Severe Opioid Overdoses Rose by Nearly a Third During Pandemic

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By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Opioid overdose-related visits to U.S. exigency departments roseate by astir one-third during the COVID-19 pandemic past year.

That's the cardinal uncovering successful a caller investigation of information from 25 exigency departments successful Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

"COVID-19, and the disruptions successful each portion of our societal and enactment lives, made this concern adjacent harder by expanding the hazard of opioid misuse and relapse due to the fact that radical were separated from their societal enactment and mean routines," said elder survey writer Molly Jeffery, a researcher astatine the Mayo Clinic successful Rochester, Minn.

The survey revealed that opioid overdose-related exigency section visits roseate 28.5% past year, compared to 2018 and 2019. The earthy numbers successful the survey were 3,486 successful 2020; 3,285 successful 2019; and 3,020 successful 2018.

The researchers tied opioid overdoses to 1 successful each 313 ER visits past year, compared with 1 successful 400 successful the erstwhile 2 years.

While ER visits related to opioid overdoses roseate 10.5% past year, wide ER visits dropped 14%, according to findings published successful the Annals of Emergency Medicine, and presented precocious astatine the AcademyHealth yearly probe meeting.

Preliminary information precocious released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amusement much than 93,000 opioid overdose deaths successful 2020 — up 29.4% from 2019 and the astir ever recorded successful a 12-month play successful the United States.

"While institutions crossed the U.S. are keenly alert that opioid misuse is simply a large wellness concern, this shows that determination is much enactment to beryllium done, and it provides an accidental for institutions and policymakers to grow evidence-based treatments and resources," Jeffrey said successful a session quality release.

More than 70% of cause overdose deaths successful 2019 progressive opioids, according to the CDC, but trends were leveling disconnected earlier the coronavirus pandemic. However, information uncover a important reversal successful that inclination since the commencement of the pandemic.

Actual opioid overdose rates whitethorn beryllium higher than the survey suggests, due to the fact that the fig of radical who overdose but don't spell to the exigency section is apt connected the rise, the researchers noted.

In effect to the surge, Jeffrey said opioid addiction treatments specified arsenic buprenorphine and methadone, and the opioid overdose reversal cause naloxone request to beryllium much accessible.

She besides noted that telehealth entree for psychiatric attraction accrued during the pandemic and has remained high.

"We deliberation this whitethorn beryllium an important mode to summation the accessibility of attraction for galore radical with opioid misuse upset oregon addiction," Jeffery said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute connected Drug Abuse has much astir the opioid crisis.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, quality release, July 28, 2021

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