Oklahoma Opioid Deaths Continue To Rise

Opioid overdoses seen in hospital emergency rooms are way up. Timely treatment with naloxone can reverse the effects of opioids

Researchers from the CDC looked at emergency department data from 45 states, including North Carolina.

The latest data shows that in 2016 opioid-related deaths increased 55 percent to 64,000 deaths in the U.S.

The analysis was based on about 91 million emergency room visits that occurred between July 2016 and September 2017, including 142,557 visits that were suspected opioid overdoses.

Because research shows that having one overdose is a good predictor of having another, the data presents an opportunity for targeting prevention efforts-like giving overdose reversal drug naloxone to family members and guiding the overdose victim to treatment-say CDC researchers in an accompanying commentary. "It does not respect state or county lines and is still increasing in every region in the United States", said CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat. Recent changes in drug supply or the toxicity of drugs that are available might be at work, she said, adding that CDC doesn't have enough data yet to evaluate the interventions some states are employing.

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That analysisshowed a 34.5 percent increase between the same periods in 2016 and 2017.

According to the CDC, overdoses kill about five people every hour across the US with the victims totalling 5,400 more in 2016 then the soldiers who died during the entire Vietnam war. For example, emergency room staff need better training to make sure people with substance-use disorder get follow-up addiction treatment, says Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and chief executive officer of the Addiction Policy Forum.

"I meet with those on the frontlines of this opioid crisis in OH regularly", said a statement from Portman.

Schuchat said she is cautiously optimistic that strategies implemented in these states to combat opioid addiction may be working.

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"Yep", he said. "We see a little of everything". Among those regions, Midwestern emergency departments experienced the highest increase in overdoses - up to 70 percent - compared to those in the Southeast, which saw a rise of 14 percent. In Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, there were also small decreases of less than 10 percent. Schuchat called these services "essential hubs" in stemming the opioid crisis.

But when a person dies and a drug overdose is suspected, medical examiners and coroners launch investigations that sometimes take weeks, if not months, to complete.

Opioid overdoses increased for both men and women, across all age groups, and in all regions, though there was some variation by state, with rural and urban differences.

"Science is clear: Addiction is a chronic disease and not a moral failing", the doctor said.

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