Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

IL sees 66 percent jump in emergency room visits for opioid overdoses

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Isabel Fisher | 08 March, 2018, 02:11

In 16 states there were 119,198 emergency department visits (26.7 per 10,000 visits) that were suspected opioid-involved overdoses. It also reports that toxicology screens show a leveling off of opioid-related overdose deaths where prescription drugs were present, and drop in the number of Schedule II opioid prescriptions dispensed.

Increases in other states across the nation are even more alarming - Wisconsin up 108 percent, Pennsylvania 80 percent, DE nearly 105 percent in suspected overdoses.

The Chicago Tribune reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released state emergency room data.

Dr. Brian Sharp, who works in the ER at UW Hospital, said UW has seen an uptick in overdoses of prescription opioids and illicit opioids such as heroin and illegally formulated fentanyl.

Support programs that reduce harms which can occur when injecting opioids, including those that offer screening for HIV and hepatitis B and C, in combination with referral to treatment. Acting CDC director Dr. Anne Schuchat said emergency room visit data is useful because it shows when and where people are overdosing.


Other states that have been dealing with the opioid epidemic for a long time, like Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, had modest decreases in opioid overdoses resulting in hospital stays.

"Emergency department education and post-overdose protocols, including providing naloxone and linking people to treatment, are critical needs", Vivolo-Kantor said. Kentucky, meanwhile, reported a statistically significant decrease (15%). "We know that prescribing patterns for opioids have been high in some rural areas", Schuchat said. "So (there would be) a person in the emergency department whose job it is to follow up with the person after they're awake, after they're home to make sure that they do get connected and potentially help link them with medically assisted - medication assisted treatment a few days out". And common painkillers don't have side effects, such as leading people into opioid addiction, the study concluded.

Others say the key is integrating addiction treatment better into the health care system.

Support the use of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which encourages using prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to inform clinical practice.

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

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