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Opioid overdoses in ERs up 30 percent as crisis worsens

A man injects heroin into his arm June 13, 2017, under a bridge along the Wishkah River at Kurt Cobain Memorial Park in Aberdeen, Wash. The government said non-fatal overdoses visits to hospital emergency rooms were up about 30 percent late last summer, compared to the same three-month period in 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the numbers Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (David Goldman / AP)
A man injects heroin into his arm June 13, 2017, under a bridge along the Wishkah River at Kurt Cobain Memorial Park in Aberdeen, Wash. The government said non-fatal overdoses visits to hospital emergency rooms were up about 30 percent late last summer, compared to the same three-month period in 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the numbers Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (David Goldman / AP)
By Mike Stobbe Associated Press

NEW YORK – Emergency rooms saw a big jump in overdoses from opioids last year – the latest evidence the nation’s drug crisis is getting worse.

A government report released Tuesday shows overdoses from opioids increased 30 percent late last summer, compared to the same three-month period in 2016. The biggest jumps were in the Midwest and in cities, but increases occurred nationwide.

The report did not differentiate between prescription pain pills, heroin, fentanyl and other opioids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently started using a new system to track ER overdoses and found the rate of opioid overdoses rose from 14 to 18 per 100,000 ER visits over a year.

Almost all those overdoses were not fatal. Opioids were involved in two-thirds of all overdose deaths in 2016.

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