CDC Reports Large Jump in Seized Drugs That Test Positive for Fentanyl

CDC Reports Large Jump in Seized Drugs That Test Positive for Fentanyl
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting a 426 percent increase in seized drugs that tested positive for fentanyl between 2013 and 2014, according to NPR. The number of deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased 79 percent during that period. The CDC analyzed data from 27 states, and found a strong link between increases in synthetic opioid deaths and seized fentanyl products, but not with changes in fentanyl prescribing. The findings suggest that illegally made fentanyl is behind the increase in overdoses, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.Fentanyl is prescribed to treat severe pain. The fentanyl that is being mixed with heroin and sold on the streets is being illicitly manufactured, the CDC noted.
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CDC Reports Sharp Increases in Fentanyl-Involved Overdose Deaths

CDC Reports Sharp Increases in Fentanyl-Involved Overdose Deaths
CDC reports that law enforcement fentanyl encounters increased from less than 1,000 from 2010 to 2012 to nearly 14,000 in 2015. Synthetic-opioid involved deaths increased nearly 80% from 2013 to 2014. From 2013 to 2014, law enforcement encounters (drug submitted for analysis) testing positive for fentanyl sharply increased in a growing number of states, according to two new articles published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths including fentanyl have also increased in multiple states. Recent investigations in Ohio and Florida provide strong evidence that increases in fentanyl deaths do not involve prescription fentanyl but are primarily related to illicitly-made fentanyl. Illicitly-made fentanyl is often mixed with or sold as heroin—with or without the users’ knowledge and increasingly distributed in counterfeit pills. Key findings from 2013 to 2014: Law enforcement fentanyl encounters in the U.S. quadrupled. Synthetic opioid-involved deaths in the U.S. increased by nearly 80%,...
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E-Cigarettes the Most Widely Used Tobacco Product Among Teens

E-Cigarettes the Most Widely Used Tobacco Product Among Teens
E-cigarettes are now the most widely used tobacco product among teens, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). E-cigarette use rose among middle school and high school students from 2011 to 2015, the report found. Three million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2015, an increase of 2.5 percent from the previous year. Among high school students, e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 16 percent, according to the report. Among middle school students, e-cigarette use increased from 0.6 percent to 5.3 percent during that period. Overall, use of tobacco products by teens has not fallen since 2011, HealthDay reports. One-fourth of high school students use tobacco products. “E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, and use continues to climb,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a news release. “No form of youth tobacco use is safe. Nicotine...
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CDC Releases Guidelines for Doctors Designed to Reduce Opioid Prescribing

CDC Releases Guidelines for Doctors Designed to Reduce Opioid Prescribing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines Tuesday that recommend primary care providers avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for patients with chronic pain, according to USA Today. The risks from opioids greatly outweigh the benefits for most people, the CDC says. Primary care providers write nearly half of all opioid prescriptions, according to the CDC. The new guidelines are designed for primary care doctors who treat adult patients for chronic pain in outpatient settings. They are not meant for guiding treatment of patients in active cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care, the agency said. Doctors who determine that opioid painkillers are needed should prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time, the guidelines state. “More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “Overprescribing opioids—largely for chronic...
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Alcohol-Related Deaths Highest In 35 Years

Alcohol-Related Deaths Highest In 35 Years
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC,) there were 30,000 American deaths from alcohol-induced causes in 2014. The CDC report notes that the deaths included alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, liver damage primarily caused by drinking. In an article published by Medical Daily, that information translates to 9.6 deaths from alcohol-induced causes per 100,000 people, a figure that has risen 37 percent since 2002. These alarming numbers don’t even include deaths from drunk driving, and other accidents or homicides committed under the influence of alcohol. According to Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor who studies alcohol consumption patterns, when you factor in deaths directly or indirectly caused by alcohol would cause the number of annual deaths to rise to around 90,000. Per-capita alcohol consumption has been rising nationally since the late 1990s. The number of Americans who drink at least once per month rose by a small but significant...
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More Needle Exchange Programs Needed in Rural and Suburban Areas

More Needle Exchange Programs Needed in Rural and Suburban Areas
More needle exchange programs are needed for people who inject drugs in rural and suburban areas, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Addiction rates are rising in non-urban areas. Giving new, sterile needles and syringes to people who inject drugs in exchange for a used one reduces their risk of contracting or spreading HIV and hepatitis C, HealthDay reports. The study found 69 percent of needle exchange programs in the United States are located in cities. Only 20 percent are in rural areas and 9 percent are in suburban areas. Only 37 percent of programs in rural areas offer the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, compared with 61 of urban programs. “Syringe service programs (SSPs) have been very effective in reducing HIV transmission in the U.S. and throughout the world,” study author Don Des Jarlais of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai...
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Primary Care Physicians Prescribe the Most Opioid Painkillers

Primary Care Physicians Prescribe the Most Opioid Painkillers
A new study of Medicare data finds primary care physicians prescribe significantly more opioid painkillers than any other type of doctor. The study of data from Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage claims found family practice doctors issued 15.3 million opioid prescriptions in 2013, while internal medicine physicians issued 12.8 million. Nurse practitioners wrote 4.1 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers, HealthDay reports. Physician assistants wrote 3.1 million opioid prescriptions. The results appear in JAMA Internal Medicine. In a news release, lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Chen of Stanford University said, “These findings indicate law enforcement efforts to shut down pill-mill prescribers are insufficient to address the widespread overprescribing of opioids. Efforts to curtail national opioid overprescribing must address a broad swath of prescribers to be effective.” He added, “Being a physician myself, I am acutely aware of the emotional angst that can occur when deciding whether to prescribe opioids to a patient...
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CDC: Almost 13 Percent of U.S. Adults Have Tried E-Cigarettes

CDC: Almost 13 Percent of U.S. Adults Have Tried E-Cigarettes
A new government study finds that almost 13 percent of U.S. adults have tried e-cigarettes, the Los Angeles Times reports. Almost 4 percent of adults use the devices on a regular basis. In contrast, 15.2 percent of American adults smoke traditional cigarettes, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found. The new figures offer the first comprehensive picture of e-cigarette use among U.S. adults, the CDC researchers said. E-cigarette use among teens tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to a government report released in April. An estimated 13 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes last year—compared with 9 percent who smoked traditional cigarettes. The new study found that among adults, e-cigarettes are more widely used among current and recent former smokers, compared with nonsmokers and people who smoked long ago. Almost half of current smokers said they had tried an e-cigarette, and 16 percent continued to use...
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