Emergency departments see 30% spike in opioid overdoses, CDC says

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The opioid epidemic in the U.S. continues to worsen based on new data from the Centers for Disease Control.

Tuesday, the CDC released a new report saying hospital emergency departments saw a 30 percent spike in opioid overdoses between July of 2016 and September of 2017.

The study was conducted using data from hospitals in 16 different states including North Carolina, which reported a 31 percent increase.

It shows overdoses increased in both men and women of all ages and in both urban and rural areas.

The CDC also looked at data from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program BioSense platform which analyzes 45 states and found increases in all regions of the U.S. with the largest increase in the Midwest (70 percent).

Youth Challenge of Hampton Roads, a faith-based addiction treatment program in Newport News, is also seeing more opioid addicts walk through its doors.

"Our population continues to rise. We`re about at capacity now and we`re seeing a lot of younger people addicted to opioids," said Travis Hall, Executive Director.

To fight the epidemic, the CDC recommends state and local health departments:

  • Alert communities to rapid increases in overdoses seen in EDs and coordinate an informed and timely response.
  • Increase naloxone distribution (an overdose-reversing drug) to first responders, family and friends, and other community members in affected areas, as policies permit.
  • Increase availability of and access to treatment services, including mental health services and medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
  • 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.
  • Support the use of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which encourages using prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to inform clinical practice.