Report: Wisconsin emergency departments see 109 percent increase in opioid overdoses

March 07, 2018 10:14 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

March 7, Wisconsin Health News

Wisconsin emergency departments saw suspected opioid overdoses more than double between July 2016 and last September, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday.

The data show that the opioid epidemic hit the Midwest hardest among the country’s regions during that period. The Midwest experienced a 70 percent increase in opioid overdose emergency department visits, according to an analysis that covered 60 percent of emergency department visits in the United States. The average was 30 percent nationwide.

The CDC also separately analyzed data for 16 states, including Wisconsin, which saw a 109 percent increase in suspected opioid overdose emergency department visits during that period. It was the highest increase among the analyzed states.

“This fast-moving epidemic does not distinguish age, sex or state or county lines, and it’s still increasing in every region of the United States,” CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters on a press call.

Other Midwest states saw increases too, with Illinois reporting a 66 percent increase, Indiana a 35 percent increase, Ohio a 28 percent increase and Missouri a 21 percent increase.

The findings show a need for better coordination between public health and public safety agencies to address overdose outbreaks. It also shows a need for more prevention and treatment efforts, according to the CDC.

“Research shows that people who have had at least one overdose are more likely to have another,” Schuchat said. “However, if the person is seen in an emergency department, we are presented with an opportunity to take steps to prevent a repeated overdose.”