Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

CDC report maps ongoing opioid epidemic in the USA

CDC report maps ongoing opioid epidemic in the USA

Substantial increases in overdoses were seen nationwide, said the report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC called for addiction prevention education, improved treatment efforts in the emergency rooms and greater access to services that can help people recover, such as medication-assisted treatment.

"This is a very hard and fast-moving epidemic and there are no easy solutions", said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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The largest regional increase occurred in the Midwest, which saw a 69.7 percent jump in opioid overdoses, according to the report. 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. In the Midwest, overdoses jumped 70%, due in part to increases of 109% in Wisconsin and 65.5% in IL, report NPR and CNN.

The latest data could underestimate the overdoses, because many people who overdose never end up in the emergency room. "But the substances are more risky than five years ago", Schuchat says.

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.

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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.

Comparing the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017, researchers found a 29.7 percent jump in ER visits due to opioids. "It does not respect state or county lines and is still increasing in every region in the United States." said CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat in a statement. Both third quarter periods show increases of about 30 percent.

For example, overdoses increased 105 percent in DE, compared with 80.6 percent in Pennsylvania and 34 percent in Maine.

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