Vital Signs: Emergency Department Visits for Opioid Overdoses are Increasing

More than 100 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and in every town across our country.  This heartbreaking statistic comes from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs report released last week.

The report found that in just over a year, emergency department visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased 30 percent in all parts of the United States. The most dramatic increase was in the Midwest, which saw a 70 percent jump in opioid overdoses. The increases also weren’t limited to small towns or rural areas, which have been hard hit. Opioid overdoses in large metropolitan areas increased by 54 percent.

These statistics are a clear signal that America’s opioid overdose epidemic is getting worse. However, the report also highlights opportunities for progress, and reveals how timely data can potentially save some lives.

Specifically, the report provides recommendations for communities, law enforcement, the medical community, public health and government to work together.

Learn more about this new report in this opinion piece from Acting CDC Director Dr. Anne Schuchat. As Dr. Schuchat explains, “this epidemic does not distinguish by age, sex, or state and county lines, and it shows that we still have a lot of work to do to protect Americans from the dangers of opioids. But working together, we can fight this crisis and save lives.”

We hope this report helps increase understanding of this critical issue, and encourages additional action to address the devastating and growing problem of opioid overdoses in communities across the United States.


Claire Stinson is a senior communications officer for the CDC Foundation.