CDC Head on Opioid Report: 'This Is a Wake-Up Call'

Brandon Parsons
March 8, 2018

Overdoses in Pennsylvania emergency rooms almost doubled from 2016 to 2017, making it one of the hardest hit states in the opioid crisis, according to a Tuesday report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC study found that the rate of ER visits for suspected opioid overdoses, from July 2016 to September 2017, went up 30 percent nationally and 35 percent in the 16 states, which got federal money to closely track fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses.

A recent report from Massachusetts Health Department shows an estimated 8.3 percent decline in opioid-related deaths in 2017 from the previous year. The exact number was not released.

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

Large central metropolitan areas-as defined by a population of 1 million-plus and covering a principal city-reported the greatest increase among region types (54%).

Emergency rooms are seeing a jump in opioid overdoses. "Research shows that people who have had at least one overdose are more likely to have another". "Closer coordination between public health and public safety can serve to address changes in the illicit opioid supply and use of illicit opioids, which affects overdose rates", she continued.

This fast-moving epidemic affects all ages, genders and states and is still increasing across the US, she said.

StateImpact's Jackie Fortier reports on new data about drug overdose deaths. Jim Perri said he and his co-workers are also swamped with patients. "The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating".

The largest increase was in the Midwest region (69.7 percent), followed by the West (40.3 percent). Overdoses in the Southeast rose at the slowest rate, increasing by 14 percent. States in the region, including OH and MI, were already among those with the highest opioid death rates.

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

But the hospital does little more than ensure patients are medically stable before discharging them with referral phone numbers to rehab services, Moreno said.

"There's a lot more we can do", he said.

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