Addiction Treatment Forum reports on substance abuse news of interest to opioid treatment programs and patients in methadone maintenance treatment.

newsAT Forum NEWS NOTES & UPDATES #148

December 2010 / January 2011

Compiled & Edited by Sue Emerson - Publisher

Prior Edition: November 2010

List of all News/Updates

 

Contents

 

MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT (MAT) AND OPIOID ADDICTION

MOTHER Study Published, Showing Buprenorphine Another Option For Pregnant Women

Controlled-Drug Prescriptions for Teens and Young Adults Double

Updated NIH Drug Abuse and Addiction Fact Sheets

Educational Videos to Replace TV in PA County Jails


GOVERNMENT

New SAMHSA Study Shows Dramatic Shifts in Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Among the States Between 1998 And 2008

2010 Monitoring the Future Study Released

Highlights of the 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Findings on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits

U.S. to Crack Down on Web Drug Stores


HIV/AIDS

11 Million More Adults Tested for HIV for the First Time in 2006-2009

New N-SSATS Report: HIV Services Offered by Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities


NEW RESOURCES

Resource Available to Assist Addiction Services Providers to Begin Healthcare Reform Transformation

The Road to Recovery 2010: A Showcase of Events (DVD)


SUGGESTED VIEWING/READING

DSM-V, Healthcare Reform Will Fuel Major Changes in Addiction Psychiatry — 12/6/10

Does Suffering From Withdrawal Really Mean You're Addicted? — 12/6/10

Drug Overdoses on the Rise in Most Age Groups — 12/24/10

Portugal's Drug Policy Pays Off; US Eyes Lessons — 12/26/10

The Killers in Your Medicine Cabinet — From Reader's Digest





METHADONE AND MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT (MAT) AND OPIOID ADDICTION

New Family

MOTHER Study Published, Showing Buprenorphine Another Option For Pregnant Women

The long-awaited MOTHER Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Research study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on December 9.

To view the abstract or to purchase the article go to: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1005359?query=TOC

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Pills

Controlled-Drug Prescriptions for Teens and Young Adults Double

Twice as many young people are getting prescriptions for controlled substances than had been 15 years ago, Reuters reported Nov. 29.

Investigators led by Robert J. Fortuna, MD, of the University of Rochester's Strong Children's Research Center in New York, assessed U.S. prescription trends for 15- to 29-year-olds based on 2007 survey data from more than 8,000 physicians, clinics, and emergency departments. They then compared results with similar data from 1994.

Analysis revealed that more than 11 percent of teenagers received prescriptions for controlled medications (including Oxycontin, Vicodin, Ritalin, and sedatives) in 2007, up from 6 percent in 1994. A similar trend was seen for young adults, where the prescription rate for such drugs rose from 8 to 16 percent over the same time period.

As noted by Fortuna, the rise does not necessarily mean the drugs are being diverted or abused. However, teenagers and college students are much more likely than adults to use prescription drugs recreationally and to pass them on to others.

"The nonmedical use of prescription drugs by adolescents and young adults has surpassed all illicit drugs except marijuana," concluded the authors. "This trend and its relationship to misuse of medications warrants further study."

The article was published online Nov. 29 in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: JoinTogether.org - December 7, 2010

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Updated NIH Drug Abuse and Addiction Fact Sheets

In October, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) updated several of their Fact Sheets related to drug addiction. The Fact Sheets provide a review of research discovery, current treatment status, and future expectations for the prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the nation's health. Three of interest to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and their patients include:

Heroin

Future expectations for heroin include a broader acceptance that heroin addiction is a chronic brain disease that will help erase stigma, permit a more accurate assessment of disease prevalence, identify those with increased vulnerability, and improve the rate of treatment seeking. By moving forward with this multi-pronged approach, we will close the heroin treatment gap: currently, only about 20 percent of the estimated 810,000 heroin addicts seek or receive any form of treatment for their addiction.

Drug Abuse and Addiction

Future expectations for drug abuse and addiction recognize that the scientific knowledge we have accumulated will be used to transform the way we treat addiction and how we prevent drug abuse in the first place, or its escalation to addiction.

Addiction and the Criminal Justice System

Getting proven treatments into the criminal justice system will promote abstinence, help identify and mitigate related diseases like HIV, and foster productive reintegration back into the community.

The Fact Sheets can be accessed at: http://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/

Source: National Institutes of Health -Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Research Timelines

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Educational Videos to Replace TV in PA County Jails

Prison

Under a new program started by Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, television for the inmates will be replaced with videos dealing with drug and alcohol education and recovery, along with anger management, tips on finding a job and making life choices.

There will be a major emphasis on fighting heroin, opiate and prescription drug addiction, which are major contributors to the drug problems in Fairfield County, said Phalen.

