Study: Opioid overdoses nearly double in 7 years

Brian Zimmerman - Print  | 

The number of opioid overdose patients admitted to the intensive care unit and the number of these patients that died due to overdoses increased significantly from 2009 through most of 2015, according to a study published in Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

For the study, researchers analyzed more than 20 million hospital admissions at 162 hospitals in 44 states. Admissions occurred from Jan. 1, 2009 through Sept. 30, 2016. Among the more than 4 million patients admitted to ICUs over the study period, 21,705 were admitted for opioid overdoses.

The researchers identified a 34 percent increase in ICU admissions for opioid overdose over the study period. Additionally, as the ICU admissions rose, the mortality rates among these patients nearly doubled by Sept. 30, 2015.

"Our findings raise the need for a national approach to developing safe strategies to care for patients with overdose in the ICU, to providing coordinated resources in the hospital for patients and families, and to helping survivors maintain sobriety on discharge," concluded the study's authors.

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