March 6 (UPI) -- Emergency department visits for opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in the U.S. from July 2016 to September 2017, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.
In the Midwest alone, hospital visits for opioid overdoses rose 70 percent during that time, according to the March CDC report. Overdose-related trips to emergency departments increased among all age groups and both sexes and increased at the largest rate in the biggest cities. The report analyzed overdoses from emergency department visits in the across 52 jurisdictions in 45 states from July 2016 through September 2017.
Emergency departments can provide naloxone -- a drug that combats overdoses -- and recommend treatment to patients, making it an important frontline in the nation's opioid epidemic, the report said.
"We have an emergency on our hands," acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat told NPR. "The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating ... We saw, sadly, that in every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing."
Schuchat cautioned the CDC data could be a low-end estimate, as some drug users may avoid going to an emergency department when they overdose.
Roughly 2.4 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, according to federal estimates.