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ER visits for opioid overdoses on the rise: CDC

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Atlanta — The number of emergency room visits stemming from opioid-related overdoses continues to increase, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers examined data from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program BioSense Platform, which represents 52 jurisdictions in 45 states. They found that, from July 2016 through September 2017:

  • Opioid-related ER visits rose 30 percent among men and 24 percent among women.
  • The largest increase – 36 percent – was among people 35 to 54 years old, followed by 32 percent among people 55 and older and 31 percent among 25- to 34-year-olds.

The report also analyzed data from 16 states that showed a percentage change in CDC’s Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance Program. Among the findings:

  • ER visits increased at least 50 percent in four states – Wisconsin (109 percent), Delaware (105), Pennsylvania (81) and Illinois (66).
  • Eight states had increases of 25 percent or greater.
  • Midwestern states experienced a 70 percent increase, followed by the West (40 percent), Northeast (21), Southwest (20) and Southeast (14).
  • Five states reported a decrease in visits, including Kentucky (15 percent).

“Research shows that people who have had an overdose are more likely to have another,” Alana Vivolo-Kantor, behavioral scientist in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a March 6 press release. “Data on opioid overdoses treated in emergency departments can inform timely, strategic and coordinated response efforts in the community as well.”

The report includes strategies the federal government, health departments, emergency room personnel, health care providers and the public can take to help combat the issue of opioid-related overdoses.

The report was published in the March edition of Vital Signs.

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