CDC Head on Opioid Report: 'This Is a Wake-Up Call'

CDC Head on Opioid Report: 'This Is a Wake-Up Call'

Emergency department visits for opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in 45 states reporting from July 2016 through September 2017. according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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 findings in the report could help identify and track overdoses in a way that helps the development of responses from both the medical community and law enforcement agencies, Schuchat said. Pennsylvania also is expanding a "warm-handoff" program that strives to steer overdose survivors into treatment.

Dr. Thomas Eiseman, an addiction medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in west suburban Winfield, said there has been a noticeable increase in opioid-related visits over the last six months to a year, both among bored, disaffected youths and middle-aged users.

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

"The increases in overdoses were seen in adults of all age groups".

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In the Northeast, opioid overdose emergency room visits rose by 105 percent in DE and 81 percent in Pennsylvania.

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. However, Schuchat noted that these drops are likely insignificant because those states previously saw high rates of overdose. But only that of Kentucky, with a 15 percent decrease, is considered statistically significant.

"We hope that it's a positive sign that will persist", she said.

The supply of those more risky drugs is increasing faster in some parts of the country than in others, which may help explain the geographic variations, Schuchat says. Many more people come in with infections, withdrawal symptoms and complications from missing routine appointments like dialysis because they were busy getting high, he said.

Increase availability of and access to treatment services, including mental health services and medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.

"There's a lot more we can do", he said.

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