Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Kentucky sees decrease in ER visits related to opioid overdoses

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Melissa Porter | 07 March, 2018, 19:56

It also reports that toxicology screens show a leveling off of opioid-related overdose deaths where prescription drugs were present, and drop in the number of Schedule II opioid prescriptions dispensed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say Kentucky saw 15 percent fewer ER visits past year for overdoses.

"The bottom line is that no area of the United States is exempt from this epidemic", Anne Schuchat, the CDC's acting director, told The Washington Post. But one factor is probably the differences in availability of newer, highly potent illegal opioids, such as fentanyl, which have been flooding the country in recent years, Schuchat says.

Of the 16 states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic, 10 saw significant increases in hospitalizations for overdoses.

The supply of those more unsafe drugs is increasing faster in some parts of the country than in others, which may help explain the geographic variations, Schuchat says.

According to the CDC report released Tuesday, ER visits for opioid overdose increased more in urban areas than they did in rural areas, a trend that may signal an increase in illicit street drugs as opposed to prescription painkillers.

"Our coaches who work on the (ED2Recovery) program have the shared experience of having woken up in an emergency room after an overdose so they know that fear and anxiety and scariness. But the substances are more risky than five years ago", Schuchat said.

Alert communities to rapid increases in overdoses seen in EDs and coordinate an informed and timely response. While calling for increased funding for addiction treatment, Kolodny compares the Trump administration's labeling of the crisis as an emergency to a person pointing out a house on fire, "then not calling the fire department". Emergency room overdoses also jumped 40% in the West, 21% in the Northeast-tied to increases of 105% in DE and 81% in Pennsylvania-20% in the Southwest, and 14% in the Southeast. But some states that historically have had the worst opioid problems, including West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, experienced small decreases in overdose visits.

The researchers also analyzed 45 million emergency department visits that occurred in 16 states during the same period, which included 119,198 suspected opioid overdoses. But those increases varied dramatically from state to state, even within a region.