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Wave of Opioid Overdoses Likely to Hit U.S. Rural, CITIES

By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Experts predict opioid overdoses will climb in both rural and cities due to the lethal practice of mixing the highly addictive narcotics with other drugs.

The coming wave of opioid overdoses will undoubtedly be worse than ever before seen before, said researchers from Northwestern Medicine in Chicago who studied trends and used a predictive model to find out where deaths would escalate.

I’m sounding the alarm because, for the very first time, there exists a convergence and escalation of acceleration rates for each kind of rural and urban county, said corresponding author Lori Post. She actually is director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Not merely may be the death rate from an opioid at an all-time high, however the acceleration of this death rate signals explosive exponential growth that’s even bigger than an already historic high, Post said in a Northwestern news release.

For the analysis, the researchers used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions WONDER database for 3,147 counties and areas equal to counties to review geographic trends in opioid deaths between 1999 and 2020.

The team was attempting to determine if geography was mixed up in past waves also to theorize about any coming wave.

The analysis discovered that opioid overdose deaths in 2020 were escalating faster in rural areas than in cities. Between 2019 and 2020, rates of overdose deaths escalated for the very first time in six forms of rural and urban counties, Post said.

We’ve the best escalation rate for the very first time in America, which fourth wave will undoubtedly be worse than its ever been before, Post explained. Its likely to mean mass death.

The study team examined toxicology reports and discovered that folks are using fentanyl (a synthetic opioid that’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine) and carfentanil (a synthetic opioid approximately 100 times stronger than fentanyl) in conjunction with methamphetamines and cocaine.

This lethal cocktail makes it harder to save lots of someone experiencing an overdose having an overdose-reversing drug like naloxone.

The stronger the drugs, the harder it really is to revive an individual, explained study co-author Alexander Lundberg, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Feinberg. The polysubstance use complicates an already dire situation.

Post said, It would appear that anyone who has died from opioid overdoses have been playing pharmacist and attempting to manage their very own dosing. It is a bigger problem as you have people misusing cocaine and methamphetamines alongside an opioid, and that means you need to treat a couple of things simultaneously, and the fentanyl is horribly volatile.

The analysis authors said solutions might include methadone centers, that offer medication-assisted anti-addiction treatments. They are more prevalent in cities. Rural areas haven’t any medication-assisted treatment plans, Post said, adding that what realy works in large cities is probable not as ideal for rural areas.

Nobody really wants to be considered a drug addict. It doesnt matter if youre taking Percocet as you broke your back while mining or if youre a higher schooler who died since they experienced grandmas medicine cabinet. We have to look at opioid addiction and overdose prevention immediately, Post said.

The only way forward would be to increase awareness to avoid opioid use disorders also to provide medication-assisted treatment that’s culturally appropriate and non-stigmatizing in rural communities, she added.

The findings were published online July 28 in JAMA Network Open .

More info

The U.S. Department of Health insurance and Human Services has more on the opioid epidemic.

SOURCE: Northwestern Medicine, news release, July 28, 2022

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