News & Updates – July 17, 2015; Issue 224



Categories: 2015-07-17, News Updates, TOC

Breaking Heroin’s Hold – The CDC’s Tom Frieden Is Leading the Charge Against Addiction to Prescription Painkillers and Heroin

Frieden_CDC_AP_660“A startling report released this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that deaths from heroin overdoses have quadrupled in a decade – and that the initiation drug for developing an addiction was most often prescription opioid painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin and morphine.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, is on the front lines of combating addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin. He recently spoke with U.S. News about how the drug became so widespread in the U.S. in such a short time, and what policies could enact change.”

Read more at:

Source: – July 8, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, Heroin, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction, Prescription Drugs
Tags: Addiction, Government, Heroin, Prescription Opioids

Advocates Push To Expand Use of Medications to Treat Addiction

“Medications that treat addiction – buprenorphine, methadone and a third named naltrexone — are a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s plan to combat the opiate epidemic.

Opiate addicts who are given such “medication-assisted treatment” cut their risk of death from all causes – from overdoses to car accidents – in half, said Melinda Campopiano, medical officer at the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The medications also halve a person’s risk of becoming infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

These medications are “an essential component of an ongoing treatment plan” that allow people to “regain control of their health and lives,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.”

Read more at:

Source: – July 8, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, Buprenorphine, Heroin, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Methadone, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Addiction, Buprenorphine, Government, Methadone Treatment, Prescription Opioids

Lawmakers Want to Change How Heroin Addiction is Treated

government1“A day after news that heroin use has exploded, a bill was introduced to revamp how painkiller addiction is treated.

The bill introduced Wednesday would implement a series of reforms for office-based opioid treatment programs. Doctors in these programs provide opioid treatments such as methadone and buprenorphine, which are opioids, according to the measure introduced by Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and Steve Womack, R-Ark.

The bill would set up new reforms to modernize the programs and ensure that patients get better treatments than just those two options, according to a statement.”

Read more at:

Source: – July 8, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, Buprenorphine, Heroin, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Methadone, News Updates
Tags: Addiction, Buprenorphine, Government, Heroin, Methadone Treatment, Opioid Treatment Programs

Co-ingestion of Benzodiazepines and Opioids Contributes to Overdose and Death Interview with: Christopher M. Jones, Pharm D., M.P.H
Senior advisor, Office of Public Health Strategy and Analysis Office of the Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Jones: “Opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines are the two most common drug classes involved in prescription drug overdose deaths. In 2010, 75% of prescription drug overdose deaths involved opioid analgesics and 29% involved benzodiazepines. Opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines are also the most common drugs associated with emergency department visits due to nonmedical use of prescription drugs.

Widespread co-use of benzodiazepines and opioids has been documented in both chronic pain and addiction treatment settings. Studies suggest that among patients who receive long-term opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, 40% or more also use benzodiazepines. Among patients who abuse opioids, benzodiazepine abuse also is prevalent, and co-users report using benzodiazepines to enhance opioid intoxication.

This study builds on the prior literature by analyzing trends on how the combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines in the U.S. contributes to the serious adverse outcomes of nonmedical use–related ED visits and drug overdose deaths. A better understanding of the consequences of co-use of these medications will help identify at-risk populations, inform prevention efforts, and improve the risk–benefit balance of these medications.”

Read more at:

Source: – July 15, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, Heroin, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction, Prescription Drugs, Uncategorized
Tags: Benzodiazepines, Heroin, Overdose, Prescription Opioids

Obituaries Shed Euphemisms to Chronicle Toll of Heroin

heroin new“When celebrities like the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman die of heroin overdoses, the cause of death is a prominent part of the obituary. The less famous tend to die “unexpectedly” or “at home.

But as the heroin epidemic surges across the country and claims more lives every day, a growing number of families are dropping the euphemisms and writing the gut-wrenching truth, producing obituaries that speak unflinchingly, with surprising candor and urgency, about the realities of addiction.

Experts say the emerging openness about fatal overdoses is a sign of a broader shift.

Now, addicts, law enforcement officers and policy makers are all pushing to treat drug abuse as a disease and a public health crisis, not a crime or moral failing, and families are confronting addiction publicly in new ways, through rallies, online and in unvarnished obituaries.”

Read more at:

Source: NYTimes,com – 7/11/15

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, Heroin, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, Injecting Drug Users, Overdose

Study Identifies Factors Affecting Prescription Pain Reliever Misuse

Pg_3_pills2Illicit drug users at increased risk, but differ by age in how drugs acquired.

