Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Four Reasons Why the Opioid Epidemic Is Getting Worse, Not Better

Child-in-hospital Opioid epidemic worsens: Wisconsin reports 108 percent rise in overdose rate
| 08 March, 2018, 02:16

The US opioid epidemic is accelerating, with hospital emergency room visits for overdoses from drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers up 30 percent from 2016 to 2017, US officials said March 6.

That survey showed an increase of 29.7 percent in 52 jurisdictions in 45 states between July through September 2016 and the same period in 2017, according to the report. The report also estimated a 30 percent increase for 45 states. The exact number was not released.

The data shouldn't come as a major surprise in Pennsylvania, which has ranked near the top on assorted measures related to the opioid crisis, including total overdose deaths and per capita rate of overdoses. Wisconsin had the largest increase of the states measured, a 108 percent surge in emergency department utilization.

The fact that the report was only able to capture people who were hospitalized suggests that the grim toll may be much higher, because many people who overdose never go to the ER.

Emergency departments at SSM Health St. Mary's in both Madison and Sun Prairie started a program where people who overdose are encouraged to seek drug treatment.

The "gold standard" to treat opioid addiction is medication-assisted treatment - such as Suboxone or methadone - combined with counseling.


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.

"This fast-moving epidemic affects both men and women, and people of every age".

"Emergency department education and post-overdose protocols, including providing naloxone and linking people to treatment, are critical needs", Vivolo-Kantor said. In Kentucky, the CDC's analysis showed a 15 percent drop in overdoses.

Alert communities to rapid increases in overdoses seen in EDs and coordinate an informed and timely response.

Others say the key is integrating addiction treatment better into the health care system. The rates of suspected opioid overdoses rose by 5% each quarter on average. "However, there an increasing number of high quality studies that are demonstrating, for a number of conditions, injuries, and surgeries, a combination of ibuprofen or naproxen and acetaminophen is as effective or more effective than an opioid in reducing pain", Hull said.

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