- The Memo: Winners and Losers from The Battle Over Health Care
- Executive Order Lays Out Blueprint for Trump Opioid Commission
- White House Proposes New, Sweeping Budget Cuts At NIH
- The Risk of a Single 5-Day Opioid Prescription, In One Chart
- This Prescription Drug (Benzodiazepines) Is Implicated in Almost a Third of All Opioid Overdose Deaths
- How the Opioid Epidemic Became America’s Worst Drug Crisis Ever, In 15 Maps and Charts
- Physicians’ Group: Treat Opioid Addiction as a Chronic Medical Condition
- States Consider Mandatory Treatment for Opioid Abusers
- Latest CDC Data Shows Heroin Use in Women Skyrockets 100 Percent
- This Lifesaving Opioid Addiction Treatment Drug Is Putting Kids at Risk
- New Resource from SAMHSA: Guidelines for Successful Transition of People with Mental or Substance Use Disorders from Jail and Prison: Implementation Guide
Links to Additional National News of Interest
- What are we doing about the opioid epidemic? – 3/27/17
- HIV and Hepatitis C Are No Longer the Most Serious Infectious Threats to People Who Inject Drugs – 3/25/17
- US Set to Allow Drug Testing for Unemployment Benefits – 3/23/17
- Statistics show jail time is accurate predictor of potential to suffer opioid overdose – 3/21/17
- Doctors Consider Ethics Of Costly Heart Surgery For People Addicted To Opioids – 3/21/17
- The Opioid Epidemic Is This Generation’s AIDS Crisis – 3/16/17
- New Study Links Opioid Epidemic to Childhood Emotional Abuse – 3/14/17
“A week of high drama in Washington reached a stunning climax on Friday: President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) decided to pull the Republican bill that had sought to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act rather than watch it go down to certain defeat.
There will be no second attempt anytime soon. Ryan said at a Capitol Hill news conference on Friday afternoon that the nation will “be living with ObamaCare for the foreseeable future.”
It’s an astonishing conclusion to one of the main fights that Republicans — including Trump — have sought for years.
As the dust settles, who are the biggest winners and losers?”
Source: TheHill.com – March 24, 2017
“The panel’s mission would be to identify federal funding streams that could be directed to address the crisis, for everything from medical treatments to long-term support services. The commission would also aim to identify areas in the United States with limited treatment options, review ways to prevent opioid addiction — including possible changes to prescribing practices — and consider changes to the criminal justice system to provide support for incarcerated individuals after their release from prison.
The Office for National Drug Control Policy would support the commission, according to the draft order, and the office’s director — commonly known as the nation’s “drug czar” — would represent the president. The White House has interviewed candidates for the ONDCP post, but not yet appointed a director.”
Source: StatNews.com – March 28, 2017
“The White House is proposing a $1.2 billion cut this year to the National Institutes of Health’s budget.
The proposed NIH cut is part of $18 billion in spending reductions that President Trump’s team is proposing to Congress for the current fiscal year, which ends in October, according to a summary obtained by STAT.
The mental health block grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would also be cut by $100 million under the White House proposal.”
Read more at: https://www.statnews.com/2017/03/28/budget-nih-cuts/
Source: StatNews.com – March 28, 2017
“Now that it’s clear opioid painkillers have helped cause the worst drug epidemic in history, health experts are scrambling to figure out when dependency on these powerful prescription drugs starts — and how to prevent it.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the relationship between the number of days of someone’s first opioid prescription and their long-term use. It found that that number has a huge impact: Patients face an increased risk of opioid dependency in as few as four days of taking the drugs.
As the chart below shows, opioid prescriptions longer than five days in length significantly increased the likelihood of continued opioid use both one and three years later.”
The CDC report can be accessed at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6610a1.htm?s_cid=mm6610a1_e
Source: Vox.com – March 18, 2017
This Prescription Drug (Benzodiazepines) Is Implicated in Almost a Third of All Opioid Overdose Deaths
“Opioid overdose deaths are at a record high in the U.S., and deaths from prescription painkillers, including oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone, are implicated in almost half of all cases. Less well known is the fact that benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium, prescription tranquilizers used to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizures, are involved in about 30 percent of those prescription opioid deaths, perhaps due to deadly interactions.
Even though it’s well known that opioids and benzodiazepines can have potentially dangerous interactions when taken together, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against taking both at the same time, a new analysis by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine shows that doctors are prescribing them together at increasing rates. In 2001, 9 percent of opioid users also filled prescriptions for benzodiazepines, and that increased to 17 percent in 2013.
