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

Faith Castro
March 8, 2018

More than 800 people died from opioid overdoses in Wisconsin in 2016, a 35 percent increase from 2015.

Gov. Tom Wolf in January declared a statewide 90-day emergency due to the opioid overdose crisis.

According to NPR, the data allows the most current look at opioid overdoses in the country and is based on such visits seen in 92 hospital emergency rooms from the July 2016 to September 2017. "We know that prescribing patterns for opioids have been high in some rural areas", Schuchat said. And while the same report did not mention the number of deaths involved, another recent CDC report revealed that overdose deaths in general rose by around 14 percent from July 2016 to July 2017. In 16 states hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, ER visits from overdoses rose 35 percent during that time.

At Mount Sinai Hospital in the North Lawndale neighborhood, medical director Dr. Jaime Moreno said he sees so many heroin-related problems in his ER that it is hard to tell if there has been an increase.

"We don't have to wait until it's too late", Schuchat said.

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The sharp increases and variation across states and counties indicate the need for better coordination to address overdose outbreaks spreading across county and state borders. He also calls for increasing the availability of naloxone, which reverses the effects of overdoses, and working with law enforcement.

"We can use this near-death experience - use it as moment to change that person's life", Nickel says. However, Schuchat noted that these drops are likely insignificant because those states previously saw high rates of overdose.

The report noted the central role of state and local health departments in coordinating responses to opioid overdoses. Both third quarter periods show increases of about 30 percent.

States that saw a slight decrease in opioid overdoses included Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. But only that of Kentucky, with a 15 percent decrease, is considered statistically significant.

The data reports that, from the same time frame as the ESOOS Program report, all 5 USA regions experienced increases in overdose rates.

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