After years of steady increases, the number of Americans showing up in emergency departments with heroin overdoses is on a downswing, at least in some states.
Between 2017 and 2018, many states saw a dramatic drop in the number of people being rushed to hospitals as a result of a heroin overdose, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But the report had a dark side, too: Numbers rose in a handful of states.
Overall, “from 2017 to 2018, heroin overdoses treated in emergency departments in 22 states and Washington, D.C., decreased almost 22%,” said study lead author Alana Vivolo-Kantor. She is a health scientist at the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Some locales that have historically been hardest hit — such as West Virginia, Ohio and Washington, D.C. — saw their numbers plummet by more than 50%, the researchers found.
Seven other states — Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin — had significant declines in hospital-treated heroin overdoses.
So, what explains the encouraging news?