IL sees 66 percent jump in emergency room visits for opioid overdoses

IL sees 66 percent jump in emergency room visits for opioid overdoses

Despite efforts to address the crisis, opioid overdoses in the USA continue to increase at a disturbing rate.

Gov. Tom Wolf in January declared a statewide 90-day emergency due to the opioid overdose crisis.

The fact that the report was only able to capture people who were hospitalized suggests that the grim toll may be much higher, because many people who overdose never go to the ER.

The report found there were more than 142,000 ER visits for suspected opioid overdoses between July 2016 and September 2017 in 45 states, which represented a 30 percent increase from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017.

"We think that the number of people addicted to opioids is relatively stable". And while the same report did not mention the number of deaths involved, another recent CDC report revealed that overdose deaths in general rose by around 14 percent from July 2016 to July 2017. North Carolina saw a 31 percent spike during the same time period.

That's partly because many overdoses occur away from hospitals. In Kentucky, which has been hit especially hard by the opioid abuse epidemic, the rate dropped 15 percent, which could reflect fluctuations in drug supply, Schuchat said.

The rate rose most in the Midwest - 70 percent, including a 65 percent hike in IL.

"Educating emergency department physicians and staff members about appropriate services for immediate care and treatment and implementing a post-overdose protocol that includes naloxone provision and linking persons into treatment could assist emergency departments with preventing overdose", the authors write.

"The science is clear - addiction is a chronic disease and not a moral failing", he said. Overdoses may have actually slightly decreased in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Significant increases in all states reporting in the Midwest, including Wisconsin (109 percent), IL (66 percent), in (35 percent), OH (28 percent), and Missouri (21 percent).

"We wanted more timely information", Schuchat says.

The report calls on health departments to better inform its communities of these significant rates, as well as increase access to treatments and resources to overdose and addiction. But those increases varied dramatically from state to state, even within a region.

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