 March, 2018, 09:48

The largest increase was recorded in the Midwestern US, which saw a 70 percent surge in the number of emergency room visits related to opioid overdoses, the CDC said. In Kentucky, the CDC's analysis showed a 15 percent drop in overdoses.

Working in a New York City emergency room, Dr. Peter Shearer sees the opioid epidemic first hand.

That report did not specify any local numbers for overdose cases, but 2 On Your Side did learn that our local physicians and other health care professionals are seeking ways to reduce such cases. That 90-day emergency declaration was renewed at the end of January - but made no additional funding available to institute program, according to accounts.

There's more bad news about the nation's devastating opioid epidemic.

Now, their fast tracking method has revealed that the crisis is far from over. Nearly all those overdoses were not fatal.

But the rates varied between regions and states. From data collected by the Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance program (45 million emergency department visits), opioid overdose visits increased almost 35 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Half of the 16 states saw "significant" increases - of 25 percent or greater - overdose visits during that time period.




In Baton Rouge, overdose death rates also grew from 2016 to 2017.

Researchers from the CDC looked at emergency department data from 45 states, including North Carolina. All five USA regions saw significant increases, but the numbers rose the most in western states - about 70 percent. The 109 percent increase in Wisconsin was a leading contributor to the overall increase across the Midwest.

"This fast-moving epidemic affects both men and women, and people of every age", said Anne Schuchat, the CDC's acting director. For example, emergency room staff need better training to make sure people with substance-use disorder get follow-up addiction treatment, says Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and chief executive officer of the Addiction Policy Forum.

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".

Meanwhile, White House officials are being briefed today by Dr Warren Bickel, an addiction neuroscientist with Virginia Tech University, whose aim is to educate the government on the behavioral science behind the opioid epidemic.

Schuchat called the report "concerning", but said there are opportunities for hospitals, law enforcement and community groups to create partnerships to address the crisis.

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