Public Health

When even good news on the opioid crisis is really bad news

Using Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project data between 1997 and 2014, Tedesco et al. (2017) find that–like many other studies–that the opioid epidemic has exploded in the last two decades.

[Inpatient] discharge rates for prescription opioid poisoning increased significantly by 8.0 percent annually from 1997 to 2010 in the inpatient setting and 5.0 percent annually from 2006 to 2010 in the ED [emergency department]…

The good news is that inpatient stays and ED visits for opioid poisoning have declined.  The bad news is that they have been more than offset by increased incidence of heroin poisoning.

Inpatient and ED discharge rates increased overall across the study period, but a decline was observed for prescription opioid–related discharges beginning in 2010, while a sharp increase in heroin-related discharges began in 2008.

Interesting throughout.


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