News & Updates – December 5, 2014; Issue 210





Categories: 2014-12-5, News Updates, TOC

Drug-Overdose Deaths Have More Than Doubled in the U.S. - Opioids and Heroin Are Two of the Greatest Offenders

overdose deaths“Drug overdose deaths more than doubled from 1999 to 2012, according to a new CDC National Center for Health Statistics’ report.

The new data shows drug overdose deaths from drugs like painkillers and heroin have risen from 6.1 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 13.1 in 2012. Drug overdose deaths involving heroin in particular have nearly tripled over the time period.

According to the report, in 2012 alone, there were 41,502 drug overdose deaths, of which 16,007 involved opioid analgesics and 5,925 involved heroin.”

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The CDC National Center for Health Statistics Report can be accessed at:

Source: New York Times – December 2, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Addiction, Heroin, News Updates, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction, Prescription Drugs
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, Overdose, Prescription Opioids

Jana Burson Blog: Buprenorphine and the Liver

“When buprenorphine was approved for office-based treatment of opioid addiction in the U.S, doctors worried about possible liver toxicity. We’d seen case reports of acute liver necrosis (death of liver tissue) in patients with Hepatitis C who injected buprenorphine illicitly. So was this damage due to the drug itself, from intravenous use of the sublingual product, or from buprenorphine interaction with Hepatitis C? Until we had more information, experts recommended checking liver function tests before starting buprenorphine and periodically during treatment to monitor for liver damage.

Fortunately, further studies show no liver damage in patients prescribed buprenorphine.”

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Source: Dr. Jana Burson – November 23, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Blog, Buprenorphine, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Buprenorphine, Hepatitis C, Heroin, Injecting Drug Users

Jana Burson Blog: Alcohol and Opioids (and Benzos) Don’t Mix!

Dr. Jana Burson“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report in October of 2014 that analyzed data regarding the contribution of alcohol in opioid overdose deaths and in emergency department visits for opioid misuse. They also looked to see if alcohol was present in benzodiazepine overdose deaths, and emergency department visits related to benzodiazepine misuse. This information was gathered in 2010 by the Drug Abuse Warning System, (DAWN).

The report found that alcohol was a contributing factor in at least twenty percent of the opioid overdose deaths. When they looked at emergency department visits for opioid misuse complications, alcohol was present in about eighteen percent of patients.

In other words, alcohol is a contributing factor in one-fifth of serious opioid overdoses deaths and near-overdoses.”

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Source: Dr. Jana Burson – November 30, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Addiction, Blog, Buprenorphine, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), News Updates
Tags: Addiction, Alcohol, Benzodiazepines, Heroin, Overdose, Prescription Opioids

Drug to Stop Heroin Deaths Is More Costly, the Police Say

naloxone“This year, police departments across the country, including in New York City, announced plans to stock up on a medication that reverses the effects of a heroin or opioid painkiller overdose.

But police and public health officials from New York to San Francisco are facing sticker shock: Prices for a popular form of the medication, naloxone, are spiking, in some cases by 50 percent or more.

In Georgia, police officials have seen the price of a kit containing the drug rise to $40 from $22. Departments in New Jersey, where heroin addiction has ravaged small communities, are facing similar increases.

In New York City, a spokeswoman for the Health Department said a more than 50 percent price increase for nasal naloxone has officials “concerned” over the future of its distribution programs.”

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Source: – November 30, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Addiction, Heroin, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction, Prescription Drugs
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, naloxone, Overdose, Prescription Opioids

Opinion and Analysis: Opposing the Overdose Antidote Narcan Means Approving of Death Sentences for Heroin Users

A pilot Narcan training program in Massachusetts, covered in VICE News’ documentary, unequivocally illustrates the value of empowering members of the public to access and administer the antidote. According to figures from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, more than 27,000 people have been enrolled in the program in that state. As of July, bystanders in the state had overseen 3,131 overdose rescues with Narcan — about six times more overdose reversals than the number reported by first responders.

Equipping cops and EMTs with Narcan doses and training is crucial, but providing ordinary people with the tools to reverse overdoses is even more necessary. Asking communities of drug users scarred by police harassment to trust the uniform now is too tall of an order.

