A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report highlighted data from emergency departments showing that the U.S. opioid overdose epidemic continues to worsen, and recommending that naloxone distribution to first responders be increased in the most heavily affected areas.
The report examines the timeliest data available to CDC on ED visits for opioid overdoses across multiple states. Overall, emergency department visits (reported by 52 jurisdictions in 45 states) for suspected opioid overdoses increased 30 percent in the U.S., from July 2016 through September 2017. Opioid overdoses increased for men and women, all age groups, and all regions, but varied by state, with rural/urban differences. The findings highlight the need for enhanced prevention and treatment efforts in EDs and for greater access to evidence-based opioid use disorder treatments, including medication-assisted treatment and harm reduction services.
“Long before we receive data from death certificates, emergency department data can point to alarming increases in opioid overdoses,” said CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “This fast-moving epidemic affects both men and women, and people of every age. It does not respect state or county lines and is still increasing in every region in the United States.”