Saturday, 22 September, 2018

ER visits for opioid overdose double in Wisconsin

ER visits for opioid overdose double in Wisconsin ER visits for opioid overdose double in Wisconsin
Becky Salazar | 08 March, 2018, 02:15

Emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased 109 percent in Wisconsin from July 2016 to September 2017, the highest spike among 16 states closely tracked, federal health officials said Tuesday. Significant quarterly rate increases were seen from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017 in 10 states; rates decreased significantly in one state.

Overdoses increased by almost 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017, which works out to around 142,557 emergency visits.

Emergency rooms can provide naloxone, the overdose antidote, to reverse an overdose's symptoms and prevent death. "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.

"Opioid overdoses increased for men and women, all age groups, and all regions", said the report.

A $4.8 million program launched by the LePage administration a year ago to help the uninsured gain access to treatment - the Opioid Health Home program - has only helped a handful of uninsured people, according to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

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. 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.

The fact that the report was only able to capture people who were hospitalized suggests that the grim toll may be much higher, because many people who overdose never go to the ER.

Among the solutions is increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, which combines behavioral therapy with medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms, Shah said.

"The science is clear - addiction is a chronic disease and not a moral failing", he said. Closer coordination between public health and public safety agencies can support identification of changes in supply and use of illicit opioids, further allowing communities to take appropriate action to reduce opioid overdoses.

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

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