Opioid Epidemic Continues To Worsen, Spike In Overdoses Nationwide


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say Kentucky saw 15 percent fewer ER visits past year for overdoses.

Opioid overdoses in ED visits increased 30% from July 2016 to September 2017. They comprised half of all the 8 states in the program to report a significant increase of 25% or more. The exact number was not released.

Overdose increases in some states and cities may be due to changes in the volume and type of illicit opioid drugs being sold on the streets, health officials said.

The increase was worst in the Midwest and in large metropolitan areas. The response plan includes allowing emergency room doctors to start overdose survivors in medication.

Dr. Thomas Eiseman, an addiction medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in west suburban Winfield, said there has been a noticeable increase in opioid-related visits over the last six months to a year, both among bored, disaffected youths and middle-aged users. Per quarter, this rate increased on average by 5.6%.

The report did not break down overdoses by type of opioid, be it prescription pain pills, heroin, fentanyl or others. But some states, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island showed a slight decrease. Increases were seen in rates across demographic groups and all 5 US regions; the largest increases were seen in the Southwest, Midwest, and West (about 7 to 11% per quarter).

The greatest increases were noted in states in the Midwest region, including Wisconsin (109%), IL (66%), in (35%), OH (28%), and Missouri (21%). But, she later added, "whether we are seeing real, true persistent declines or they are statistic fluctuations, we just don't know yet".

The supply of those more unsafe drugs is increasing faster in some parts of the country than in others, which may help explain the geographic variations, Schuchat says.