Experts Say $6 Billion to Fight Opioid Addiction Isn’t Enough

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The recent federal budget deal includes $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid crisis—an amount addiction treatment experts and some lawmakers say isn’t enough, CNN reports. In a statement, New Hampshire Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan said while the $6 billion is welcome, far more funding is needed. “Much more needs to be done to provide substance use disorder treatment to those who desperately need it,” Shaheen said. “We still need a federal response to this epidemic that matches the national public health emergency we are facing.” Hassan added, “We will ultimately need far more funding beyond this measure over the years to come to truly address this crisis.” A spokesperson for West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin told CNN that the senator wants to make sure West Virginia, which is greatly affected by the opioid crisis, gets much of the funding.
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Opioid Crisis in U.S. Has Cost More Than $1 Trillion: Report

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The cost of the nation’s opioid crisis exceeded $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017, a new report concludes. The epidemic may cost an additional $500 billion by 2020. The findings come from Altarum, a nonprofit health research and consulting institute. The greatest cost of the opioid crisis comes from lost earnings and productivity losses to employers, NPR reports. Other costs come from lost tax revenue due to early deaths and substance use disorders. Emergency room visits, ambulance costs and the use of naloxone also have contributed to the increase in costs, the report notes. Opioid-related expenses are rising in part because more young people are being affected. “The average age at which opioid deaths are occurring — you’re looking at something in the late 30s or early 40s,” said Corey Rhyan, a senior research analyst with Altarum’s Center for Value and Health Care. “As a result, you’re looking at people...
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Meth Makes a Comeback Around the Country

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Meth is making a comeback around the country, say experts who note the drug is more pure, cheap and deadly than ever. Although the number of domestic meth labs has greatly decreased, agents at the U.S. border are seizing 10 to 20 times the amounts of meth they did a decade ago, The New York Times reports. In the early 2000s, domestic labs made meth from the decongestant pseudoephedrine. In 2005, Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Act, which made it more difficult to purchase pseudoephedrine. In response, Mexican drug cartels stepped up production. There is now so much pure, low-cost meth that dealers are offering the drug on credit, the article notes. Little is being done to combat the increase in meth because it has been overshadowed by the opioid crisis, according to public health experts. There is no drug to reverse meth overdoses, or drug treatments to reduce meth...
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Study Aims to Reduce Hep-C Transmission in Young Adults Who Inject Drugs

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A new study aims to reduce hepatitis C (HCV) transmission among young adults who inject drugs. The study will equip participants with strategies to avoid situations and practices that put them at risk of contracting HCV. “What makes this intervention model different from others is that we are not focusing just on the moment a person injects drugs,” said study researcher Honoria Guarino, Ph.D., a principal investigator at the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. and a researcher with the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at NYU Meyers College of Nursing. “We are looking at the bigger picture—what factors are putting them in situations where they are likely to inject unsafely. We want to give them planning skills to help them avoid those situations or deal with them more effectively if they come up.” The growing population of young people who inject drugs is at extremely high risk...
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Treating Depression May Help Patients Stop Long-Term Prescription Opioid Use

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Patients with long-term opioid prescriptions and depression who take antidepressants are more likely to stop using opioids, a new study concludes. “Depression can worsen pain and is common in patients who remain long-term prescription opioid users,” lead researcher Jeffrey Scherrer, PhD, of Saint Louis University said in a news release. “Our study should encourage clinicians to determine if their non-cancer pain patients are suffering from depression and aggressively treat patients’ depression to reduce opioid use.” He added, “Effective depression treatment may break the mutually reinforcing opioid-depression relationship and increase the likelihood of successful opioid cessation.” The findings will be published in British Journal of Psychiatry .
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Long-Term Marijuana Use Is Associated With Health Problems Later in Life

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Attitudes and policies regarding recreational marijuana use are becoming increasingly permissive. To effectively address the implications of these developments, researchers and policy makers need to understand how much and how long people use marijuana during the lifespan, and the degree to which different use patterns are associated with long-term issues such as health status. This study found that: Marijuana users exhibited six different patterns of marijuana use from ages 18 to 50. Longer-term marijuana use (extending from age 18 into the late 20s or beyond) was associated with increased risk of self-reported health problems at age 50. To this end, Yvonne Terry-McElrath of the University of Michigan and her colleagues applied the statistical technique of latent class analysis to identify distinct patterns of marijuana use from age 18 to 50 among nearly 10,000 participants in the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study. The participants had reported their past-year marijuana use when...
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“Deaths of Despair” Caused by Opioids, Alcohol and Suicides: Report

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The incresing rate of deaths due to opioids, alcohol and suicides are part of a public health crisis described as “deaths of despair” in a new report published recently. Life expectancy in the United States has decreased for the second year in a row because of these factors, researchers wrote in BMJ . The drop was particularly steep among middle-age white Americans and people living in rural areas, USA Today reports. “Why white Americans are dying at higher rates from drugs, alcohol, and suicides is unclear, complex, and not explained by opioids alone,” the researchers wrote. They note that possibilities include the collapse of industries and the local economies they supported, the erosion of social cohesion and greater social isolation, economic hardship, and distress among white workers over losing the security their parents once enjoyed.
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State and Local Law Enforcement Officials Protest Cut to Drug Prevention Program

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State and local law enforcement officials came to Capitol Hill last week to protest a Trump Administration proposal to move oversight of a drug prevention program from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to the Justice Department. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program sends millions of federal dollars to 28 task forces across the country. The task forces, composed of state, local and federal law enforcement officers, use the funds to combat drug trafficking in their communities, The New York Times reports. Under a draft budget plan from the Office of Management and Budget, the $275 million program would be run by federal law enforcement officers. “In the middle of this huge epidemic, is now the time to start rearranging the deck chairs?” said Chauncey Parker, the director of the program task force in New York City. “ONDCP are the experts and the professionals on this issue,...
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FDA Calls Kratom an Opioid

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the supplement known as “kratom” is an opioid and has been linked with 44 deaths, The Washington Pos t reports. Kratom, an unregulated botanical substance, is used by some people to relieve pain, anxiety and depression, as well as symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The FDA recently conducted a scientific analysis that provided even stronger evidence of kratom’s opioid properties, the agency said in a statement. “We have been especially concerned about the use of kratom to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, as there is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder and significant safety issues exist,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. The analysis has “contributed to the FDA’s concerns about kratom’s potential for abuse, addiction, and serious health consequences; including death.”
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Naloxone Administration May Lead to Complications

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There seem to be a growing number of cases of high amounts of fluid in the lungs – known as noncardiogenic pulmonary edema – following administration of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, experts said at a recent meeting of the New York Society of Addiction Medicine annual meeting. “The cause of naloxone-associated pulmonary edema is unclear. It may be that it is part of the natural history of opioid overdose, and we are just seeing it more often because we have the ability to save patients using an antidote. It could also be because when we wake people with naloxone, they try to take a deep breath against a closed airway, causing barotraumas – injuries caused by increased air or water pressure,” says Nicholas Nacca, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. There is no hard data to support that this...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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