“People who misuse prescription pain relievers all have one thing in common, University of Georgia researchers have discovered: a history of recent illicit drug use. How they acquire such drugs varies according to age, however. The findings, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, may help health care providers and others curb painkiller misuse.

In a nationwide study, researchers from the UGA School of Social Work found that individuals of any age who used illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or heroin within the past year had a higher likelihood of misusing prescription pain relievers as well. A study just released by the Centers for Disease Control, which found that heroin use was highest among those who abused cocaine or opioid pain relievers within the past year, buttressed the UGA research.

“Male or female, black or white, rich or poor, the singular thing we found was that if they were an illicit drug user, they also had many, many times higher odds of misusing prescription pain relievers,” said Orion Mowbray, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work and the UGA study’s lead author.

The UGA researchers also determined that adults aged 50 and above were more likely to acquire pain relievers through more than one doctor, whereas younger individuals were more likely to acquire them from friends, relatives or drug dealers.

Read more at:

Source: – July 13, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, News Updates, Prescription Drugs
Tags: Prescription Opioids

Q&A with Hazelden’s Dr. Marvin Seppala on Medication-Assisted Treatment

question-box“Traditionally many addiction treatment programs have focused only on 12-step programs and avoided medication-assisted treatment, which is the use of medication, along with therapy and other supports, to help address issues related to opioid dependence. Join Together spoke with Marvin D. Seppala, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, about how some treatment programs are starting to change their view of medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence.”

Read more at:

Source: – July 8, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Addiction, Buprenorphine, Methadone Treatment, Substance abuse treatment

Smart Phone App to Help Recovering Heroin Addicts

Smart phone“A new smart phone app aimed at helping recovering heroin addicts is now available. Heroin use among young adults 18 to 25 has doubled in the last decade, according to the CDC. Many people in that age group have a smart phone.

The app is called the Squirrel Smart Addiction App. It allows recovering addicts to set up a 10-person support team.

The app, which is free to download, has users rate their stress level throughout the day and shares the information with the team. It also features a one-touch panic button that alerts the entire support team. It also tracks and rewards sobriety.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is behind the app.

Jennifer Baxter, who is a recovering heroin addict, said the app was a “great idea.”

“I think the younger generation will use it,” Baxter said.”

Read more at:

Source: – July 9, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, Heroin, News Updates
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, Injecting Drug Users

Does Naloxone Discourage People From Calling 911?

home-featured-naloxoneOne of the sharpest criticisms against making naloxone widely available to people at risk for drug overdose is this: If people have a medicine on hand that allows them to reverse a drug overdose themselves, won’t they stop calling 911?

Though no studies exist to prove or disprove this theory (and it would be nearly impossible to conduct such a study), anecdotal evidence does indicate that many people use naloxone to reverse an opiate drug overdose without summoning emergency medical assistance. However, that doesn’t mean that naloxone availability causes people to refrain from calling 911. The fact remains that despite well-intentioned laws that protect people who seek help for a drug overdose from arrest or charge, a percentage of people who use drugs will not call 911. Period. They haven’t stopped calling 911 because of naloxone. They never called in the first place.

So that leaves two questions”

1) Why do so many people still not call 911 despite legal protections?

2) What can be done to change that behavior?”

Read more at:

Source: – July 8, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, naloxone, Overdose, Prescription Opioids

Authorities Say Suboxone Could Be Kentucky's Next Epidemic

“Doctors say Suboxone, a treatment drug prescribed to help people with opiate addictions, is highly effective if used correctly. However, some law enforcement agencies in Kentucky think Suboxone is being abused at a rate that has not been seen since the Oxycontin pill mills of years past.

Suboxone, the brand name for buprenorphine, is a schedule 3 narcotic that is regulated and lawful to obtain with a prescription. Police and some medical professionals in Kentucky say some doctors are handing out far too many prescriptions. Those clinics have raised concerns for police and other officials who want to get a handle on what could quickly become an epidemic.

“We had the pill mills when Oxycontin was so popular. You’d have people coming from different states, different counties, get there an hour before the clinic opened, long lines, people selling out in the parking lots and that’s what we’re seeing with Suboxone,” said Dan Smoot with High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, also known as HIDTA. “It’s being abused.”

Read more at:

Source: – July 10, 2015

Categories: 2015-07-17, Addiction, Buprenorphine, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Addiction, Buprenorphine, Suboxone