Oklahoma Opioid Deaths Continue To Rise

CDC: Opioid overdose emergency room visits up 30 percent nationwide; decrease in Massachusetts

Alana M. Vivolo-Kantor, PhD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined emergency department syndromic and hospital billing data on opioid-involved overdoses during July 2016 to September 2017.

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.

Despite efforts to address the crisis, opioid overdoses in the US continue to increase at a disturbing rate.

The Chicago Tribune reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released state emergency room data. 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.

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There is little sign that the opioid epidemic is slowing down, and emergency rooms across the country are bracing for another night of frantic lifesaving efforts to keep the victims alive. "We saw, sadly, that in every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing".

The "gold standard" to treat opioid addiction is medication-assisted treatment - such as Suboxone or methadone - combined with counseling.

"Emergency department education and post-overdose protocols, including providing naloxone and linking people to treatment, are critical needs", Vivolo-Kantor said.

Dr. Brian Sharp, who works in the ER at UW Hospital, said UW has seen an uptick in overdoses of prescription opioids and illicit opioids such as heroin and illegally formulated fentanyl. 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.

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"We know that up to 90 percent of people will relapse in the first year going through rehab", he said.

The findings in the report could help identify and track overdoses in a way that helps the development of responses from both the medical community and law enforcement agencies, Schuchat said.

The report did not go into whether opioid deaths also rose during the same period studied, since death certificate data can take longer to gather.

Others say the key is integrating addiction treatment better into the health care system. The CDC now recommends against using opioids for chronic pain.

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