- Opioid Overdoses Treated in Emergency Departments: CDC Vital Signs New Report
- White House Opioids Summit Highlights Plans to Fight Crisis
- Medicaid Expansion Dramatically Increased Coverage for People with Opioid-Use Disorders, Latest Data Show
- Opioid Crisis Spurs Medicaid Funds Push
- The States Taking the Opioid Epidemic Seriously (And Not), In One Map
- Opioids: House Panel Debates Mandatory Prescriber Training
- New Opioid Treatment Model Increases Efficiency
- Xanax, Valium Looking Like America’s Next Drug Crisis
- $1 Fentanyl Test Strip Could Be a Major Weapon against Opioid ODs
- Governors Ask Congress for More $$ for Opioid Epidemic
- Research Highlights Need to Test Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorder for Hepatitis C
- Lawmakers Seek Information on Curbing Opioid Addiction in Medicare
Links to Additional News of Interest
- FDA to Expand Medication-Assisted Therapy for Opioid Addicts
- The Hill: What Caused the Opioid Crisis?
- Gaps in providers’ ability to prescribe buprenorphine hinder opioid treatment efforts – Free registration required.
- Opioid Crisis Affects Children and Teens Too
- Salmonella Found In Kratom Samples As Multi-State Outbreak Expands
- Inside the Secret Lives of Functioning Heroin Addicts
- Opinions: The ‘moral hazard’ of naloxone in the opioid crisis
- Pharmacotherapy Improves Criminal Justice Outcomes in Opioid Dependence With Mental Illness
“Emergency department (ED) visits for opioid overdoses rose 30% in all parts of the US from July 2016 through September 2017. People who have had an overdose are more likely to have another, so being seen in the ED is an opportunity for action. Repeat overdoses may be prevented with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD), which is defined as a problematic pattern of opioid use. EDs can provide naloxone, link patients to treatment and referral services, and provide health departments with critical data on overdoses.
- 30% Opioid overdoses went up 30% from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.
- 70% The Midwestern region witnessed opioid overdoses increase 70% from July 2016 through September 2017.
- 54% Opioid overdoses in large cities increased by 54% in 16 states.
Read more and download the fact sheet at: https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/opioid-overdoses/
Source: Centers For Disease Control and Prevention – March 7, 2018
“Attendees at a White House Opioids Summit on Thursday — including President Donald J. Trump, cabinet members, and the surgeon general — detailed programs and voiced ideas to fight the opioid epidemic.
“It’s a problem that is growing,” Trump said. “People go into the hospital with a broken arm and they come out addicted, and they don’t even know what happened.”
His administration plans to roll out new policy over the next 3 weeks, and it will be “very, very strong,” Trump said.
He suggested the option of the death penalty for drug dealers, although that is not an item in any official policy.”
Read more at: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/893335
Source: Medscape.com – March 2, 2018
See related article: Fact Sheet: President Donald J. Trump is Combatting the Opioid Crisis available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-combatting-opioid-crisis/
See related article: HHS Secretary Alex Azar commits to approaching opioid epidemic as a ‘medical challenge’ rather than moral failing’ available at: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/hhs-secretary-alex-azar-commits-to-approaching-opioid-epidemic-as-a-medical-challenge-rather-than-moral-failing/article/2650451
Medicaid Expansion Dramatically Increased Coverage for People with Opioid-Use Disorders, Latest Data Show
“The latest data from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality highlight the importance of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion in increasing insurance coverage among people with opioid-use disorders (OUD). Our analysis of these data, which offer a comprehensive picture of opioid-related hospitalizations around the country, finds that the share of hospitalizations in which the patient was uninsured fell dramatically in states that expanded Medicaid: from 13.4 percent in 2013 (the year before expansion took effect) to just 2.9 percent two years later. This steep decline indicates that many uninsured people coping with OUDs have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion.”
Source: CBPP/org – February 28, 2018
“Doctors, governors and health-care advocates are pressing Congress to lift a decades-old rule that greatly restricts Medicaid from being used to fund care for opioid addiction.
Lifting the limits could help thousands of people — but could cost as much as tens of billions of dollars over a decade, a daunting sum to try to pay for.
Lawmakers are nonetheless talking about including at least a partial lifting of the limits in broader opioid legislation that could come to the House floor by Memorial Day.
While conservatives are not dismissing the idea, saying they recognize the need to fight the opioid epidemic, any discussion of ways to pay for the expensive change would be challenging.”
Source: TheHill.com – March 7, 2018
“There’s a simple way to understand how the opioid epidemic got so bad in America: In the US, it is much easier to get high than it is to get help for addiction.
How this applies at the state level, though, can differ — some states have made an effort to build serious infrastructure around opioid addiction treatment, while others have not. This map from the health research firm Avalere Health, shows how states are doing in providing a key frontline treatment for opioid addiction (certified buprenorphine providers), compared to the amount of opioid overdose deaths they have.”
