Opioid overdoes in United States increased by 30% in only 14 months

Alice Vagun  The Badger Herald

Alice Vagun The Badger Herald

The investigation depended on around 91 million crisis room visits that happened between July 2016 and September 2017, including 142,557 visits that were suspected opioid overdoses.

Opioid overdoses increased by roughly 30% across the US in just 14 months between 2016 and 2017, according to a new report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"This fast-moving epidemic does not distinguish age, sex or state or county lines, and it's still increasing in every region of the United States", she said during a media briefing on Tuesday. Distribution of naloxone, an overdose-reversal measure, could be distributed to not only first responders, but also to friends and family of people who are drug users.

The report claims that opioid overdoses and deaths can be prevented by providing medication-assisted treatment, naloxone (an overdose-reversing drug), treatment and referral services to people suffering from opioid use disorder, and coordinating efforts with other health departments, mental health care providers, community-based organizations and law enforcement.

In Wisconsin, 827 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016, a 35 percent increase from 2015.

The report explained health departments can alert communities of increases in overdoses and support access and availability to treatment.

The CDC said tracking hospital visits was more comprehensive than counting overdose related deaths.

Every state in the Midwest region experienced large increases: Wisconsin (109 percent), IL (66 percent), in (35 percent), OH (28 percent) and Missouri (21 percent).

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The American opioid epidemic claimed more than 64,000 lives in 2016 alone.

The report compiled from emergency departments in 45 states found overdoses rose 109 percent in Wisconsin, 66 percent in IL, 35 percent in IN, 28 percent in OH and 21 percent in Missouri.

Health officials have been playing catch-up with the opioid epidemic all along, leaving many questioning how we got to the crisis point we've reached.

Emergency department visits, as outlined in Tuesday's report, capture a snapshot of the opioid crisis faster, and the picture shows virtually no sign of improvement across much of the U.S.

Overdoses on opioids (prescription painkillers or street drugs laced with heroin or fentanyl) are on the rise for men and women across all age groups and regions.

SCHUCHAT: The Midwestern region was most hard hit with an increase of 70 percent.

"I never imagined that overdose deaths would exceed auto accidents, gun violence - it's become the number one cause of accidental death", Aks said. The surgeon general, Jerome Adams, said: "Addiction is a chronic disease, and not a moral failing".

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