News & Updates – May 29, 2014; Issue 201

The Hidden Dangers of Benzodiazepines (Infographic)

benzos 5-28-14“In the last year there have been several studies/stories about the risks associated with benzodiazepine abuse.  And while benzodiazepines have been prescribed for decades to treat anxiety and seizure disorders, the possible threat of overusing them is real and with that comes dependency, overdose and the potentiality of death.  Did you know that since 2010, there have been 6,507 US drug overdose deaths that involved benzodiazepines?  Because of this rising number, Foundations Recovery Networkcreated an infographic to help familiarize those about benzodiazepines but most importantly help create awareness regarding the possible addiction with benzodiazepines.”

Broken down in sections, the infographic (http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/benzodiazepine-addiction/) goes into detail about:

  • What are benzodiazepines: their brand names and the amount of prescriptions filled in the US in 2011, the number of related ER visits in 2010 and the confiscations by law enforcement for each associated drug.
  • Why prescribe benzodiazepines, specifically the disorders that are treated
  • Common side effects and contraindications with benzodiazepine use
  • Key statistics related to the dangers of abuse
  • Symptoms of overdose

Source: Foundations Recovery Network– May 2014

 

Sharp Rise in ER Visits Tied to Abuse of Sedative, Study Finds

“There’s been a steep increase in the number of Americans being treated at emergency departments for abuse of the sedative alprazolam, best known as Xanax, federal officials reported Thursday.

The number of emergency department visits related to abuse of alprazolam (brand names Xanax, Xanax XR, and Niravam) climbed from more than 57,000 in 2005 to nearly 124,000 in 2011, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

In the United States, alprazolam was the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medication in 2011 and the 13th highest-selling medication in 2012, the report said.”

http://consumer.healthday.com/mental-health-information-25/addiction-news-6/jump-in-er-visits-tied-to-xanax-abuse-study-finds-688047.html

Source: HealthDay.com -May 22, 2014

Methadone Programs Can be Key in Educating, Treating Hepatitis C Patients

liver“People who inject drugs and are enrolled in a drug treatment program are receptive to education about, and treatment for, hepatitis C virus, according to a study by researchers at several institutions, including the University at Buffalo.

That finding, published online this week in the Journal of Addiction Medicine will be welcome news to health care providers. “One of the most important findings of this work is that people who inject drugs do want to be educated about the disease and that education is associated with willingness to be treated,” says senior author Andrew H. Talal, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at UB and adjunct associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. research assistant professor of medicine at UB.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140516203359.htm

Source: ScienceDaily.com -May 16, 2014

Blog By Jana Burson: The COWS Score: How Helpful Is It?

“COWS stands for Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale, and it’s probably the most commonly used tool to determine the degree of opioid withdrawal experienced by the patient. The scale has eleven items related to opioid withdrawal. Some are subjective, like the question about the degree of anxiety or irritability the patient is feeling. Some items are strictly objective, such as pupil size and pulse rate. And some are sort of a combination of objective and subjective, like the question asking about both nausea and vomiting. The patient may report nausea and score points on the scale, and if the patient vomits, this scores more points.

I think it’s a good tool, but has some drawbacks. I use it during dose induction, particularly on a patient new to medication-assisted treatment. Sometimes patients aren’t sure how they’re “supposed” to feel on replacement medication, and a COWS score gives me a better idea of how much withdrawal they are in.”

The blog can be accessed at: http://janaburson.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/the-cows-score-how-helpful-is-it/

Source: JanaBurson.com – May 25, 2014

See Who’s Being Hurt by America’s Growing Prescription Drug Addiction

pills 12-20-12America’s burgeoning prescription drug addiction affects wide segments of society, including women, veterans, teens, healthcare providers and the middle and upper-middle class. This article provides some interesting statistics on these segments of society.

http://cironline.org/blog/post/see-who%E2%80%99s-being-hurt-americas-growing-prescription-drug-addiction-6359

Source: The Center for Investigative Reporting – May 13, 2014

Seniors and Prescription Drugs: As Misuse Rises, So Do the Toll

seniors“To assess the scope and impact of the prescription drug problem among older Americans, USA TODAY studied data from an array of federal agencies and private firms. Key findings:

