New Recommendations to Prevent and Treat Substance Use Disorders Issued

New Recommendations to Prevent and Treat Substance Use Disorders Issued
A comprehensive set of public policy recommendations for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders were recently issued by the American College of Physicians (ACP). The findings were published in Annals of Internal Medicine . Drug overdose deaths, particularly from opioids such as prescription pain relievers and heroin, is a rising epidemic. ACP says that substance use disorders are treatable chronic medical conditions, like diabetes and hypertension, that should be addressed through expansion of evidence-based public and individual health initiatives to prevent, treat, and promote recovery. However, access to care for substance use disorders is limited. In 2014, 22.5 million people in the U.S. needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem but only 18 percent received any treatment, far below treatment receipt rates for those with hypertension (77 percent), diabetes (73 percent), or major depression (71 percent). According to  Medical News Today , in order to...
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Doctors’ Group Says Substance Use Disorders are Chronic Medical Conditions

Doctors’ Group Says Substance Use Disorders are Chronic Medical Conditions
The American College of Physicians (ACP) says substance use disorders are chronic medical conditions. The group called for greater access to care for people struggling with drug addiction. In a position paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the group stated substance use disorders need ongoing treatment, and are not a “moral disorder or character defect.” ACP says it wants to see tighter controls for opioid prescriptions, more training for doctors to deal with substance abuse, and more options for mental health treatment, ABC News reports. “Drug overdose deaths, particularly from opioids such as prescription pain relievers and heroin, is a rising epidemic,” ACP President Nitin S. Damle, MD, said in a news release. “Substance use disorders are treatable chronic medical conditions, like diabetes and hypertension, that should be addressed through expansion of evidence-based public and individual health initiatives to prevent, treat, and promote recovery.”
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Substance Abuse Can Cost You That Beautiful Smile of Yours

Substance Abuse Can Cost You That Beautiful Smile of Yours
People who abuse substances are at a greater risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease than people with no substance use disorders, a study has found. The findings, led by Hooman Baghaie from the University of Queensland in Australia, showed that drug use affects oral health through direct physiological routes such as dry mouth, an increased urge for snacking, clenching and grinding of teeth and chemical erosion from applying cocaine to teeth and gums. The lifestyle that often accompanies problematic drug use also affects oral health through high sugar diets, malnutrition, poor oral hygiene, and lack of regular professional dental care. Patients with substance use disorders exhibited greater tooth loss, non-carious tooth loss and destructive periodontal disease. In addition, tolerance to pain killers and anaesthetics also contributes to poor dental care, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal Addiction . Oral health has significant consequences on...
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More Americans with Substance Use Disorders, Mental Illness Got Insurance Under ACA

More Americans with Substance Use Disorders, Mental Illness Got Insurance Under ACA
More people with substance use disorders and mental illness had insurance coverage in 2014 because of the expansion of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new study finds. Many barriers to treatment remain, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study found there were no significant increases in use of services to treat substance use disorders or mental illness, HealthDay reports. “We got more people covered, but we didn’t make dramatic progress in closing the under-treatment gap,” lead researcher Brendan Saloner said in a news release. “We need to find ways to take the next step and ensure people are seeing the providers who can help them.” The study included data from almost 30,000 adults with mental illness and more than 19,000 with substance use disorders. The researchers compared insurance coverage for two periods: 2011-2013, before the ACA was implemented, and...
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Surgeon General Issues Landmark Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health

Surgeon General Issues Landmark Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health
A new Surgeon General’s report finds alcohol and drug misuse and severe substance use disorders, commonly called addiction, to be one of America’s most pressing public health concerns. Nearly 21 million Americans – more than the number of people who have all cancers combined – suffer from substance use disorders. The report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, marks the first time a U.S. Surgeon General has dedicated a report to substance misuse and related disorders. The report addresses alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drug misuse, with chapters dedicated to neurobiology, prevention, treatment, recovery, health systems integration and recommendations for the future. It provides an in-depth look at the science of substance use disorders and addiction, calls for a cultural shift in the way Americans talk about the issue, and recommends actions we can take to prevent and treat these conditions, and promote...
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