Phalen said he hopes by piping in the programming, particularly a series of drug and alcohol recovery and treatment videos, the inmates will get valuable information on how to get treatment and turn their lives around.

Source: LancasterEagleGazette.com — December 11, 2010

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GOVERNMENT

New SAMHSA Study Shows Dramatic Shifts in Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Among the States Between 1998 And 2008

Flag America

Although the overall rate of admissions to substance abuse treatment in the U.S. remained stable between 1998 and 2008, a new study shows striking changes and variations in admission rates by region.

As indicated in an earlier SAMHSA report, Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Involving Abuse of Pain Relievers: 1998 and 2008, the treatment admission rate for opiates other than heroin (mainly narcotic pain relievers) rose 345 percent nationwide during these 11 years. The new study shows that increased admissions for pain reliever abuse occurred in every region of the nation and were highest in the New England (Conn., Mass., Maine, N.H., R.I. and Vt.) and the East South Central states (Ala., Ky., Miss. and Tenn.).

The new study provided mixed news concerning heroin -- nationwide the rate of heroin admissions dropped by 3 percent from 1998 to 2008, but this drop was not uniform and in many states the levels have actually risen. Heroin treatment admission rates were consistently highest in the New England and Middle Atlantic states.

"Drug addiction is a disease that requires the same kind of evidence-based, public health remedies called for with any chronic disease," said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "This substantial rise in drug treatment admissions for illicit drugs, particularly for marijuana and misuse of prescription drugs, shines a necessary spotlight on these problems and the need for early intervention, treatment, and recovery support services for those affected by these disorders. That is why the Obama Administration has requested an increase of $137 million for FY 2011 to expand access for drug treatment programs across the United States."

The full report is available at: http://wwwdasis.samhsa.gov/teds08/teds2k8sweb.pdf

Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — December 22, 2010

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2010 Monitoring the Future Study Released

Youth, Future

Results from the 2010 Monitoring the Future study were released on December 14. The study is conducted by a team of social scientists at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, and is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2010, more than 46,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, enrolled in nearly 400 secondary public and private schools, participated in the study.

The proportion of young people using any illicit drug has been rising over the past three years, due largely to increased use of marijuana—the most widely used of all the illicit drugs.

Taking heroin using a needle did show a small but statistically significant increase in 2010, but only among 12th graders and without any concurrent changes in perceived risk, disapproval, or availability. "Because the prevalence rates for heroin use are so low in this population, it doesn't take a lot of cases to yield a significant change," said Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the study, "so we are not yet ready to say that this is a real change. If it is real, it would be important; but we will want to see another year's data before being confident that it is."

The use of a class of drugs consisting of narcotics other than heroin nearly tripled from 1992 through 2004, from an annual prevalence of 3.3% in 1992 among 12th graders (the only ones for whom these drugs are reported) to 9.5% in 2004. Use then remained level through 2009, showing a non-significant drop of 0.5 percentage points in 2010. Most of the drugs in this important class of addictive substances are analgesics (taken for pain), and two of the most important are Vicodin and OxyContin.

Where students acquire these prescription drugs is a matter of some interest. By asking those who used each drug in the past year where they got them, the investigators learned that the most common source was a friend giving the drug to the respondent, followed by a friend selling the drug to the respondent. In some cases the drugs were left over from a prescription the respondent previously had, and in some cases the drugs were taken from a relative without their permission; but these were less common sources. Only a modest proportion of the users (between 20% and 30%, depending on the drug) said they had bought them from a drug dealer or stranger. Almost none said that they had bought them on the Internet.

The press release can be accessed at: http://ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=8174

Data from the study can be accessed at: http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/10data.html#2010data-drugs

Source: Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (December 14, 2010). "Marijuana use is rising; ecstasy use is beginning to rise; and alcohol use is declining among U.S. teens." University of Michigan News Service: Ann Arbor, MI. Retrieved 12/14/10 from http://www.monitoringthefuture.org

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Highlights of the 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Findings on Drug Related Emergency Department (ED) Visits

In 2009, there were nearly 4.6 million drug-related ED visits of which about one half (49.8 percent, or 2.3 million) were attributed to adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals and almost one half (45.1 percent, or 2.1 million) were attributed to drug misuse or abuse (Table 1).

Of the 2.1 million ED visits involving drug misuse or abuse, 1.2 million visits involved the misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals, and almost 1.0 million were related to illicit drugs.

