In the second quarter of 2017, one in every six ER visits was opioid related, according to data by the AI health outcomes and data company OM1.

To generate this estimate, OM1 created a prototype that uses big data analytics to track the opioid crisis' impact. The tracker leverages OM1's data cloud, which contains continually updated sets of information on the U.S. healthcare system.

OMI also found:

•  While the rate of opioid related ER visits increased across all ages during this time, the opioid epidemic is disproportionately impacting younger individuals. The fastest growing age segment is the 0-19 year age group, where rates increased from 10% in 2013 to 19% in Q1 of 2017.

•  The opioid epidemic is not an urban disease. While rates increased in all states, Montana is among a few states with the biggest changes in the proportion of opioid-related ER Visits since 2013.

"The opioid epidemic has reached alarming levels in the US, affecting the lives of millions of individuals and families," said Vandana Menon, vice president of research at OM1. "Big data analytics provide an enormous opportunity to be able to track and evaluate the crisis in near real time With this prototype, we are hoping to contribute invaluable data that allows researchers and the healthcare community to gain a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the magnitude, trends and clusters that are being most affected."