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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Vital signs: trends in emergency department visits for suspected opioid overdoses- United States, July 2016- September 2017.

Vivolo-Kantor AM, Seth P, Gladden M, et al. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2018;67:279-285.

The opioid epidemic continues unabated in the United States. Although efforts such as the 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline for opioid prescribing have raised awareness and changed practice, rates of opioid-related deaths are still rising. This study reports trends in emergency department visits for opioid overdose between July 2016 and September 2017. Researchers noted a nearly 30% increase in opioid overdose rates. Overdoses increased in all regions and most states, with the most prominent spikes noted in the West and Midwest. This sobering, high-quality, and timely data will inform initiatives to reduce high-risk prescribing, promote medication-assisted treatment, and improve secondary prevention of overdose. An Annual Perspective outlines strategies for mitigating opioid harms.