Overdoses in PA emergency rooms nearly doubled, according to CDC report

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A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that opioid overdose rates continue to worse in emergency departments (ED).

"This is a very hard and fast-moving epidemic", Schuchat said. 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.

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.

This data was pulled from from the third quarter of 2016, through to the same timeframe in 2017.

"In every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing", CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat told NPR.

After the Midwest, where opioid overdose visits rose an average of 70 percent, the largest regional increase was in the West, where the rise was 40 percent.

Overdoses from opioids have increased by 30 per cent across the United States in eighteen months, prompting experts to warn that the epidemic of addiction that has already claimed tens of thousands of lives is getting worse.

"As medical professionals are becoming more aware of the potential for a patient to have an opioid overdose, the number of suspected cases will increase", she said. In 45 states, opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in a year.

Emergency departments can provide naloxone - a drug that combats overdoses - and recommend treatment to patients, making it an important frontline in the nation's opioid epidemic, the report said. Its tracking system covers about 60 per cent of the ER visits in the whole country and some people who overdose don't go to the hospital, Schuchat said. But some states, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island showed a slight decrease.

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

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