Table 1. Drug-Related Emergency Department (ED) Visits, by Type of Visit: 2009
Type of Drug-Related ED Visit Number of ED Visits* Percent*
Total Drug-Related ED Visits 4,595,263 100.0%
Drug Misuse or Abuse 2,070,439 45.1%
Misuse or Abuse of Pharmaceuticals 1,244,679 27.1%
Illicit Drug Use 973,591 21.2%
Alcohol Involvement** 658,263 14.3%
Alcohol Involvement with Drug Use 519,650 11.3%
Underage Drinking 199,429 4.3%
Adverse Reactions 2,287,273 49.8%

* Because each visit may represent multiple types of visits and multiple types of drugs, the estimates add to more than the total number of visits and the percentages add to more than 100.

** Alcohol involvement includes use of alcohol in combination with other drugs for patients of all ages and use of alcohol only for persons aged 20 or younger. Underage drinking includes both use of alcohol in combination with other drugs and use of alcohol only for persons aged 20 or younger.

ED visits resulting from the misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals occurred at a rate of 405.4 visits per 100,000 population compared with a rate of 317.1 per 100,000 population for illicit drugs (Table 2). About one half of ED visits for misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals involved pain relievers (194.0 visits per 100,000 population), which were most commonly narcotic pain relievers (e.g., oxycodone and hydrocodone products; 129.4 visits per 100,000 population).

Table 2. Misused or Abused Drugs Most Commonly Involved in Emergency Department (ED) Visits: 2009
Drugs Number of ED Visits Number of ED Visits per 100,000 Population
Illicit Drugs 973,591 317.1
    Cocaine 422,896 137.7
    Marijuana 376,467 122.6
Heroin 213,118 69.4
Pharmaceuticals 1,244,679 405.4
     Pain Relievers 595,551 194.0
         Narcotic Pain Relievers 397,160 129.4
             Oxycodone Products 175,949 57.3
             Hydrocodone Products 104,490 34.0
     Drugs to Treat Insomnia and Anxiety 433,600 141.2
         Benzodiazepines 373,328 121.6
    Antidepressants 104,940 34.2

* Use of alcohol in combination with other drugs is recorded by DAWN for patients of all ages.

** Underage drinking includes both use of alcohol in combination with other drugs and use of alcohol only for persons aged 20 or younger.

The findings in this report demonstrate the increasing importance of pharmaceuticals to total drug-related ED visits. Pharmaceuticals, even those that are sometimes abused, can have very positive effects when used as prescribed or directed. However, when misused or abused, they can lead to serious negative side effects. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of ED visits involving the misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals increased substantially. About twice as many people experienced ED visits caused by the misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals in 2009 than in 2004, and this pattern was consistent across age groups.

The 8-page report can be accessed at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/DAWN034/EDHighlightsHTML.pdf

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (December 28, 2010). The DAWN Report: Highlights of the 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Findings on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. Rockville, MD.

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U.S. to Crack Down on Web Drug Stores

The United States government is cracking down on the sale of drugs over the internet without prescriptions, the BBC reported Dec. 17.

Researchers estimate that about one in every six Americans, or 36 million people, have used unlicensed online pharmacies to buy drugs. The initiative—said to be part of an Obama administration plan to address counterfeit medicines—aims to shut down illegal online pharmacies and raise awareness that their products are not safe.

"Those who sell prescription drugs online without a valid prescription are operating illegally, undercutting the laws that were put in place to protect patients, and are thereby endangering the public health," said Victoria Espinel, an intellectual property enforcement coordinator.

Partners in the initiative include Google; online-payment processors like Visa and PayPal; and online hosting companies like Network Solutions. The companies will target illegal web pharmacies by shutting down web sites, blocking ads and payments. They will also work with law enforcement and underwrite public awareness campaigns to educate the public about the risks of buying prescription drugs online.

Two organizations — The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies — will research why so many Americans have used online drug stores, what they purchase, and why some perceptions of the risk involved vary so widely.

Source: JoinTogether.org — January 3, 2011

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HIV/AIDS

11 Million More Adults Tested for HIV for the First Time in 2006-2009

Lab Testing

The number of adults tested for HIV reached a record high in 2009, according to an analysis of national survey data released today in a CDC Vital Signs report. Last year 82.9 million adults between 18 and 64 reported having been tested for HIV. This number represents an increase of 11.4 million people since 2006, when CDC recommended that HIV testing become a routine part of medical care for adults and adolescents, and that people at high risk of infection be tested at least once a year. Despite this progress, 55 percent of adults—and 28.3 percent of adults with a risk factor for HIV—have not been tested.

"Today's news shows that we have had progress increasing testing, and that more progress is both necessary and possible," said Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., CDC director. "With most adults and with nearly a third of high-risk people having never been tested for HIV, we need to do more to ensure that all Americans have access to voluntary, routine and early HIV testing in order to save lives and reduce the spread of this terrible disease."

