Opioid overdoses sending more people to ERs, especially in Pennsylvania, Delaware

Opioid overdoses seen in hospital emergency rooms are way up. Timely treatment with naloxone can reverse the effects of opioids

Between July 2016 and September 2017, the suspected opioid overdoses across 45 states increased by an average of 30 percent, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Emergency rooms around the country saw a spike in patients overdosing on opioids a year ago, according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and released Tuesday.

The rate of opioid overdoses increased on average by 5.6 percent throughout the year, across all demographic groups and all five USA regions.

Naloxone can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses and save lives in emergency situations if administered in time, but "it's a tourniquet", said Dr. Jay Butler, chief medical officer and director of public health at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

"This fast-moving epidemic affects both men and women, and people of every age", said Anne Schuchat, the CDC's acting director.

Drawing on overdose data from 45 states between July 2016 and September 2017, CDC officials said ER visits for opioid overdoses rose in every region of the country, with the Midwest seeing the largest spike. "This report confirms what health care providers, treatment specialists, and law enforcement have been telling me - this crisis is getting worse not better". Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island reported smaller decreases. The hop was driven to a limited extent by a 109 percent expansion in Wisconsin. Belated efforts to rein in distribution fueled a resurgence of heroin and the emergence of a deadly, black market version of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

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Death certificate data gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) final numbers for the number of people killed by opioid epidemics, but this information takes time to make its way to the agency.

The CDC concluded in their report that emergency room data can serve as "an early warning system, alerting communities to changes in prevalence of overdoses and permitting a timely, informed and localized response".

That investigation demonstrated a 34.5 percent expansion between similar periods in 2016 and 2017. Visits rose 35 percent in IN, 28 percent in OH and 21 percent in Missouri. Schuchat blames the increase on newer, more potent opioids like fentanyl flooding into some parts of the country faster than others.

"We know that up to 90 percent of people will relapse in the first year going through rehab", he said.

The supply of those progressively perilous medications is expanding speedier in a few sections of the nation than in others, which may help clarify the geographic varieties, Schuchat says. Overall as a nation, we are still failing to adequately respond to the opiate addiction epidemic. President Trump recently declared the epidemic a national emergency.

KOLODNY: And yet nothing has happened. Adams said his brother has long struggled with addiction. Jessica Hulsey Nickel heads the Addiction Policy Forum.

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