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Emergency visits for suspected opioid overdoses shot up 30 percent from the third quarter of 2016 to third quarter 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Long before we receive data from death certificates, emergency department data can point to alarming increases in opioid overdoses", said a press statement from CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat.

According to Politifact, more than 64,000 people died in the USA in 2016 from drug overdoses - the majority of which were linked to opioids such as oxycodone, fentanyl and heroin.

The rate of opioid overdoses increased on average by 5.6 percent throughout the year, across all demographic groups and all five US regions.

However, 63,632 people died of drug overdose deaths in 2016 in the United States, a 21.4 percent increase from 2015, the CDC said.

In the face of the glaring data for Pennsylvania and similarly embattled states, the CDC provided some recommendations for how to coordinate responses to opioid overdoses.

In the new report, the CDC researchers identified 142,557 cases of suspected opioid overdose treated in ERs during the study period. Medical staff can administer naloxone - a life-saving antidote that can act in seconds to reverse a potentially fatal opioid overdose - and teach loved ones how to use the medication to prevent death from an opioid overdose. Among those states, DE and Pennsylvania, along with Wisconsin, topped the list of states where the rate of ER visits for overdoses grew the most quickly. Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island also experienced less than 10 percent decreases.

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"People who have had an overdose are more likely to have another, so being seen in the ED [emergency department] is an opportunity for action", the CDC report said.

SCHUCHAT: The Midwestern region was most hard hit with an increase of 70 percent. In Wisconsin, overdoses are up a 109 percent.

"We know that up to 90 percent of people will relapse in the first year going through rehab", he said.

ANDREW KOLODNY: It is concerning that 15, 20 years into this epidemic, it is still getting worse. "So we take the time that we have with those patients very seriously and we try to maximize what we can for them both in the Emergency Department and how we hook them up with treatment". It's kind of like pointing to a burning building and saying, oh, there's a fire there; there's an emergency, and then not calling the fire department and watching it burn down.

Lynch says that effort has been enhanced over the past year with a program to set up a network of regional addiction treatment centers. The surgeon general, Jerome Adams, said: "Addiction is a chronic disease, and not a moral failing".

JESSICA HULSEY NICKEL: We can use this near-death experience - use it as a moment to change that person's life.