Overall, ED visits (reported by 52 jurisdictions in 45 states) for suspected opioid overdoses increased 30 percent in the US, from July 2016 through September 2017. In the first nine months of 2017, the state had 609 opioid deaths, a 5 percent decrease from the same period in 2016.
Despite efforts to address the crisis, opioid overdoses in the US continue to increase at a disturbing rate. Visits rose 35 percent in IN, 28 percent in OH and 21 percent in Missouri.
According to the CDC report released Tuesday, ER visits for opioid overdose increased more in urban areas than they did in rural areas, a trend that may signal an increase in illicit street drugs as opposed to prescription painkillers. "So we think there probably is not an increase in people using drugs, but there is an increase in the danger associated with a single use".
"We don't have to wait until it's too late", Schuchat said. The report also estimated a 30 percent increase for 45 states. But it could also be a statistical anomaly since that data was collected from just 16 states.
In an interview with NPR, Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat said more potent synthetic opioids may contribute to the geographic variation in opioid overdoses. Schuchat said they are hearing about many "innovative" strategies across the U.S.to provide help to people who need treatment.
Dr. Aaron Weiner is the director of addiction services at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.
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.
Alert communities to rapid increases in overdoses seen in EDs and coordinate an informed and timely response. "It is a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, compassion and urgency", Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, U.S. Surgeon General, said at the telebriefing.
The objective is to better understand, and improve the response to, the crisis that has made drug overdoses the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
That's not to say they're the sole region affected by the opioid epidemic.
The data reports that, from the same time frame as the ESOOS Program report, all 5 USA regions experienced increases in overdose rates. But some states, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island showed a slight decrease.
Hospitalizations for overdoses rose by 69.7 percent in the Midwest, 40.3 percent in the West, 21.3 percent in the Northeast and 20.2 percent in the Southwest.
The greatest increases were noted in states in the Midwest region, including Wisconsin (109%), IL (66%), in (35%), OH (28%), and Missouri (21%). Overdose visits alone don't capture the severity of the problem.
"There's a lot more we can do", he said.