Opioid Epidemic Flooding U.S. Hospitals at Unprecedented Rates

More Americans are getting addicted to opioids and hospitals are struggling to keep up.

June 20, 2017 12:37 pm
Opioid Epidemic
'Buck' who is 23 and addicted to heroin, prepares to shoot up Suboxone, a maintenance drug for opioid dependence that is also highly addictive on February 6, 2014 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. ( Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

America’s opioid problem has spiked to alarming and unprecedented levels.

Hospitals and emergency rooms are being bombarded by the opioid epidemic to the point of straining services, according to new data released on Tuesday.

Heroin and prescription opioid abuse have long been a problem, but the synthetic opioid fentanyl has contributed to a surge in overdoses over the last nine years, the Washington Post reports.

A report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) details the scope of the epidemic. Compared to 2005, there’s been a 64 percent increase of inpatient care and 99 percent jump in E.R. visits. In one year, there were 1.27 million hospital visits for opioid-related issues. Experts believe that number will continue to rise if more drastic action isn’t done to stop the epidemic from growing.

Maryland, which the AHRQ report found to have the worst problem, has declared a state of emergency to combat opioid addiction. Deaths from overdose have quadrupled in the last seven years in the state.

Other states struggling under the scourge include Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, New York, West Virginia, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, and Maine.

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