Emergency rooms saw 30 percent more overdoses in 2017, CDC study says

Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-07 18:45:30-05

Although rates of opioid use appear to have stabilized nationwide, rates of overdose increased dramatically between July 2016 and September 2017, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Indiana and Ohio were among the hardest-hit by the upswing, but Kentucky actually saw a decrease -- one researchers said Kentucky "might be explained by fluctuations in drug supply."

These researchers arrived at their conclusions by studying data about suspected opioid overdoses from emergency rooms across the country.

The United States as a whole experienced an average of 29.7 percent more overdoses during this time period than it had in the year prior, according to the study, and every age and gender demographic saw a boost of more than 20 percent.

However, the Midwest -- in which Ohio and Indiana were included -- experienced a staggering overdose boost of around 70 percent.

According to an NPR conversation with acting CDC director Anne Schuchat, the discrepancy between previously recorded rates of opioid use and rising rates of overdose could be explained by the increased prevalence of powerful drug cocktails such as fentanyl.

As these blends become more common, the rate of overdose can rise even as the number of total opioid users remains stable.