News & Updates – November 23, 2014; Issue 209





Categories: 2014-11-23, News Updates, TOC

Happy Birthday, Methadone!

50“Maintenance therapy proved its value half a century ago. We need it today to combat a rise in opioid use. But many courts and prisons cling to a Reagan-era “Just say no” mind-set.”

Read more at:

Source: – November/December 2014

Categories: 2014-11-23, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Methadone, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction, Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs)
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, Methadone Treatment, Prescription Opioids, Substance abuse treatment

Number of Pregnant Women on Narcotic Painkillers, Heroin Doubles, Study Finds

pregnant-woman-jpeg“The proportion of women dependent on drugs such as narcotic painkillers or heroin during pregnancy has more than doubled in the past decade and a half, a new study finds, though it still remains below a half-percent of all pregnancies.

Dependence on these drugs during pregnancy is linked to several increased risks during delivery, even when compared to women abusing or dependent on non-opiate drugs, explained study senior author Dr. Lisa Leffert, chief of the Obstetric Anesthesia Division at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The researchers analyzed national hospitalization data on nearly 57 million deliveries between 1998 and 2011. They looked specifically at pregnancy outcome risks linked to dependence on opioids. They accounted for differences in age, race, payer type (insurance), having multiple births, mothers’ preexisting conditions and a past history of cesarean section.

Preexisting conditions included depression, which was five times higher among those with an opioid dependence, as well as alcohol dependence and non-opioid drug dependence, both of which were more than 20 times higher in women dependent on opioids.”

Read more at:

Source: – November 18, 2014

Categories: 2014-11-23, News Updates, News Updates, Prescription Drugs
Tags: Pregnancy, Prescription Opioids

Jana Burson Blog: Office-based Treatment of Opioid Addiction

blog1“When DATA 2000 was passed, the office-based treatment it created was envisioned as another option for opioid-addicted people. There was, and still is, a large gap between the numbers of people in the U.S. who need medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, and the number of treatment slots available at traditional opioid treatment programs. DATA 2000, it was hoped, would create treatment slots to shrink that gap.

Just like with other chronic diseases, opioid addiction exists on a continuum. Some opioid addicts get to treatment only after they’ve lost everything, have serious co-occurring mental health issues, and have few emotional supports. Others are able to reach for help earlier in the course of addiction, have no co-occurring mental health issues, and a supportive network of friends and family. One form of treatment doesn’t fit all patients.

Prescribers of medication-assisted treatments for opioid addiction should use the ASAM criteria when deciding which level of care is most appropriate.”

Read more at:

Source: Jana Burson – MD – November 3, 2014

Categories: 2014-11-23, Buprenorphine, Heroin, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Methadone, News Updates, OBOT, Opioid Abuse/Addiction, Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs), Prescription Drugs
Tags: Buprenorphine, Heroin, Methadone Treatment, Prescription Opioids, Substance abuse treatment

Study Results: Young Drug Injectors on Opioid Maintenance Therapy Have Lower Risk of Hepatitis C Infection

Hepatitis collage“Young people who inject drugs (PWID) who undergo opioid agonist maintenance therapy with methadone or buprenorphine have more than a 60% reduced risk of acquiring hepatitis C virus (HCV) over time compared to those with no substance use treatment, according to a study presented on Monday at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Liver Meeting in Boston. Findings were also published in the October 27 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Kimberly Page from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Judith Tsui from Boston University School of Medicine and colleagues evaluated whether opioid agonist therapy was associated with a lower incidence of HCV infection among young adult drug injectors, who are vulnerable to infection soon after they start injecting.

The study compared people who underwent various types of substance use treatment within the past three months: opioid agonist maintenance therapy, detoxification using an opioid agonist (without ongoing maintenance therapy), non-opioid agonist forms of treatment (such as 12-step programmes or counselling) or no treatment.

Read more at:

Source: – November 11, 2014

Categories: 2014-11-23, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Methadone, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Buprenorphine, Hepatitis C, Heroin, Injecting Drug Users, Methadone Treatment

WHO Recommends Naloxone to Prevent 20,000 Overdose Deaths in U.S.

“More than 20,000 deaths might be prevented every year in the United States alone if naloxone, used to counter drug overdoses, was more widely available, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

Few countries have such good data as the United States, but the WHO estimates about 69,000 people around the world die each year from overdoses of heroin or other opioids, with Iran, Russia and China known to have high numbers of opioid users.

Addiction experts writing in the British Medical Journal welcomed the new guidance, saying it would help save more lives among heroin addicts.

Last month, Scotland, the first to introduce a national program to provide naloxone, released results showing a marked reduction in opioid overdose deaths among people just released from prison, a particularly high risk group, from 9.8 percent in 2006 and 2010 to 4.7 percent in 2013.”

Also see the WHO report Community Management of Opioid Overdose available for download at:

An information sheet is available at:

Source: – November 4, 2014

Categories: 2014-11-23, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Heroin, Overdose, Prescription Opioids

Harm Reduction - What Is Happening at the Federal Level

“Advocates for drug policy reform are doing some admirable work at the state level to improve the health and dignity of people who use drugs. But things are rolling at the federal level too. I recently spoke with Whitney Englander and Daniel Raymond, policy advocates with the Harm Reduction Coalition, about the issues they are working on including:

  • Lift Federal Funding Ban on Syringe Exchange
  • Increase Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Standardize Best Practice Policy for Pregnant Women who use Opioids
  • Access to Hepatitis C Treatment
  • Overdose Prevention

Read more at:–what-is-h_b_6132856.html

Source: – November 10, 2014

Categories: 2014-11-23, Addiction, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Methadone, News Updates, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Hepatitis C, Injecting Drug Users, Methadone Treatment, naloxone, Overdose, Pregnancy

Under Obamacare, Mental Health Lacking

healthcare reform“A flood of patients who have become newly insured under the Affordable Care Act are visiting doctor’s offices and hospitals, causing some health workers to worry about how they can provide care to everyone in need. One group, however, isn’t lining up for care: People with mental health issues or substance use disorders.

Though Obamacare extends coverage to this group – collectively referred to as behavioral health – various loopholes in the health care law at this time have kept people from requesting mental health care. Some states haven’t expanded Medicaid, the government health insurance program for poor or disabled Americans, leaving about 5 million in a coverage gap, the majority of whom, experts believe, need mental health care. In other cases, patients aren’t even aware of the benefits they can get with their new health insurance.”

Source: – October 30, 2014

Categories: 2014-11-23, Addiction, Healthcare Reform, News Updates
Tags: Addiction, Government, Mental Illness

Here’s How Many People Are Using Drugs In The U.S. Right Now

Substance AbuseThe online magazine has created this interactive chart of drug use in America, providing users with a real-time look at both legal and illegal drug consumption based on federal data averages.

Source: – November 20, 2014

Categories: 2014-11-23, Heroin, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction, Other Drugs of Abuse
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, Illicit Drugs, Prescription Opioids, Research


California - California’s Prop 47 Is A More Effective Drug Reform Than Marijuana Legalization – 11/12/14

New York - State of Heroin In The Bronx: A Special Report – 11/17/14

Categories: 2014-11-23, Heroin, News Updates
Tags: Heroin

News & Updates – November 10, 2014; Issue 208







Categories: 2014-11-10, News Updates