In West Virginia, more than half of the hospital admissions are from emergency departments, according to a new report.
The report comes after several news outlets reported on a spike in hospitalizations among residents in West Texas, where doctors are increasingly reporting that they are struggling to get a handle on the opioid epidemic.
“The surge in admissions in the emergency room has occurred across the country and it’s a real issue that needs to be addressed,” Dr. Brian Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Hospital Association, told ABC News.
“It’s not just West Virginia.
It’s a nationwide issue.”
Smith said that a lack of proper care for patients is the root cause of the increase in hospital stays.
According to the report, West Virginia’s ER utilization rose from 7 percent in 2012 to a staggering 33 percent in 2016.
Dr. Brian O’Donnell, executive vice president of the American Medical Association, has also voiced concerns about the growing opioid epidemic, saying in March that the epidemic has led to the creation of “the most dangerous opioid epidemic in modern American history.”
O’Donnell told ABC that he believes the opioid crisis is creating an environment in which patients are at risk of overdose.
In 2016, an average of 7.3 percent of the patients admitted to West Virginia ERs were admitted with opioid-related conditions, according the report.
Amber Johnson, director of patient services at the West Texas Hospital Association said the number of patients with opioid addiction has increased significantly.
“There are more and more people in our state that have used opioids, and they are increasingly showing up at our ERs,” Johnson told ABC.
“The reality is, we need to be very clear and very aggressive in responding to this crisis, and we need better treatment and treatment options for these patients.”