CDC Report Indicates Opioid Crisis in America is Worsening

Emergency Room Crisis

America’s opioid epidemic is getting worse.

That is the gist of a new report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, which was unveiled this week, shows opioid-related emergency room visits spiked 30 percent over a period of one year. The CDC said the increased number of visits were spread across the United States between July 2016 and September 2017. On average states saw an increase of about 30 percent each. However, the CDC report shows that states in the Midwest were particularly hit by a rise in opioid-related problems.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 116 Americans die daily from opioid overdoses.

During the investigated time period the CDC said Midwestern states saw a 70 percent spike in opioid overdoses. Of particular note are Illinois and Wisconsin, which both saw overdoses increase by more than 50 percent. Wisconsin saw a 109 percent increase in opioid-related overdoses and Illinois saw a 66 percent increase, according to the CDC report. Other Midwestern states also saw growing numbers. Indiana saw a 35 percent jump, Ohio saw an increase of 28 percent and Missouri had a 21 percent increase.

Delaware and Pennsylvania also saw similar jumps in overdoses, the CDC said. Overdoses were also more common in large metropolitan areas. In cities opioid overdoses increased 54 percent during the same 15-month time frame, the CDC said.

There were some states that have seen a decrease in opioid-related overdoses, including two that have been hard hit by the epidemic, Kentucky and West Virginia. New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island also saw decreases, according to the CDC analysis.

Cases of opioid-related overdoses and abuse cross the age and gender barrier, the CDC report shows. Increases in overdoses increased about 30 percent in men and 24 percent in women during the period. In the 15-month time frame, the CDC gathered data for the agency said there was a 31 percent increase in opioid overdoses in people ages 25 to 34. For ages 35 to 54 the number of overdoses jumped about 36 percent and for those 55 and older there was a 32 percent increase.

Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat said the emergency treatment data points to an alarming increase in opioid-related overdoses.

“This fast-moving epidemic affects both men and women, and people of every age. It does not respect state or county lines and is still increasing in every region in the United States,” Schuchat said in a statement.

In an interview with NPR Schuchat said the CDC believes that the actual number of people addicted to opioids is “relatively stable.” However, she noted that “the substances are more dangerous than five years ago.”

“The margin of error for taking one of these substances is small now and people may not know what they have,” Schuchat said.

The CDC report was unveiled days after the U.S. Department of Justice announced a plan Tuesday to form a task force that will target opioid manufacturers and distributors for the roles they have allegedly played in the increase of addiction across the country. The DOJ announced it will file a statement of interest in the numerous lawsuits brought against drug companies by state and local governments, as well as medical institutions seeking financial reimbursement for the cost of treating addiction

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