Opioid Misuse on the Rise Among Older Americans

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Misuse of opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers, has risen among adults 50 and older, according to a new government report. Rates of opioid misuse have decreased among young adults. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found opioid misuse rose from 1 percent to 2 percent among older adults from 2002 to 2014, while rates decreased from 11.5 percent to 8 percent during the same period, HealthDay reports. Overall, 9.5 million adults misused opioids in the past year, SAMHSA found. “The high rates of [multiple] illnesses in older populations and the potential for drug interactions has profound implications for the health and well-being of older adults who continue to misuse opioids,” Dr. Kimberly Johnson, Director for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, said in a news release.
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Price of Opioid Overdose Antidote Naloxone Soars

Price of Opioid Overdose Antidote Naloxone Soars
The price of naloxone is increasing at a time when the need for the opioid overdose antidote is growing, CNBC reports. Public officials say the price of naloxone is limiting how much they can purchase, which is potentially costing lives of people who are overdosing on heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers. “Why should we be priced out of a lifesaving medication at a time of public health emergency when we need it the most?” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “It’s unethical and inhumane to deny our patients and our cities lifesaving medications, and watch hundreds of thousands of citizens in our cities die.” She says her department has seen the cost of purchasing naloxone double in the last three years.
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New Drug Deactivation System Allows Safe Disposal of Opioids at Home

New Drug Deactivation System Allows Safe Disposal of Opioids at Home
A new technology allows patients to safely dispose of unwanted or expired prescription painkillers at home. Hooshang Shanehsaz, RPh, DPH, Director of Pharmacy at Cardinal Health, who co-directed a pilot study of the drug deactivation system, says patients found it easy to use. A person using the Deterra® Drug Deactivation System simply puts their medication in a bag containing a carbon that bonds to pharmaceutical compounds when water is added. The person adds water and shakes it up to neutralize the active ingredient in the drug, explains Dr. Shanehsaz, who is Vice President of the Delaware Board of Pharmacy. The biodegradable bag can then be placed into the trash. In the past, pharmacists have told patients to dispose of unused or expired medications by putting them in cat litter, sawdust or used coffee grounds. These materials absorb some of the medication, but much of it still remains and can still...
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