Four Reasons Why the Opioid Epidemic Is Getting Worse, Not Better


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.

Wisconsin and DE each saw a more than 100 percent increase in opioid-related emergencies a year ago. The exact number was not released. 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.

In the Midwest alone, hospital visits for opioid overdoses rose 70 percent during that time, according to the March CDC report.

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

The goal is to better understand, and improve the response to, the crisis that has made drug overdoses the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Jim Perri said he and his co-workers are also swamped with patients.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation is in the grip of a fast-moving epidemic for which there are no easy solutions. States in the region, including OH and MI, were already among those with the highest opioid death rates. Other states in the Eastern region, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, showed nonsignificant decreases of less than 10%.

The supply of those more risky drugs is increasing faster in some parts of the country than in others, which may help explain the geographic variations, Schuchat says. The rates of suspected opioid overdoses rose by 5% each quarter on average. Overdose visits alone don't capture the severity of the problem.

Moreno said he has started conversations with community clinics about beginning medication-assisted treatment in Sinai's ER and then handing patients off for further rehab.

"There's a lot more we can do", he said.