Emergency room data shows the opioid crisis continues to accelerate
More than 142,000 people were taken to emergency departments for opioid overdoses during a recent 15-month period, the latest sign the drug epidemic continues to worsen despite the efforts of public health authorities.
The 142,557 emergency visits in 45 states marked a nearly 30 percent increase between the third quarter of 2016 and the same period of 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday. In 16 states that have suffered high rates of overdose deaths, the jump was even higher, at 34.5 percent. No region or demographic group was spared, and two states — Wisconsin and Delaware — saw overdose visits to their emergency rooms more than double.
The data represent yet another dismal sign that efforts to curb the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history have not taken hold in most of the country. Unlike the annual tally of overdose deaths, which lag behind by a year, they provide recent evidence that the crisis continues to head in the wrong direction. Nearly 64,000 people died of drug overdoses, two-thirds of them from opioids, in 2016.