Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday shows emergency room hospitalizations for opioid overdoses increased by 30 percent between the third quarters of 2016 and 2017 as opioid addiction continued its rapid spread throughout the population.
In the Midwest alone, hospital visits for opioid overdoses rose 70 percent during that time, according to the March CDC report. Increases were seen in rates across demographic groups and all 5 US regions; the largest increases were seen in the Southwest, Midwest, and West (about 7 to 11% per quarter).
The rate rose most in the Midwest - 70 percent, including a 65 percent hike in IL.
"We have an emergency on our hands", says acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat.
Jennifer Miller, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services, said many suspected opioid overdoses in ERs don't become confirmed cases.
Emergency rooms across the United States saw a big jump in overdoses from opioids previous year - the latest evidence the country's drug crisis is worsening.
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. "So we think there probably is not an increase in people using drugs, but there is an increase in the danger associated with a single use".
The latest data available to the CDC show that emergency room visits due to opioid overdoses increased by almost a third from July 2016 through to September 2017.
"We don't have to wait until it's too late", Schuchat said. It also is increasing community outreach efforts to nursing homes to help address prescription opioid addiction among the elderly. There were variations in these rates among states in the Northeast and Southeast regions, with some states seeing significant increases and others experiencing nonsignificant decreases. But some states, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island showed a slight decrease.
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