If you thought the opioid epidemic would go away on its own, here’s proof that it isn’t. In fact, it’s only become worse. As of now, consider it a crisis.
CT Post reports that area hospitals released the amount of drug overdoses they treated so far this year. While some find the numbers worrisome, others see it it as a call to action.
So far this year, 3,090 people came to state emergency rooms for suspected drug overdoses. That breaks down to 180 visits every week.
So, how did health officials come up with this number? They used a new surveillance system called EpiCenter. Using data starting in January and ending in April, it recorded how long ERs took to treat overdose victims.
It then sent its findings to the Department of Public Health.
The system also pinpointed which opioids and substances people abuse the most in the state.
One growing problem is the opioid, Fentanyl. It’s a drug that’s 50 times more potent than heroin. Despite how deadly it is, dealers began using this substance more because it’s cheaper to produce.
Another substance that recently showed up in CT, Carfentanil, is even deadlier. It’s 10,000 times stronger than morphine. The substance will cause paramedics to immediately overdose if they accidentally touch it.
As of right now, the DPH issued a call for additional training to community partners to combat the crisis.
Doctors also feel this system allows real-time response to determining overdose trends. For example, the amount of overdoses in the first two months of 2018 was 1,495.
This system offers another set of crucial information. It breaks down suspected opioid overdoses by county.
For example, the brunt of these ER visits came from Hartford County. Emergency rooms treated a total 1,021 overdoses.
The DPH since isolated which counties struggle with the epidemic the most. Behind Hartford comes New Haven County with 907 overdoses since January. Fairfield County follows behind with 497 cases.
All other counties recorded numbers below 200.
By isolating the areas with the most activity, it helps officials create individual plans per county. However, the big focus falls on prevention.
How do you stop this trend from growing? How do you rehabilitate someone addicted to drugs?
Some lawmakers wish to make examples out of drug dealers. However, the issue remains that some dealers could be addicted to opioids as well.
Another issue focuses on how to properly prepare emergency rooms. If a person comes in of a suspected overdose, time is of the essence.
So, stocking ambulances and first responders with Narcan continues to top the list of priorities. Narcan, also called Naloxone, is an opioid reversing drug that’s administered through the nose.
Either way, because the issue only continues to worsen, it’ll only cost the state more. Not only for hospital use, but for rehab programs and treatment plans. Not to mention the increased need for Narcan.
And, considering CT still deals with a major budget crisis, officials don’t have much wiggle room.
One thing’s for use, this problem won’t get better on its own. But what can our state do about it with its limited resources?
Should combating opioid overdoses become a top priority in the state? Do you see the opioid crisis ever coming to an end?