Opioid Epidemic Fuels Increase in Cocaine-Related Overdose Deaths

Opioid Epidemic Fuels Increase in Cocaine-Related Overdose Deaths
A growing number of people are dying from cocaine-related overdoses because they are mixing the drug with opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, according to U.S. News & World Report. Cocaine can result in overdose on its own, the article notes. It is not known whether people are mixing the drugs intentionally, or are unknowingly taking tainted products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cocaine was responsible for the second-most drug-overdose deaths in 2014. Cocaine-related deaths have risen in recent years, after declining steadily, even though there did not appear to be a significant increase in the drug’s availability. “From the death data, we don’t know whether these are cocaine users who added opioids or were opioid users who added cocaine,” said Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Both are possible. The data shows us that both drugs may have been...
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HHS Announces New Actions To Combat Opioid Epidemic

HHS Announces New Actions To Combat Opioid Epidemic
U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced several new actions the department is taking to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. The actions include expanding access to buprenorphine, a medication to treat opioid use disorder, a proposal to eliminate any potential financial incentive for doctors to prescribe opioids based on patient experience survey questions, and a requirement for Indian Health Service prescribers and pharmacists to check state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) databases before prescribing or dispensing opioids for pain. In addition, the department is launching more than a dozen new scientific studies on opioid misuse and pain treatment and soliciting feedback to improve and expand prescriber education and training programs. The actions announced build on the HHS Opioid Initiative, which was launched in March 2015 and is focused on three key priorities: 1) improving opioid prescribing practices; 2) expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid...
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