The opioid epidemic gripping the U.S. is getting worse, not better, according to a grim report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between July 2016 and September 2017, suspected opioid-related overdoses increased by 30 percent across 45 states, reports NPR​.org. A more specific analysis of emergency room visits in 16 states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, found a 54 percent increase in overdoses in major metropolitan areas; in Delaware and Wisconsin, they surged by more than 100 percent. Overdose rates increased among men and women of all age groups, the report showed. Furthermore, children who have gained access and exposure to their parents’ drugs have become secondary victims of this health crisis. A separate study found that since 2004, hospitalizations for opioid overdoses have nearly doubled among kids between 1 and 17 years old. “We have an emergency on our hands,” says acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat. “The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating.” Opioids have become more dangerous in the past few years as dealers have been cutting their drugs with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, but cheaper and easier to obtain.

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