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Opioid Overdose Increase Continues Nationwide

March 6, 2018

Opioid Overdose Increase Continues Nationwide

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that not everyone dies from an opioid overdose – many people suffer respiratory depression resulting in anoxic/hypoxic brain injury.

The CDC report shows opioid overdoses, including those from heroin and Fentanyl, increased nationwide by more than 30 percent over the past year with rates rising in every age group and in both men and women. The agency acknowledges its data may underestimate the actual rate of overdose, as many victims never make it to the emergency room.

Opioid overdose induces respiratory depression that can lead to an anoxic/hypoxic brain injury, making medical intervention extremely time sensitive. Recently released drugs, like Narcan, reverse the effects of overdose, but must be administered quickly.

The number of Americans who survive an opioid-related overdose but suffer an anoxic/hypoxic brain injury remains unknown. “But we do know how debilitating anoxic injuries are,” said Susan Connors, president/CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America.

Anoxic brain injuries may result in worse outcomes than traumatic injuries because damage to the brain is diffuse rather than focal, making it that much harder to overcome physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments. “An addict who sustains a brain injury is still an addict, just as a person with a brain injury who is in the throes of addiction still has a brain injury,” Connors added. “Individuals who survive overdose need co-occurring treatment for substance misuse and brain injury. The Brain Injury Association’s National Brain Injury Information Center can link individuals who misuse substances with brain injury experts.”

For to speak with a Brain Injury Expert, contact that National Brain Injury Information Center (NBIIC) at 1-800-444-6443.