Report shows steep rise in opioid-related ER visits in Maine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says ER visits for opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in 45 states from July 2016 through September 2017
ER visits for opioid overdose up 30%, CDC study finds

08 March, 2018

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. The exact number was not released.

The data shouldn't come as a major surprise in Pennsylvania, which has ranked near the top on assorted measures related to the opioid crisis, including total overdose deaths and per capita rate of overdoses. In the Midwest, overdoses jumped 70%, due in part to increases of 109% in Wisconsin and 65.5% in IL, report NPR and CNN.

Emergency rooms can provide naloxone, the overdose antidote, to reverse an overdose's symptoms and prevent death.

Alana Vivolo-Kantor, PhD, a behavioral scientist in CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a statement that people who have already suffered from overdoses are statistically more likely to suffer from another. Per quarter, this rate increased on average by 5.6%. Jim Perri said he and his co-workers are also swamped with patients. Wisconsin had more than 3,400 ER visits for suspected opioid overdoses during the period studied. The next most afflicted region is the West (40%), followed by the Northeast (21%), Southwest (20%) and Southeast (14%). States in the region, including OH and MI, were already among those with the highest opioid death rates.

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However, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are among states showing a decrease in such visits, according to the CDC data.

"We hope that it's a positive sign that will persist", she said.

The supply of those more risky drugs is increasing faster in some parts of the country than in others, which may help explain the geographic variations, Schuchat says. Overdose visits alone don't capture the severity of the problem. That would involve training hospital physicians to administer the first dose of medications that reduce patients' opioid withdrawal symptoms so that they aren't sent out into the city without any defense against the itch for their next fix.

"We wanted more timely information", Schuchat says.

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