Survey Finds Many Doctors Underprescribing Buprenorphine

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Doctors are underprescribing the opioid addiction medicine buprenorphine, according to a new survey of addiction specialists. Buprenorphine can be used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a doctor’s office. Doctors who prescribe the medication must have a waiver allowing them to do so. Until recently, doctors with waivers could prescribe buprenorphine to 100 patients. This year, the cap was raised to 275, HealthDay reports. More than half of the doctors with a waiver said they were not currently prescribing the buprenorphine to capacity, according to the survey, which was presented at the American Psychological Association annual meeting. Doctors who have a waiver but are not using it to capacity said they regularly turn away one to three patients a month who approach them for buprenorphine treatment.
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Using 12-Step Program Improves Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Teens

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Using a 12-step strategy, similar to the one used by Alcoholics Anonymous, improves the effectiveness of substance use disorder treatment in teens, a new study finds. The study at Massachusetts General Hospital found combining a 12-step approach with standard care produced more successful outcomes that current standard methods alone, HealthDay reports. The findings appear in the journal Addiction . “While all adolescents can improve when they receive well-articulated substance-use disorder treatment, we showed that adding a 12-step component to standard cognitive-behavioral and motivational strategies produced significantly greater reductions in substance-related consequences during and in the months following treatment,” study author John Kelly, PhD, said in a news release. “It also produced higher rates of 12-step meeting participation, which was associated with longer periods of continuous abstinence.”
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Some States Place Limits on Painkiller Prescribing

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At least 17 states have passed laws limiting painkiller prescribing, The Washington Post reports. Some states have enacted measures that limit opioid prescriptions to five or seven days, while others have passed dosage limits. Kentucky passed a law that limits opioid prescriptions for acute pain to three days, the article notes. Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines that recommend primary care providers avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for patients with chronic pain. “When opioids are used for acute pain, clinicians should prescribe the lowest effective dose of immediate-release opioids and should prescribe no greater quantity than needed for the expected duration of pain severe enough to require opioids,” the CDC stated. “Three days or less will often be sufficient; more than seven days will rarely be needed.”
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Energy Drinks Present Risk to Future Substance Use

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New research suggests that college students who regularly consume energy drinks are at a greater risk for future alcohol use disorder, cocaine use or nonmedical use (misuse) of prescription stimulants. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Scientists from the University of Maryland, College Park, asked college students who were approximately 21 years old about their past-year use of energy drinks – highly caffeinated products marketed primarily to teens and young adults. Participants were followed over the next three years to determine whether probabilities of past-year energy drink use increased, decreased or remained consistent, and at year five were assessed for past-year substance use. In groups that showed consistent or increasing probabilities of using energy drinks over the years, researchers found higher rates of cocaine use, prescription stimulant misuse and alcohol use disorder – but not marijuana or...
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F**k you, Opioids

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The following is posted with permission from by Peter Kulbacki, Owner and Licensed Manager at Brunswick Memorial, Inc. What am I supposed to say when we get a call from someone telling me that a loved one has passed from an overdose? I’m sorry? Please accept my condolences? Yeah, that’s what I say, but you know what? My visceral response when I hang up the phone is F**K you opioids. Those who know me know I’m not prone to profanity, and as the consummate professional, I cannot say this to the parents, children, siblings, friends, and neighbors that we serve in the aftermath of opioid addiction. But I want to scream it out loud. F**K you heroin. I write this as a son, spouse, parent, brother, grandfather, neighbor, friend, and funeral director. Folks, we have a problem, a very real problem right here in our backyard, in every town. Every...
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Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Climb: CDC

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The rate of drug overdose deaths continues to increase in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate for drug overdoses reached 19.9 cases per 100,000 people last summer, compared with 16.7 per 100,000 the previous summer, HealthDay reports. The CDC also found an increase in drug overdose deaths for the 12-month period ending in September 2016, compared with the same period a year before—18.5 overdose deaths per 100,000, up from 16.1 deaths per 100,000. Of the 52,404 overdose deaths in 2015, the CDC found 33,091 involved opioids. Prescription or synthetic opioid pain relievers were involved in more than two-thirds of opioid-related overdose deaths.
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College Students Engaging in Less Binge Drinking

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The rate of binge drinking among college students is dropping, according to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Binge drinking among college students increased from 37 percent to 45 percent between 1999 and 2005, but declined to 37 percent by 2014, the study found. Among young adults not enrolled in college, rates of binge drinking rose from 36 percent in 1999 to 40 percent in 2014, HealthDay reports. The findings are published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs . “A number of factors may have contributed to the recent reduction in binge drinking and its related problems among college students,” lead researcher Ralph Hingson said in a news release. He noted an increased emphasis by college administrators on adopting interventions aimed at reducing problem drinking may have played a role.
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DEA Takes Action Against Doctors for Prescribing Opioids to Patients who Overdose

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is taking action against an increasing number of doctors for prescribing opioids to patients who overdose, according to CNN . The DEA took action against 479 doctors in 2016, compared with 88 doctors in 2011. Most people who misuse prescription opioids get them for free from a friend or relative, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Those who are at highest risk of overdose (using prescription opioids nonmedically 200 or more days a year) get them in ways that are different from those who use them less frequently,” the CDC notes on its website. Among those at highest risk of overdose, 27 percent get opioids using their own prescriptions. A study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found 91 percent of people who survived an opioid overdose were able to get another prescription for opioids.
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O'Brien House Expands Essay Contest to Include Louisiana

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O'Brien House is expanding its first essay contest open to high school students to include the entire state of Louisiana. O’Brien House is the Baton Rouge, LA Affiliate of NCADD. The contest's purpose is to offer a creative outlet to young people who have been personally touched by addiction in order to provide therapy and increase awareness about the effects of addiction among today's youth. The contest launched on June 12th, 2017 and will run throughout the summer and the beginning of the school year. The deadline for submission is September 1st, 2017. The winners will be publicly announced and recognized at the O'Brien House Annual Breakfast on September 13th, 2017. The first place winner will be awarded $1000, second place will receive $300, and third place will receive $200. Rules for the contest and guidelines for submission can be found at www.obrienhouseessays.com. Judges of the essay contest are James...
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Justice Department Announces Program to Combat Opioid-Related Health Care Fraud

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a program aimed at combating opioid-related health care fraud, the Associated Press reports. Twelve federal prosecutors will be sent to cities hit hard by opioid addiction. They will analyze data to identify and prosecute individuals that are contributing to the prescription opioid epidemic, Sessions said. They will aim to find “pill mills” and track down physicians and pharmacies that illegally prescribe or distribute opioid painkillers. In a statement, Sessions said the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit “can tell us important information about prescription opioids—like which physicians are writing opioid prescriptions at a rate that far exceeds their peers; how many of a doctor’s patients died within 60 days of an opioid prescription; the average age of the patients receiving these prescriptions; pharmacies that are dispensing disproportionately large amounts of opioids; and regional hot spots for opioid issues.”
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