ER visits for opioid overdose up 30%, CDC study finds

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The data is the latest sign that the "fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating", said Anne Schuchat, the CDC director.

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.

According to CaroMont Health in Gastonia, the rate of emergency room visits for opioid-related issues in Gaston County is twice the state average.

Every demographic group experienced substantial rate increases, including men (30 percent) and women (24 percent) and people ages 25-34 (31 percent), 35-54 (36 percent), and 55 or older (32 percent).

The opioid epidemic in America seems to be getting worse with each passing year.

Pennsylvania saw an 81 percent increase in hospital emergency department cases involving opioid overdoses in the 12 months leading up to last September. The Midwest saw the most dramatic increase - about 70 percent.

"Even with the declines we've seen in the past few years, (opioid prescriptions) are still three times higher in the United States than in Europe". He said the expansion of Narcan use - an opioid overdose antidote - in the greater Portland area has probably led to decreased numbers of overdoses ending up in emergency rooms.

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.

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He brought up speed limits as a comparison, saying it's similarly a policy to make people safer. Other school districts are various of stages of planning student participation next week.

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 science is clear: addiction is a chronic disease and not a moral failing".

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told reporters Tuesday that President Donald Trump's administration is trying to decrease supply of and demand for opioids, and reduce the stigma of addiction.

Adams stressed the importance of preventing opioid misuse by improving safe prescribing practices and helping patients understand the benefits of opioid alternatives, and how to safely use, store and dispose of prescription opioids. Timely treatment with naloxone can reverse the effects of opioids. They can serve as important links for follow up for opioid use disorder.

Among the solutions is increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, which combines behavioral therapy with medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms, Shah said.

The report, however, did not break down overdoses by the type of opioid, for example pain pills, heroin, or fentanyl. She says states can use that information to identify where resources are needed. "The number of Americans experiencing opioid overdoses is still increasing".

"There's a lot more we can do", he said.