CDC estimates that 1.1 million adults are living with HIV and that as many as one in five of these individuals (approximately 200,000 Americans) does not know that they are infected. Reducing the number of undiagnosed infections is a critical component of HIV prevention, as most sexually transmitted HIV infections in the United States are transmitted by people who are unaware of their infection. Research shows that once people learn they are infected, most take steps to protect their partners. Furthermore, people who are diagnosed earlier have longer life expectancies because they can benefit from HIV care and treatment.

The Vital Signs report also highlights surveillance data showing that many people with HIV are diagnosed too late in their infection to take full advantage of effective treatment options and protect their partners from infection. In the 37 states with long-standing, confidential, name-based HIV reporting systems, 32 percent of people diagnosed with HIV in 2007 progressed to AIDS within 12 months, indicating a late diagnosis and missed opportunities for treatment.

This summer, the White House announced the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which includes the goal of increasing the proportion of HIV-infected individuals who are aware of their HIV status to 90 percent. Consistent with this goal, in 2010 CDC provided $60 million to support HIV testing efforts in 30 of America's jurisdictions most heavily impacted by HIV. The funding allows CDC and its partners to expand a successful three-year initiative to increase access to HIV testing among African-Americans, Latinos, men who have sex with men, and injection drug users.

The press release can be accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r101130.html

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — November 30, 2010

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New N-SSATS Report: HIV Services Offered by Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 19 percent of the more than 1 million people who currently live with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States are injection drug users. Injection drug users also represent approximately 12 percent of the estimated 56,300 new HIV cases each year in the United States. The behaviors associated with injection drug use, such as sharing needles and other drug equipment, place injection drug users at risk for spreading or contracting HIV. Therefore, substance abuse treatment facilities that include HIV prevention/education as part of their treatment programs and perform HIV screenings and HIV risk assessments can play a vital role in the control, prevention, and treatment of HIV.

Facilities that operated OTPs were more likely than other treatment facilities to provide special programs or groups for persons with HIV/AIDS and more likely to provide early intervention for HIV or HIV/AIDS education, counseling, or support.

Despite advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS since the 1980s, when HIV and AIDS first emerged in the United States, nearly 20,000 people with AIDS die each year. There is still no cure for HIV; however, advances in HIV treatment regimens extend the lives of the people infected with the virus once they are diagnosed.

The 6-page PDF report can be accessed at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/317/317HIV2k10Web.pdf

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (December 1, 2010). The N-SSATS Report: HIV Services Offered by Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities. Rockville, MD.

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NEW RESOURCES

Resource Available to Assist Addiction Services Providers to Begin Healthcare Reform Transformation

A new resource is available from the State Associations for Addiction Services (SAAS) for providers preparing for systems transformation efforts as a result healthcare reform.

Implementing Healthcare Reform: First Steps to Transforming Your Organization, A Practical Guide for Leaders outlines, in an easy-to-follow format, several steps agencies can take to initiate systems transformation to take advantage of the many opportunities available under healthcare reform.

The 42-page guide can be accessed for no charge at: http://www.saasnet.org/drupal-6.6/

Source: State Associations for Addiction Services — November 29, 2010

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The Road to Recovery 2010: A Showcase of Events (DVD)

DVD

The Road to Recovery 2010, features footage, photos, and interviews of participants from 2010 National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month events held around the country.

Available free-of-charge from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration on DVD or for download at: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA10-4505

Source: Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration — November 2010

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SUGGESTED READING

DSM-V, Healthcare Reform Will Fuel Major Changes in Addiction Psychiatry — 12/6/10

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/733649?src=mpnews&spon=12

Does Suffering From Withdrawal Really Mean You're Addicted? — 12/6/10

http://healthland.time.com/2010/12/06/does-suffering-withdrawal-really-mean-youre-addicted/

Drug overdoses on the rise in most age groups — 12/24/10

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40803651/ns/health/

Portugal's drug policy pays off; US eyes lessons - 12/26/10

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/12/26/portugals-drug-policy-pays-eyes-lessons/

The Killers in Your Medicine Cabinet

http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/the-killers-in-your-medicine-cabinet/article187736.html




Notice:

All facts and opinions are those of the sources cited. News reports may have been edited for length and/or modified for clarity without altering essential data as originally published.

Addiction Treatment Forum and its associates do not endorse any medications, products, or treatments described, mentioned, or discussed in any of the sources referenced. Nor are any representations made concerning efficacy, appropriateness, or suitability of any such products or treatments. This News Update is made possible by an educational grant from Covidien Mallinckrodt, St. Louis, MO, a manufacturer of methadone and naltrexone.

In view of the possibility of human error or advances in medical knowledge, Addiction Treatment Forum and its associates do not warrant the information contained in the above news updates is in every respect accurate or complete, and they are not responsible nor liable for any errors or omissions that may be found in such information or for results obtained from use of such information.