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Source: – December 2, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Addiction, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Heroin, Injecting Drug Users, naloxone, Overdose, Prescription Opioids

The Great American Relapse- An Old Sickness Has Returned To Haunt a New Generation

“The face of heroin use in America has changed utterly. Forty or fifty years ago heroin addicts were overwhelmingly male, disproportionately black, and very young (the average age of first use was 16). Most came from poor inner-city neighbourhoods. These days, the average user looks more like Ms. Scudo. More than half are women, and 90% are white. The drug has crept into the suburbs and the middle classes. And although users are still mainly young, the age of initiation has risen: most first-timers are in their mid-20s, according to a study led by Theodore Cicero of Washington University in St Louis.

The spread of heroin to a new market of relatively affluent, suburban whites has allowed the drug to make a comeback, after decades of decline. Over the past six years the number of annual users has almost doubled, from 370,000 in 2007 to 680,000 in 2013. Heroin is still rare compared with most other drugs: cannabis, America’s favourite (still mostly illegal) high, has nearly 50 times as many users, for instance. But heroin’s resurgence means that, by some measures, it is more popular than crack cocaine, the bogeyman of the 1980s and 1990s. Its increased popularity in America contrasts strongly with Europe, where the number of users has fallen by a third in the past decade. What explains America’s relapse?

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Source: The Economist – November 22, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Addiction, Heroin, News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, Injecting Drug Users

The Legacy of Dr. H. Westley Clark by Pamela S. Hyde SAMHSA Administrator

clark and hyde“I, and everyone at SAMHSA, will certainly miss the visionary, principled, and pragmatic leadership of Dr. H. Westley Clark, who recently retired after 16 years as the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), and more than 30 years in the federal government.

Wes’ professional life is one marked by non-stop accomplishments and accolades (such as the AMA’s John P. McGovern Award, Presidential Rank Award, Vernelle Fox Award from the California Society of Addiction Medicine, Solomon Carter Fuller Award from the American Psychiatric Association, and multiple Awards for Distinguished Service from the HHS Secretary).  His long and distinguished career has had significant impacts on the research, practice, policies and programs in the treatment of substance use.”

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Source: Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration – December 2, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), News Updates, News Updates, Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs)
Tags: Methadone Treatment, Opioid Treatment Programs, SAMHSA, Substance abuse treatment

Are Substance Problems Among Older Americans a Looming Crisis?

seniors“Many seniors use drugs to self-medicate, and baby boomers—with their long history of casual drug use—are retiring in vast numbers. As America’s population ages, will the little addiction treatment that exists for older people be swamped?”

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Source: Pacific Standard: The Science of Society – December 1, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Addiction, News Updates, Prescription Drugs
Tags: Addiction, Substance abuse treatment

Court Strikes Down Drug Tests for Florida Welfare Applicants

gavel“A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down a 2011 Florida law requiring drug tests for people seeking welfare benefits even if they are not suspected of drug use, a measure pushed by Gov. Rick Scott in his first term in office.

The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled that the law, one of the strictest in the country, was an unreasonable search because Florida officials had failed to show a “substantial need” to test all people who applied for welfare benefits. Applicants were required to submit to urine tests, a measure that Mr. Scott said would protect children of welfare applicants by ensuring that their parents were not buying and using drugs.”

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Source: New York Times – December 3, 2014

Categories: 2014-12-5, Addiction, Drug Courts & Criminal Justice, News Updates
Tags: Addiction, Drug Testing


Illinois – Counting on Methadone Drug Addiction Treatment: Corporate Cash-Cow? Social Responsibility of a Non-Profit or Responsible For-Profit? – 11/30/14

New Jersey – Heroin Pill Poses Potential Danger for New Jersey – 12/4/14

New Jersey – Inadequate Drug-Addiction Treatment Available In NJ Has Many Roots – 12/1/19

New York – New York Attorney General Critical of Heroin Antidote’s Cost – 12/1/14

Ohio – Bill would regulate painkiller addiction treatment – 12/2/14

Categories: 2014-12-5, Heroin, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), News Updates, Opioid Abuse/Addiction, Prescription Drugs
Tags: Addiction, Heroin, Injecting Drug Users, Opioid Treatment Programs, Prescription Opioids