ibusinesslines.com September 18, 2018

Opioid deaths increased by 27 percent past year in the US: CDC

07 March 2018, 09:28 | Melissa Porter

Opioid deaths increased by 27 percent past year in the US: CDC

Opioid overdoses seen in hospital emergency rooms are way up. Timely treatment with naloxone can reverse the effects of opioids

It recorded 142,000 overdoses in United States hospital emergency departments between July 2016 and September 2017.

Opioid overdose deaths increased by 27.7 percent nationally a year ago, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday (March 6). Another dramatic increase occurred in Pennsylvania, where overdoses went up 81%.

"The sharp increases and variation across states and counties indicate the need for better coordination", CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat said Tuesday in a call with Surgeon General Jerome Adams and reporters.

While the CDC did not look at the source of opioids, Schuchat said illicit fentanyl-laced heroin is "a very major problem right now".

Comparing the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017, researchers found a 29.7 percent jump in ER visits due to opioids. Medical staff can administer naloxone - a life-saving antidote that can act in seconds to reverse a potentially fatal opioid overdose - and teach loved ones how to use the medication to prevent death from an opioid overdose. 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.

It was also determined that people who have suffered opioid overdoses in the past are more prone to suffering one in the future as well. Between 2010 and 2016, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths increased by more than five times, according to the CDC. That year, the powerful painkiller fentanyl and its close opioid cousins played a bigger role in the deaths than any other legal or illegal drug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released data from hospital emergency rooms that show substantial increases in the number of opioid overdose visits nationwide, including here in Delaware.

SCHUCHAT: We saw sadly that in every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing.

Other major outbreaks of overdoses included a 105 percent increase in DE, an 81 percent increase in Pennsylvania, and a 34 percent increase in Maine. In Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, there were also small decreases of less than 10 percent.

The St. Tammany's Coroner's office released 2017 data in early February reporting a total of 74 drug overdose-related deaths, increasing from 58 the year before. In Wisconsin, overdoses are up a 109 percent.

STEIN: Other experts say the latest data are alarming. President Trump recently declared the epidemic a national emergency. It's kind of like pointing to a burning building and saying, oh, there's a fire there; there's an emergency, and then not calling the fire department and watching it burn down.

"Science is clear: Addiction is a chronic disease and not a moral failing", the doctor said. Jessica Hulsey Nickel heads the Addiction Policy Forum.

STEIN: Too often, she says, addicts are simply revived and sent home only to overdose again.

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