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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NCADD Affiliate Program Recognized by SAMHSA

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Behavioral Health Services/NCADD of the South Bay’s Beach Cities Prevention Community Council received national recognition from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as one of its 2016 Prevention Program Success Stories. The story is based on the Beach Cities Prevention Community Council’s awareness event, “Safety Stress and Social Media: Educating Parents and Protecting Teens,” which was held in Hermosa Beach on April 28, 2016. An article about the program was posted by SAMHSA at 2016 SAMHSA Success Story. Behavioral Health Services is the NCADD Affiliate in Gardena, CA and the Beach Cities Prevention Community Council program was the recipient of NCADD’s 2017 Prevention & Education Meritorious Award. Raunda Frank, Prevention Coordinator, and Heather Longridge, Outreach Specialist, presented about the program and accepted the award at the 2017 NCADD Conference of Affiliates. For more information please contact: The Behavioral Health Services, Inc./National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence...
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Prosecutors Fighting Opioids with Homicide-Related Charges Against Drug Dealers

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Some prosecutors are trying to fight the opioid epidemic with homicide-related charges against drug dealers in cases involving overdoses, The New York Times reports. These cases are difficult, prosecutors told the newspaper. They must use toxicology reports to tie medical evidence about the drugs to the fatal overdose. They also have to present evidence that a dealer knew the drugs’ risks but provided them anyway, which is hard to prove. Dealers’ lawyers argue their clients want to keep customers alive because it is good for business. Juries in these cases must determine whether drug dealers are predators or are addicted to drugs themselves. They also must decide if a dealer should be held responsible for the death of a person who took drugs they knew were dangerous.
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Medically Supervised Opioid Withdrawal an Option for Pregnant Women

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While medication-assisted treatment is the recommended therapy for pregnant women addicted to opioids, medically supervised withdrawal is an option if a woman does not accept treatment, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said this week. Medically supervised opioid withdrawal should be done under the care of a doctor experienced in perinatal addiction treatment, ACOG stated in a news release. In the past, it was thought that stopping opioids during pregnancy was too risky for the fetus and mother, CNN reports.
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Poison Control Center Calls Involving Dietary Supplements on the Rise

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Calls to poison control centers regarding dietary supplements increased by almost 50 percent between 2005 and 2012, according to a new study. A majority of the calls involved children 6 years old and under, ABC News reports. Researchers report in the Journal of Medical Toxicology that the majority of dietary supplement exposures were unintentional. Most exposures occurred at home. “Many consumers believe dietary supplements are held to the same safety and efficacy standards as over-the-counter medications,” study senior author Gary Smith, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “However, dietary supplements are not considered drugs, thus they are not required to undergo clinical trials or obtain approval from the FDA prior to sale, unless the product is labeled as intended for therapeutic use.”
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Legislators From States With Legalized Marijuana Push Back on Federal Crackdown

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Legislators from states that have legalized marijuana are pushing back against a federal crackdown on the drug, led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. House and Senate members from states with legalized marijuana are trying to provide protections for the multibillion-dollar marijuana industry, The New York Times reports. Sessions has asked Senate leaders to roll back rules that bar the Justice Department from sidestepping state laws in order to enforce a federal ban on medical marijuana. He also appointed a task force to review links between violent crimes and marijuana. Last month, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced a bill that would allow patients to access medical marijuana in states where it is legal, without fear of federal prosecution. “Federal marijuana policy has long overstepped the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence, and compassion,” Senator Cory Booker said in a statement about the bill, known as The Compassionate Access, Research...
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Dark Web Marketplace Will No Longer Sell Fentanyl

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A large online marketplace that sells drugs, stolen credit cards and other illegal goods announced this week it will no longer allow the sale of the potent opioid fentanyl, The New York Times reports. While the Hansa Market is banning the sale of the deadly opioid, most other large online marketplaces have not indicated they will follow suit, the article notes. The largest so-called “dark web” marketplace, AlphaBay, was closed down several weeks ago by law enforcement. Large amounts of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids were sold through AlphaBay. Vendors using the site were linked to many overdose deaths across the United States, and several were arrested. “My guess is that Hansa vendors who make a lot of money from fentanyl will simply sell that product in other markets while continuing to sell permitted products on Hansa,” said Isak Ladegaard, a sociologist at Boston College who studies dark web markets....
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Recovery Month 2017 is Around the Corner

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  National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is an observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. The theme for Recovery Month 2017 is Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities and is intended to highlight the value of family and community support throughout recovery and to invite individuals in recovery and their family members to share their personal stories and successes in order to encourage others. Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover....
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Opioid Epidemic Will Take Years to Resolve, Experts Warn

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The opioid epidemic took almost two decades to develop and it will take years to resolve, experts warn in a new report. The report, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, calls for reducing the number of unnecessary opioid prescriptions, according to HealthDay . The experts also recommend improving access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, and increasing access to safe injection equipment to reduce the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs. The experts say federal agencies should help states provide universal access to proven addiction treatment in hospitals, criminal justice settings and substance-use treatment centers. They also recommend mandatory pain-related education for those who deliver care to people with pain.
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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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