Report shows steep rise in opioid-related ER visits in Maine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says ER visits for opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in 45 states from July 2016 through September 2017

The ER data show trends in the opioid abuse epidemic before deaths do, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study. The response plan includes allowing emergency room doctors to start overdose survivors in medication.

The vast majority of the fatal overdoses, about two-thirds, involve a legal or illegal opioid painkiller, or heroin. "This data sends a wake up call about the need to improve what happens when patients leave the emergency department". "Research shows that people who have had at least one overdose are more likely to have another".

"Seeing frequent overdoses, especially in young patients, can take an emotional toll", Sharp said. This data may not be a indicative of the epidemic as a whole, as many individuals who experience an overdose are not always admitted into urgent care facilities. Wisconsin had the largest increase of the states measured, a 108 percent surge in emergency department utilization.

Public health experts say use of the overdose antidote Naloxone, coupled with a decline in opioid prescriptions may be working.

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Maine's drug overdose deaths continue to set records, with 418 reported in 2017. The report also estimated a 30 percent increase for 45 states.

The most recent report from the CDC's Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) Program stated that, from July 2016 through September 2017, opioid overdoses have increased 35% in the program's 16 participating states.

Every demographic group experienced substantial rate increases, including men (30 percent) and women (24 percent) and people ages 25-34 (31 percent), 35-54 (36 percent), and 55 or older (32 percent).

A few of the 16 states saw a decrease in ER overdose cases.

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The rate of such ER visits rose 105 percent in DE and 81 percent in Pennsylvania. But only that of Kentucky, with a 15 percent decrease, is considered statistically significant.

United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said his family has been affected by the opioid crisis. Adams said his brother has long struggled with addiction.

Dr. Stephen Hull, a pain specialist at Mercy Hospital, said that the article is the latest study of many to question whether opioids should be used for chronic pain.

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