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Repeat emergency visits for opioid overdose raise risk of hospitalization, respiratory failure

Patients brought to hospital emergency departments more than once in a year for treatment of opioid drug overdoses are more likely to be hospitalized for overdose and to need respiratory support with a mechanical ventilator. The authors note that the increased use of opioid drugs for pain management -- reflected in a quadrupling in sales between 1999 and 2010 -- has been accompanied by a rising incidence of opioid overdoses, leading to an 183 percent increase in ED visits for such overdoses nationwide from 2004 to 2011.
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