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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Study Finds Patients Receiving Longer Treatment for Alcohol-Drug Misuse Have Significantly Higher Success Rate

Study Finds Patients Receiving Longer Treatment for Alcohol-Drug Misuse Have Significantly Higher Success Rate
A new study suggests that the longer patients are enrolled in treatment, the better chance they have of successful recovery after treatment. The study, published in the current issue of Open Journal of Psychiatry , followed 72 patients with a variety of addiction types over the course of a year. Patients were nearly divided evenly by gender with the mean average age about 30 years old. The patients were treated for a number of chemical dependencies, including alcohol, amphetamine, benzodiazepines and opioids. Those patients undergoing an industry standard 30-day treatment program exhibited a 54.7 percent treatment success rate after one year. In contrast, patients that participated in a treatment program lasting more than 30 days experienced a success rate of 84.2 percent. The study is significant, as most private and government insurance programs only reimburse the patient for 30 days of addiction treatment. “Aftercare is crucial once an individual has...
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Few Teens Treated for Opioid Addiction Get Medication-Assisted Treatment

Few Teens Treated for Opioid Addiction Get Medication-Assisted Treatment
Only 2.4 percent of teens in treatment for heroin addiction receive medication-assisted treatment, a new study finds. In contrast, 26.3 percent of adults received treatment with addiction medications such as methadone or buprenorphine, Reuters reports. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found only .4 percent of teens in treatment for prescription opioid addiction receive medication-assisted treatment, compared with 12 percent of adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises doctors to consider medication-assisted treatment for teens with severe opioid use disorders. “There’s more that needs to be done across the board to facilitate access to these treatments when they’re medically necessary,” lead researcher Kenneth Feder told Reuters. “The best validated treatment for somebody struggling with an opiate addiction is treatment that includes some sort of medication assistance.” The study appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health . Want to learn more about What Is Medication-Assisted Recovery? Click here.
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New Report: Reward with Prizes. Cut Alcohol and Tobacco Use

New Report: Reward with Prizes. Cut Alcohol and Tobacco Use
It would seem that offering prizes- - from simple shampoo to DVD players -- can be an effective, low-cost treatment for alcohol abuse, the nation's third leading preventable cause of death, suggests a new report. An article in Science Daily noted that researchers at Washington State University have shown that offering prizes -- from simple shampoo to DVD players -- can be an effective, low-cost treatment for alcohol abuse, the nation's third leading preventable cause of death. A surprise benefit of the treatment was that it decreased study participants' tobacco and drug use. Findings from the study, which appears in the current American Journal of Psychiatry , could expand treatment options for an estimated 15 million U.S. adults who abuse alcohol. The study followed 79 outpatients at a community mental health center in the Seattle area. About half received the 12-week rewards intervention, which offered small prizes for addiction treatment...
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Police Programs Focusing on Treatment Over Jail May Lose Support Under Trump

Police Programs Focusing on Treatment Over Jail May Lose Support Under Trump
Police organizations promoting an approach to opioids that emphasizes treatment over jail are concerned the incoming Trump Administration may focus on prosecution rather than treatment, Scientific American reports. So-called ANGEL programs, which started in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 2015, have been expanded to hundreds of police departments nationwide. The Obama Administration has supported the programs, the article notes. Comments from Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for Attorney General, indicate the incoming administration may focus first on reducing the supply of illegal drugs coming in from Mexico. In December, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that between June 2015 and May 2016, 94.5 percent of the 376 people seeking help through Gloucester’s ANGEL program were offered placement in a detox or treatment program, and 89.7 percent enrolled. Lead researcher Davida Schiff of Boston Medical Center said in order for police-led treatment referral programs to be successful, more treatment facilities...
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Specific Gene-Targeting Could Help Treatments to Reduce Desire For Alcohol In Problem Drinkers