Source: Vox.com – February 22, 2018
“Congress explored the possibility of mandatory prescriber education to help stem the opioid epidemic, during a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday afternoon.
The committee also discussed the potential impact of using telemedicine to help individuals with substance use disorders access treatment.
Physicians, pharmacists, and law enforcement officials shared their views of potential legislative actions intended to curb the opioid epidemic.
Andrew Kolodny, MD, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, and director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), urged Congress to legislate mandatory education for any clinician who intends to prescribe more than a 3-day supply of opioids.”
Source: MedPageToday.com – March 1, 2018
“Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The open-access treatment model, developed and implemented by a team of Yale researchers, has the potential to become a key component of treatment for people addicted to opioids.
Led by School of Medicine professor Lynn Madden, the research team recorded the behavior of patients with opioid abuse disorder at the APT Foundation, a substance abuse rehabilitation center in New Haven. Madden, also the CEO of APT, worked with five other professors from the School of Medicine. The study was conducted over 10 years; one year prior to the open-access model’s implementation and nine years after its initiation at the facility. The study was published online on Feb. 17 and will soon be printed in the journal Addiction.
The open-access model is defined in the paper as a framework “where prospective patients are enrolled rapidly in methadone maintenance treatment, irrespective of their ability to pay, and provided with real-time access to manifold group and individual treatment options from which they are free to choose.”
Source: YaleDailyNews.com – February 27, 2018
“America is well aware of its opioid epidemic, but there’s a hidden crisis brewing with prescription sedatives such as Xanax and Valium, a new review warns.
Known as benzodiazepines, overdose deaths involving these medications have increased exponentially over the past decade, in lockstep with a steady growth in prescriptions for the drugs, the review authors found.
Use of these drugs has become too casual in modern society, said review author Dr. Anna Lembke. She’s an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences with the Stanford University School of Medicine.
“These are highly addictive and potentially lethal drugs, and many people don’t know that,” Lembke said. “Sadly, most physicians are also unaware of this and blithely prescribe them without educating their patients about the risk of addiction.”
Source: MedicalXpress.com – February 22, 2018
See related article: Why These People Took Drug Combinations That Nearly Killed Them available at: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/59kwgz/lethal-drug-combinations-with-opioids-heroin
See related article: Benzodiazepines: Our Other Prescription Drug Epidemic available at: https://www.statnews.com/2018/02/22/benzodiazepines-drug-epidemic/
“No drug has fueled the current spike in overdose deaths more than fentanyl. The synthetic opioid claimed two thirds of the record 64,000 such fatalities in the U.S. in 2016.
Up to 100 times more potent than morphine, this compound has played a significant role in reducing Americans’ life expectancy for the second straight year. In three states—Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts—the drug was found responsible for at least 70 percent of opioid-related deaths, in what drug-harm reduction specialists have described as “slow-motion slaughter.”
Source: ScientificAmerican.com – March 8, 2018
“Governors pressed senators for more funding to help tackle the opioid epidemic, as well as flexibility for states in tailoring spending to suit their specific needs, during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Thursday.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) thanked Congress for the $6 billion secured in its budget agreement to fight the opioid and heroin crisis, but “it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what we actually need,” he said.
Maryland, a small state, has already spent $500 million to battle the opioid epidemic alone, he continued.
“Six billion stretched across the country is not going to go very far … It’s the long-term recovery support services that we’re going to need a way to pay for.”
Hogan also asked for more state flexibility in allocating potential new monies.”
Source: MedPageToday.com – March 8, 2018
“Routinely providing hepatitis C screening to pregnant women who are undergoing treatment for opioid use disorder can help steer them to effective treatments to eradicate the infection, University of New Mexico researchers have found.
In a new study published in the journal Maternal and Child Health (and highlighted in the director’s report of the National Institute on Drug Abuse), the researchers found that a high percentage of women with opioid addictions enrolled in UNM’s Milagro Program, which provides prenatal care for women with substance abuse disorders, tested positive for hepatitis C virus (HCV).
The virus is transmitted in blood, typically through intravenous drug use. It causes damage slowly and with few outward symptoms over a period of decades, but over the long term the infection can result in liver cancer.
Read more at: http://hscnews.unm.edu/news/cascade-of-care
Source: HSCNews.edu – February 26, 2018
“Top Republicans and Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are requesting information from critical stakeholders on how to prevent and treat opioid addiction in Medicare, as the panel seeks to craft bipartisan legislation to curb the opioid epidemic.
Specifically, they’re asking insurers, benefit managers, providers and prescribers to submit information on how the Medicare program can help stem the opioid epidemic — noting that one in three beneficiaries in Medicare’s prescription drug program received a prescription opioid in 2016.”
Source: TheHill.com – February 27, 2018
Gaps in providers’ ability to prescribe buprenorphine hinder opioid treatment efforts – Free registration required.