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ER visits for opioid overdoses soar in Wisconsin

08 March 2018

The increases were prevalent in both men and women of all age groups in all regions, according to the report.

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. But those increases varied dramatically from state to state, even within a region. And while the same report did not mention the number of deaths involved, another recent CDC report revealed that overdose deaths in general rose by around 14 percent from July 2016 to July 2017.

However, the CDC says it's seeing its highest-ever opioid-related death rates. North Carolina saw a 31 percent spike during the same time period.

Continued rises in cities and towns of all types.

Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania and DE are among the states to show a 50 percent or more increase.

"The sharp increases and variation across states and counties indicate the need for better coordination and readiness for regional or multiple state outbreaks", she said.

Emergency rooms are seeing a jump in opioid overdoses.

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CDC also examined data from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) BioSense platform, using ESSENCE (Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics) software. Emergency room overdoses also jumped 40% in the West, 21% in the Northeast-tied to increases of 105% in DE and 81% in Pennsylvania-20% in the Southwest, and 14% in the Southeast.

For example, overdoses increased 105 percent in DE, compared with 80.6 percent in Pennsylvania and 34 percent in Maine.

Roughly 2.4 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, according to federal estimates.

Schuchat and Adams called for expanding the use of naloxone to first responders, community members and overdose victims and their families to prevent opioid overdoses. The CDC now recommends against using opioids for chronic pain.

Research shows people who have overdosed once are likely to do so again, making the ER a gateway for connecting people with treatment, Schuchat said.

Dr. John Southall, director of Mercy Hospital's Emergency Department, said that department has seen a decline in opioid overdose cases over the past year.

ER visits for opioid overdoses soar in Wisconsin