Emergency room visits due to an overdose of opiates grew 35 percent in 16 states during the past year, according to data from the emergency room of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Today's data covers July 2016 through September 2017 and comes from the CDC's Enhanced State Opioid Surveillance (ESOOS) Surveillance Program, which collects information on overdoses of deadly and non-fatal opioids. Although emergency visits related to overdose varied by region, the number increased for each demographic group. And in metropolitan areas (that is, areas around a city with a population of more than 1 million), the number of overdoses increased by 54 percent.
In the Midwest, overdoses increased 109 percent in Wisconsin, 66 percent in Illinois and 35 percent in Indiana. On the other hand, Delaware reported an increase of 105 percent, while Pennsylvania and North Carolina reported increases of 81 percent and 31 percent, respectively. However, states such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island showed a decrease of less than 10 percent. And Kentucky reported a 15 percent decrease.
Using data from the BioSense Platform of the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP), the CDC found that each demographic group experienced an increase in overdose rates in this period. Men reported a 30 percent increase, while women reported 24 percent. There was also an approximate increase of 33 percent in all age ranges, from 25 to 55 years or more.
The opiate epidemic is a serious public health crisis that has been causing life expectancy to decrease. President Trump declared it a public health emergency last October, and his last budget poured billions in the fight against the epidemic. At a press conference, Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC, said it is important to encourage community members to learn and use Naloxone, a medication that can reverse an overdose of opiates.
The general surgeon of the USA UU., Jerome Adams, added that, in addition to focusing on Naloxone, other priorities include destigmatizing opioid addiction and working with health professionals to help patients understand the benefits of alternatives to opiates.