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The coast-to-coast opioid epidemic is swamping hospitals, with government data published Tuesday showing 1.27 million emergency room visits or inpatient stays for opioid-related issues in a single year.
The 2014 numbers, the latest available for every state and the District of Columbia, reflect a 64 percent increase for inpatient care and a 99 percent jump for emergency room treatment compared to figures from 2005. Their trajectory likely will keep climbing if the epidemic continues unabated.
Republicans in both the House and the Senate are considering big cuts to Medicaid. But those cuts endanger addiction treatment, which many people receive through the government health insurance program.
As marijuana has been increasingly liberalized and decriminalized, fewer people are finding themselves in court-mandated programs for marijuana addiction treatment. This is not particularly surprising: With fewer people landing in court for using marijuana, it follows that fewer would be sentenced to treatment for it.