We need to do more

Three in five people who die of drug overdoses had been treated in hospital emergency rooms for previous overdoses, a study in Maryland found. That ought to be impetus enough for Congress to approve a bill introduced by U.S. Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Mike Doyle, D-Pa.

The two have introduced a measure intended to promote medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction to people taken to emergency rooms for overdoses. It is supported by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Often when overdose victims are treated in hospital emergency rooms, health care professionals set up programs for them to beat the addictions that nearly killed them. But, as ACEP President Dr. Paul Kivela noted, “many won’t follow through, for a number of reasons.”

Administering medications proven to help addicts while they are in emergency rooms could benefit many — saving a substantial number of lives.

Opioid-related overdoses are up by 30 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Clearly, we need to do more to battle the problem. The McKinley-Doyle bill would be a good start.