Governors Say Medicaid Cuts Could Hurt State Efforts to Fight Opioid Crisis

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A bipartisan group of governors says Medicaid cuts could impact states’ efforts to fight the opioid crisis. “We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think what’s happening with healthcare in Congress right now is affecting this issue,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said at a recent meeting of the National Governors Association. “We cannot have millions of Americans lose their health coverage and still effectively attack this crisis. We can’t significantly reduce Medicaid spending and still be successful in fighting opioid addiction.” Governors said many of their residents rely on Medicaid to receive treatment for opioid addiction, Reuters reports. They noted they are focusing much of their efforts on increasing the availability of addiction treatment and requiring doctors to reduce opioid prescriptions.
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CDC Report Finds Mixed Results for Opioid Prescribing in New Jersey Counties

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Since the opioid crisis began to grip New Jersey and our nation, one of the crucial goals in stemming the tide of addiction was addressing the overprescribing of pain medication. The good news is that the number of opioid prescriptions decreased nationwide from 2010 to 2015. The bad news is that doctors gave out longer prescriptions and the average strength of prescriptions was still high, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released last week. The report also revealed that the number of prescriptions in parts of New Jersey remained high. An NJ.com report detailed the disparity in prescriptions written across the state’s 21 counties. While the rate of prescriptions per person dropped in 10 counties from 2010 to 2015, it increased in nine counties and did not change in two others, the report said. The totals are measured in “morphine milligram equivalents,” or MME, “which measures...
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Fentanyl Sales Fueled by the Dark Web

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The opioid crisis is being fueled by anonymous online sales on the dark web, where buyers purchase fentanyl and other drugs using special browsers and virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, The New York Times reports. Law enforcement officials say Internet sales of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are on the rise. They are frustrated in their attempts to crack down on these sales because of their anonymous nature. Enough fentanyl to get almost 50,000 people high can fit into a standard first-class envelope, the article notes. A leading dark web site, AlphaBay, last week had more than 21,000 listings for opioids and more than 4,100 for fentanyl and similar drugs. The number of fentanyl listings on AlphaBay and other dark web sites has been steadily increasing.
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Colleges Addressing Opioid Crisis With Naloxone and Recovery Programs

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Colleges are addressing the opioid crisis by distributing the opioid overdose antidote naloxone and adding on-campus recovery programs, The Wall Street Journal reports. Students have died from opioid overdoses at many campuses, including Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina; Washington State University and Columbus State Community College in Ohio. Adapt Pharma announced last month it would offer 40,000 free doses of its brand of naloxone, called Narcan, to colleges nationwide. So far 60 schools have contacted the company about their offer. The University of Texas at Austin stocks naloxone at the front desk of residence halls, and Idaho State University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania recently offered naloxone training. Campus Police at the State University of New York at Geneseo have been carrying naloxone since 2014.
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Opioid Crisis Leads Police Officers to Act as Drug Counselors and Medical Workers

Opioid Crisis Leads Police Officers to Act as Drug Counselors and Medical Workers
In areas hard hit by the opioid crisis, police officers have increasingly taken on the role of drug counselors and medical workers, The Washington Post reports. Police departments are arranging for drug treatment, administering naloxone, and allowing people to turn in drugs in exchange for treatment. “When I came out of the police academy, it was law enforcement enforcing the law,” said Kevin Coppinger, Sheriff in Essex County, Massachusetts. “Now police officers have to be generalists. You have to enforce the law, you have to be social-service workers and almost mental-health workers.” “Drugs are being introduced into the illicit drug supply that are more powerful than anything we’ve ever seen before, and it’s taxing our law enforcement resources, our EMS resources, our emergency departments and hospitals, and it’s difficult to manage,” said Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.
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