Emergency rooms around the country saw a spike in patients overdosing on opioids a year ago, according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and released Tuesday.
The ER data show trends in the opioid abuse epidemic before deaths do, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study. "This fast-moving epidemic affects both men and women, and people of every age".
'It does not respect state or county lines and is still increasing in every region in the United States, ' she added.
The rate varied by state, with rural/urban differences, with eight states reporting increases of 25% or greater in the rate of opioid overdose ED visits. In Wisconsin, visits spiked 107 percent between July 2016 and September 2017, compared with 105 percent in DE, and 81 percent in Pennsylvania, with by far the largest population of the three.
And that 30 percent figure is just an average; the Midwest saw an increase of closer to 70 percent.
In the new report, the CDC researchers identified 142,557 cases of suspected opioid overdose treated in ERs during the study period.
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Wisconsin had the biggest increase, 109 percent, and DE saw a 105 percent increase.
The reasons for these increases are unclear, but officials say it may have to do with changes in the drug supply, including the availability of newer, highly toxic illegal opioids such as fentanyl, which has been spreading rapidly in recent years.
"We're continually seeing a rise in deaths due to our inability to go upstream and actually prevent these people from overdosing", Miller said.
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"We're seeing the highest ever death rates in the U.S.", Schuchat said. Because research shows that having one overdose is a good predictor of having another, the data presents an opportunity for targeting prevention efforts-like giving overdose reversal drug naloxone to family members and guiding the overdose victim to treatment-say CDC researchers in an accompanying commentary.
The opioid epidemic, which has been the source of innumerable headlines, studies, policy decisions, costs the USA more than $500 billion per year, according to some estimates. Adams said his brother has long struggled with addiction.