Massachusetts hospitals see highest rate of opioid-related ED visits

Hospitals in Massachusetts experienced the highest rate of opioid-related emergency department visits in 2014, according to a report based on state reported data conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

From 2009 to 2014, the rate of opioid-related visits to the ED jumped 71 percent in Massachusetts. In 2014, state officials reported 450.2 opioid-related ED visits per 100,000 people, the highest rate among the 30 states reporting data on ED opioid visits for 2014. At a distant second, Maryland reported a rate of 300.7 per 100,000 people. Massachusetts' rate was also 10 times that of Iowa's, which was 45.1 per 100,000 people, the lowest rate reported.

Traci Green, PhD, deputy director of the Injury Prevention Center at Boston Medical Center, told The Boston Globe the increases may be attributable to rise of fentanyl — a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin. In 2016, fentanyl surpassed heroin as the most deadly opioid in the state, according toxicology reports assessed by the Massachusetts Department of Health.

"If anything, these data are just the tip of the fentanyl effects," Dr. Green told the Globe. "Fentanyl is what is driving everything right now."

More articles on opioids: 
Study: American heroin use jumps fivefold in 10 years 
Gov. Chris Christie to lead Trump's new opioid commission: 5 things to know 
Partners, GE help lead initiative to combat opioid epidemic in Massachusetts

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