  •  More prescriptions: The medical community is increasingly giving older patients prescriptions for two especially addictive drug classes: opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines, psychoactive medications such as Xanax and Valium often used for anxiety. According to data collected from IMS Health, which tracks drug dispensing for the government, the 55 million opioid prescriptions written last year for people 65 and over marked a 20% increase over five years — nearly double the growth rate of the senior population. The number of benzodiazepine prescriptions climbed 12% over that period, to 28.4 million.
  • More misuse: In 2012, the average number of seniors misusing or dependent on prescription pain relievers in the past year grew to an estimated 336,000, up from 132,000 a decade earlier, according to survey data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Misuse is defined as using the drugs without a prescription or not as prescribed.
  •  More damage: Among people 55 and older seeking substance abuse treatment from 2007-11, there was a 46% jump in the share of cases involving prescription narcotics, SAMHSA data show. Annual emergency room visits by people 65 and over for misuse of pharmaceuticals climbed more than 50% during that time, to more than 94,000 a year. And the rate of overdose deaths among people 55 and older, regardless of drug type, nearly tripled from 1999-2010, to 9.4 fatalities per 100,000 people, based on data from by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/20/seniors-addiction-prescription-drugs-painkillers/9277489/

Source: USAToday.com – May 25, 2014

Pioneer Voices Blog by William White

“When I launched my website in 2010, it seemed a perfect venue to create an archive where interviews could be made available worldwide at the click of a mouse.  Since then, I have more than 100 interviews with addiction treatment and recovery advocacy pioneers.  I would like to call your attention to several of these recently posted interviews.”

  • Dr. Stephanie Covington explores the evolution of her pioneering work in the development of gender-specific treatment and recovery support services in the United States.
  • Karen Moyer and Brian Maus discuss the needs of children affected by addiction and the unique program they have developed to enhance the health and development of such children.
  • A.J. Senerchia is one of the leaders of a new organization, Young People in Recovery (YPR).  Young people are playing an increasingly important role in the new recovery advocacy movement, and the interview with A.J. provides background on YPR and the role of young people in this larger movement.  Very inspiring.
  • Dr. Joan Zweben has made significant contributions to the clinical treatment of addiction.   She was an early voice calling for recovery-oriented psychotherapy within addiction treatment, and she has been one of the pioneers in elevating the quality and recovery orientation of medication-assisted treatment in the U.S.  In this engaging interview, she describes her life and work.

“At the near-end of my career, I have had the pleasure of learning insights gleaned from the lives of these and other pioneers in the addictions field.  What I would have given to have had such access when I began this work in the 1960s.  For those at all stages of your careers, here is such an opportunity.” The 100+ interviews are posted at: http://www.williamwhitepapers.com/leadership_interviews/

Source: WilliamWhitePapers.com – May 24, 2014

Painkiller Overdose Deaths Have Tripled: Government Report

“Overdose deaths from prescription narcotics tripled from 2009-2010, compared with a decade earlier, according to a new government report. Almost half of Americans are taking one or more prescription medications, the report found. An estimated 10.5 percent are prescribed painkillers.

The report found a large jump in the percentage of Americans taking prescription medication, according to HealthDay. From 2007 to 2010, about 48 percent of people said they were taking a prescription drug, up from 39 percent from 1988 to 1994.

About 90 percent of adults ages 64 and older took prescription medication in the past month, while 25 percent of children did so. About 10 percent of Americans said they had taken five or more prescription drugs in the previous month.”

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/prescription-drugs/painkiller-overdose-deaths-have-tripled-government-report

Source: JoinTogether.org – May 15, 2014

Now Available From SAMHSA – Prescription Drug Abuse Fact Sheets

ROUND PILLSWould you like to add your organization’s name to any of a growing list of 20 SAMHSA prescription drug abuse fact sheets?

SAMHSA’s Preventing Prescription Abuse Workplace (PAW) Technical Assistance Center is pleased to offer reproducible PDFs of its 30 fact sheets with customized names added at no charge. The fact sheets are not copyrighted, and you are free to download them from the link, reproduce or print them in bulk, or reuse our text in your materials.

Two of the fact sheets introduced in May include: Prescription Drug Misuse Among Older Adults and Understanding The Problem and Youth and Prescription Drug Abuse.

The fact sheets can be accessed at: http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/icrc/Pages/SAMHSA-Prevention-of-Prescription-Drug-Abuse-in-th/SAMHSA-Fact-Sheets

Source: The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration- May 2014

Other National News of Interest

State News of Interest

New York – New York Senator Requests $100 Million in Federal Funding to Curb Heroin Trade – 5/27/14
http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/new-york-senator-requests-100-million-in-federal-funding-to-curb-heroin-trade

Site last updated July 17, 2014 @ 5:55 pm