If doctors can stop prescribing both drugs at the same time, the U.S. will see at least a 15 percent reduction of overdoses that result in hospitalization, according to the Stanford study, and this applies to people who use opioids long term or occasionally.”
Source: HuffingtonPost.com – March 15
“With all the other news going on, it can be easy to lose track of this fact. But it’s true: In 2015, more than 52,000 people died of drug overdoses, nearly two-thirds of which were linked to opioids like Percocet, OxyContin, heroin, and fentanyl. That’s more drug overdose deaths than any other period in US history — even more than past heroin epidemics, the crack epidemic, or the recent meth epidemic. And the preliminary data we have from 2016 suggests that the epidemic may have gotten worse since 2015.
This situation did not develop overnight, but it has quickly become one of the biggest public health crises facing America. To understand how and why, I’ve put together a series of maps and charts that show the key elements of the epidemic — from its start through legal painkillers prescribed in droves by doctors to the recent rise of the highly potent opioid fentanyl.”
Source: Vox.com – March 23, 2017
“One of the nation’s most prominent medical organizations is calling for a serious rethinking of the way doctors and public health officials confront the opioid epidemic that’s plaguing the country.
In a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the American College of Physicians (ACP) calls substance use disorders involving prescription and illegal drugs a “serious public health issue” and says they should be considered “treatable chronic medical conditions.”
“Drug overdose deaths, particularly from opioids such as prescription pain relievers and heroin, is a rising epidemic,” Dr. Nitin S. Damle, president of ACP, said in a statement. “Substance use disorders are treatable chronic medical conditions, like diabetes and hypertension, that should be addressed through expansion of evidence-based public and individual health initiatives to prevent, treat, and promote recovery.”
Source: CBSNews,com – March 27, 2017
“Lawmakers in several states are advancing proposals to force individuals who abuse opioids into treatment via involuntary commitment statutes as a means of coping with the rapid rise in overdose rates. Some experts say that the proposals, while commendable, so far are not perfect.
Bills have been offered in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and the state of Washington. The simplest proposal — Senate Bill 220-FN, in New Hampshire — would modify state involuntary commitment laws to change the definition of mental illness to include “ingestion of opioid substances.”
Andrew J. Saxon, MD, professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, in Seattle, told Medscape Medical News that adding substance use disorder to the mental illness statute is “a positive step in most ways,” because experts in the field already view such disorders as a mental illness.”
Read more at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/877839
Source: Medscape.com – March 28, 2017
“The CDC says between 2011 to 2013, heroin use among women jumped 100 percent compared to 2002 to 2004.
Use among non-Hispanic whites jumped 114 percent, and those who make $20,000 to $49,999 a year jumped 73 percent.
“I think this particular group gets overlooked because they look like they don’t fit the part,” said Dr. Stephen Loyd, Medical Director for the Division of Substance Abuse Service for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “Doctors are less likely to question a young, put-together woman who’s asking for a prescription.”
Dr. Loyd said doctors aren’t as vigilant with people who don’t “fit the part”.
He also says that demographic is less likely to seek help.”
Source: WJHL.com – March 17, 2017
“Although buprenorphine, the main ingredient in opioid replacement medications such as Suboxone and Subutex, has helped countless addicts wean themselves off more deadly opioids, a new study has found that the medication is increasingly finding itself in the hands of children — with dangerous results.
In a new study set to publish online in the journal Pediatrics, researchers analyzed more than 188,000 calls to poison control centers made between 2005 and 2015 that dealt with child exposure to opioid substances in kids under the age of 20. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first few years of the study saw an increase of 86 percent of opioid exposures to children. After 2009, researchers recorded a decline of almost 32 percent, barring one exception: buprenorphine. Instead, buprenorphine exposures increased from 2014 to 2015 after declining from 2011 to 2013. Additionally, children aged zero to five years accounted for almost 90 percent of buprenorphine exposures during the study.”
Source: Vocaltiv.com – March 20, 2017
New Resource from SAMHSA: Guidelines for Successful Transition of People with Mental or Substance Use Disorders from Jail and Prison: Implementation Guide
This document provides behavioral health, correctional, and community stakeholders with examples of the implementation of successful strategies for transitioning people with mental or substance use disorders from institutional correctional settings into the community.
The Guidelines are available for download at: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Guidelines-for-Successful-Transition-of-People-with-Mental-or-Substance-Use-Disorders-from-Jail-and-Prison-Implementation-Guide/SMA16-4998
On April 20, 2017, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, SAMHSA will host a webinar on the key elements of the guide. The webinar will also provide examples of successful implementation of the guidelines in local jails. You can register for the webinar at: https://praincevents.webex.com/mw3100/mywebex/default.do?nomenu=true&
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – January 2017