(HealthDay News) — Opioid-involved overdoses are continuing to increase, according to research published in the March 6 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Alana M. Vivolo-Kantor, PhD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined emergency department syndromic and hospital billing data on opioid-involved overdoses during July 2016 to September 2017. Temporal trends in overdoses were analyzed from 52 jurisdictions in 45 states at the regional level and by demographic characteristics.

The researchers found that 142,557 emergency department visits (15.7 per 10,000 visits) were suspected opioid-involved overdoses from July 2016 through Sept. 2017. Per quarter, this rate increased on average by 5.6%. Increases were seen in rates across demographic groups and all 5 US regions; the largest increases were seen in the Southwest, Midwest, and West (about 7 to 11% per quarter). In 16 states there were 119,198 emergency department visits (26.7 per 10,000 visits) that were suspected opioid-involved overdoses. Significant quarterly rate increases were seen from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017 in 10 states; rates decreased significantly in one state. The highest increases in rates were seen in large central metropolitan areas.

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“Educating emergency department physicians and staff members about appropriate services for immediate care and treatment and implementing a post-overdose protocol that includes naloxone provision and linking persons into treatment could assist emergency departments with preventing overdose,” the authors write.


  1. Vivolo-Kantor AM, Seth P, Gladden RM, et al. Vital Signs: Trends in emergency department visits for suspected opioid overdoses — United States, July 2016–September 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly. 2018 March 9. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6709e1