CDC Reports 30 Percent Increase Nationwide in Opioid Overdoses, Webinar Scheduled for Next Week

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that emergency department visits for opioid overdoses increased 30 percent in all parts of the United States from July 2016 to September 2017. Opioids include prescription pain medication, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The Midwest realized the highest increase in opioid overdoses with a 70 percent jump in overdoses, and the West realized the second highest increase with a 40 percent jump in overdoses. The nationwide increases occurred among both sexes and every age group of adults.

The latest data from the CDC shows that opioid overdoses continue to increase in cities and counties of all types, and the highest opioid overdose increase (54 percent) occurred in large cities. The CDC provides recommendations and roles for a variety of stakeholders, including health departments, healthcare providers, and state and federal governments. The CDC recommends that LHDs can:

  • Alert communities to rapid increase in overdoses seen in emergency departments
  • Increase naloxone distribution to first responders, families and friends, and other community members
  • Increase availability of and access to treatment services, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Support programs to reduce harms which can occur when injecting opioids in combination with referral to treatment

The CDC urges coordination between LHDs, emergency departments, mental health and treatment providers, community-based organizations, and law enforcement to address and reduce opioid overdose and death. The full CDC Vital Signs report is available here.

Free CDC Continuing Education Webinar

On Tuesday, March 13 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, the CDC will also be offering a free continuing education (CE) webinar on how public health practitioners and health care providers can work together in coordinating a robust response to the opioid overdose epidemic. The webinar will feature Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and other public health and medical professionals. Additional webinar information and registration is available here.