Increases in Opioid-Involved Overdoses in All Five US Regions — CDC

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A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows emergency department visits for opioid overdoses rose previous year.

The American Midwest saw an unprecedented 69.7 percent surge in opioid-related overdoses, which is a direct result of Wisconsin's 109 percent spike. Through the same point in 2017, there were 47 overdose deaths - roughly a 23 percent increase year over year.

The report found that emergency department visits due to suspected opioid overdoses continued to climb - about 30% - from July 2016 to September 2017 across the country.

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Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting U.S. CDC director, told reporters in a media briefing on Tuesday that the CDC is branching out to assess other aspects of the opioid crisis besides overdose deaths, and measuring emergency room visits is one of the ways to study the crisis in another way. "Emergency department education and post-overdose protocols, including providing naloxone and linking people to treatment, are critical needs", said Alana Vivolo-Kantor, Ph.D., behavioral scientist in CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

"The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating". "We saw, sadly, that in every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing".

Increase availability of and access to treatment services, including mental health services and medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.

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Schuchat and Adams called for expanding the use of naloxone to first responders, community members and overdose victims and their families to prevent opioid overdoses. But only that of Kentucky, with a 15 percent decrease, is considered statistically significant.

Research shows people who have overdosed once are likely to do so again, making the ER a gateway for connecting people with treatment, Schuchat said.

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. "We are building the capacity for prevention and treatment to try to keep people out of the EDs", Harris said. "We know that prescribing patterns for opioids have been high in some rural areas", Schuchat said. It also is increasing community outreach efforts to nursing homes to help address prescription opioid addiction among the elderly.

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Dr. Stephen Hull, a pain specialist at Mercy Hospital, said that the article is the latest study of many to question whether opioids should be used for chronic pain. Opioid overdoses in large central metropolitan areas increased by 54%.

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