A growing number of Americans are needing intensive care for opioid overdoses and dying after receiving treatment for serious complications, a U.S. study suggests.
Opioid-related overdose deaths have doubled since 2000 amid a worsening epidemic of addiction to both prescription painkillers like oxycodone and illegal drugs like heroin, researchers note in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Alongside this worsening trend, opioid overdose admissions requiring treatment in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) surged 34 percent from 2009 to 2015, the study found. During this same period, the death rate for these ICU patients climbed from 7.3 percent to 9.8 percent.
“There are growing numbers of people who are so sick from their opioid overdose that they need ICU-level care, and despite everything we can do in the ICU more patients are dying in the ICU with complications from their overdose than ever before,” said lead study author Dr.