Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Despite Headlines and Interventions, Opioid Overdoses Surge

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Melissa Porter | 07 March, 2018, 10:24

All together, emergency visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased by 35 percent across the 16 states surveyed.

A government report released Tuesday shows overdoses from opioids increased 30 percent late last summer, compared to the same three-month period in 2016.

Opioid overdoses increased for both sexes and all age groups.

"All five regions of the USA saw significant increases during this time period", said Anne Schuchat, MD, acting CDC director, in a CDC tele-briefing Tuesday.

"Long before we receive data from death certificates, emergency department data can point to alarming increases in opioid overdoses", Schuchat said in a statement. Because research shows that having one overdose is a good predictor of having another, the data presents an opportunity for targeting prevention efforts-like giving overdose reversal drug naloxone to family members and guiding the overdose victim to treatment-say CDC researchers in an accompanying commentary. "We don't have to wait until it's too late", she said at a press briefing.

Repeat opioid overdoses can be avoided through treatment referrals provided during emergency department visits.

However, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services administered naloxone, the drug used to revive patients suffering from a drug overdose, to 1,224 patients in 2017. It recorded 142,000 overdoses in United States hospital emergency departments between July 2016 and September 2017.

Officials say looking at emergency room data can help responders gather important information before an overdose turns deadly, including where the person was coming from and what day of the week and time of day the overdose occurred.

"We're seeing a decrease in the amount of prescription we prescribe from the emergency department, while still compassionately treating peoples acute pain", said Kemp.

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

However, hospital visits in cities of all types increased steadily in each quarter by 51 percent.

Some states surveyed did see decreases in ER visits: Overdose visits in Kentucky - among the hardest-hit states in the opioid epidemic - dropped 15 percent. But those increases varied dramatically from state to state, even within a region. Among those states, DE and Pennsylvania, along with Wisconsin, topped the list of states where the rate of ER visits for overdoses grew the most quickly.

The other states in the study were Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

STEIN: Kolodny says the nation needs billions of dollars to provide treatment for the millions of Americans struggling with their addiction.

"The science is clear - addiction is a chronic disease and not a moral failing", he said.