A new nationwide survey on hospital emergency room visits and inpatient care shows Maryland ranks number one in opioid-related hospital stays.
As communities handle a growing drug crisis, hospitals in Maryland and across the country are treating more and more patients with opioid-related problems.
According to WBAL,
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a study Tuesday showing 1.27 million emergency room visits and inpatient stays in 2014, the latest year numbers were available.
Opioid-related emergency department visits were highest in Maryland, the study found. Nationwide inpatient stays increased 64 percent, with patients ages 25-44 and 45-64 having the highest rates. The data comes from 44 states and Washington, D.C.
Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen addressed hospitalizations and overdoses, saying: “It’s not surprising. We are seeing a large increase in the number of fatal overdoses here in Baltimore and across Maryland.”
Wen said one-third of Maryland’s overdose deaths in 2016 happened in Baltimore. She said it’s not just about emergency room and hospital stays. Heroin and fentanyl use have increased, with about two people in the city dying each day in 2016.
While the drug naloxone, which reverses an overdose, is helping save lives, the supply and demand of illegal drugs isn’t ending and the need for treatment is increasing.
“This is an epidemic. I want people who have an addiction to seek treatment. So for people to go into an emergency department and hospital for treatment, in a way, it’s a good thing. The problem is we lack treatment capacity,” Wen said.
Wen said that finding available treatment at any time is complex.
“In the ER, I see patients who need treatment, but we may not be able to get them in to see someone or have a bed for weeks or months,” Wen said. “Studies have shown around the country (that) one in 10 people with the disease of addiction are able to get the treatment they need. That’s what we have to work on here in Maryland and across the country.”
Maryland’s heroin and opioid epidemic will be discussed at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference session “Attacking the Opioid Epidemic: A Collaborative Approach.” The session will be held from 2:00-3:00 pm, Friday, August 18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland.
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