Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

Opioid Epidemic Continues To Worsen, Spike In Overdoses Nationwide

Opioid Epidemic Continues To Worsen, Spike In Overdoses Nationwide

A new report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the number of people checking into the emergency room (ER) after overdosing rose by 30% between July 2016 and September 2017.

Increases in other states across the nation are even more alarming - Wisconsin up 108 percent, Pennsylvania 80 percent, DE nearly 105 percent in suspected overdoses. The jump was driven in part by a 109 percent increase in Wisconsin. A similar surge of cases was seen in Delaware. "But the substances are more risky than five years ago", Schuchat said.

The epidemic is a complicated one as opioids are used as both medical treatments and recreational drugs, and carry a high risk of addiction. But CNN reports the increases in emergency room overdoses in the West and Southwest weren't expected and "might foreshadow death trends to come", as one overdose increases a person's chance of a second. Opioid overdoses increased for men and women, all age groups, and all regions, but varied by state, with rural/urban differences. "There's been a lot of talk from Congress and from the administration and a recognition that we need to do something about this problem".

"We think that the idea of initiating medically-assisted treatment in the emergency department is an innovative and exciting strategy", Schuchat said.

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Last year WPR reported how the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency shut down a pain clinic in Chippewa County for over-prescribing narcotics without proper justification.

According to the CDC, 40 percent of all USA opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. Through the same point in 2017, there were 47 overdose deaths - roughly a 23 percent increase year over year. All states in the USA now have such a database. "But the substances are more risky than five years ago", Schuchat says. It is typical to see overdose increases at the start of the month, when many people get their paychecks, but the spikes could also be due to growing fentanyl use, he said. "We're clearly not doing enough and what we are doing, we're not doing it quickly enough", Smith said.

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.

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