Specific Gene-Targeting Could Help Treatments to Reduce Desire For Alcohol In Problem Drinkers
A report recently published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences , announced the identification of a hormone link between the brain and the liver that may control people's alcohol consumption. This depends on which version they carry of a particular gene. An article in Medical News Today quote Paul Elliott, one of the senior investigators and a professor in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the U.K., who stated: "Alcohol drinking in excess is a major public health problem worldwide and we need to find new ways of reducing the harmful effects of alcohol in the population. Even small shifts downward in the average amount of alcohol people drink may have major health benefits." According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012, about 3.3 million deaths - or 5.9 percent of all deaths worldwide - were attributable to alcohol consumption. The Medical...
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ADHD Treatment Linked to Lower Risk of Substance Use Disorder

ADHD Treatment Linked to Lower Risk of Substance Use Disorder
Children and teens who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and take medication for the condition are less likely to have a substance use disorder than youth with ADHD who don’t take medication, a new study finds. Researchers at Princeton University found children and teens with ADHD who received medication were 7.3 percent less likely to have a substance use disorder. They also were 3.6 percent less likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease and 2.3 percent less likely to be injured, HealthDay reports. The findings are published in Labour Economics . Study co-author Anna Chorniy said young people with ADHD tend to have problems with self control, which can lead to injury and engaging in risky behaviors.
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Switching to Other Pain Treatments Can be Challenging

Switching to Other Pain Treatments Can be Challenging
As the Obama Administration and public health officials push for a reduction in prescription opioids, they are facing some resistance from both patients and doctors, experts tell The New York Time s. Insurance coverage for alternative treatments is inconsistent, the article notes. The plans may not cover all treatments, or they may impose strict limits on coverage. Alternative pain treatments include acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, massage, meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy. Medicaid does cover physical therapy for patients who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but the level of coverage varies by state. Matt Salo, Executive Director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, says benefits for alternative treatments are often the first to be eliminated when budgets are cut, because they are considered optional. A complicating factor is the widely varying amounts of evidence about the effectiveness of these treatments. Many patients resist nondrug treatments for...
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Study Shows Opioids Increase Risk of Death When Compared To Other Pain Treatments

Study Shows Opioids Increase Risk of Death When Compared To Other Pain Treatments
Long-acting opioids are associated with a significantly increased risk of death when compared with alternative medications for moderate-to-severe chronic pain, according to a Vanderbilt study released in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation (JAMA). Not only did long-acting opioids increase the risk of unintentional overdose deaths, but they were also shown to increase mortality from cardiorespiratory events and other causes. The story appeared in Vanderbilt University’s Research News @ Vanderbilt. Lead author Wayne Ray, Ph.D., and colleagues with the Vanderbilt Department of Health Policy studied Tennessee Medicaid patients between 1999-2012 with chronic pain, primarily back and other musculoskeletal pain, who did not have cancer or other serious illnesses. Researchers compared those starting a long-acting opioid to those taking an alternative medication for moderate-to-severe pain. Alternative medications included both anticonvulsants — typically prescribed to prevent seizure activity in the brain, treat bipolar disorder or neuropathic pain — and low doses...
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Insurance Plans Not Covering Necessary Services for People with Addiction: Report

Insurance Plans Not Covering Necessary Services for People with Addiction: Report
A new report finds insurance plans around the country are not covering the necessary services for people with addiction. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reviewed addiction benefits offered in the 2017 Essential Health Benefits benchmark plans and found more than two-thirds violate the Affordable Care Act. None of the plans are adequate, the report concluded. “Our findings reveal that people with addiction may not be receiving effective treatment because insurance plans aren’t covering the full range of evidence-based care,” Lindsey Vuolo, JD, MPH, Associate Director of Health Law and Policy at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, and lead author of the report, said in a news release. “For example, our review did not find a single state that covers all of the approved medications used to treat opioid addiction.” The Essential Health Benefits benchmark plans determine which addiction benefits are available to the 12.7...
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