Surgeons Try Prescribing Fewer Opioids to Combat Addiction Risks

89306373
NPR reports that a group of surgeons at the University of Michigan has devised an approach that could lead to significant changes in how opioids are prescribed and help curb the nation’s opioid epidemic – prescribing fewer opioids after surgery. Their findings were published this week in the journal, JAMA Surgery . The group of surgeons suggests that to lower the risk of opioid addiction, surgeons should prescribe patients fewer painkillers after surgery — a critical time when many people are first introduced to what can be highly addictive opioid medications. They should also talk with patients about proper use of opioids and the associated addiction risks. The researchers identified 170 post-surgery patients and surveyed them within a year of their gallbladder operations, inquiring about how many pills they actually used. They employed the findings to create new hospital guidelines that cut back on the standard opioid prescription for gallbladder...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
149 Hits
0 Comments

Understanding the Difference between Physical Dependence and Addiction

Addiction
In a recent hearing before Congress, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb spoke about the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic and what his agency is doing to address it. While Dr. Gottlieb is not the first to note the massive scale of this crisis, he did bring up one often-overlooked component of its much-needed solution – distinguishing between an opioid addiction and a physical dependence on opioids. Although frequently conflated, differentiating between these two conditions is essential to break the stigma associated with what has proven to be the most effective form of opioid addiction treatment: medication-assisted treatment (MAT) – a treatment approach that combines the use of medications such as methadone and buprenorphine with behavioral counseling. To make progress in ending the opioid epidemic and help people with addiction, families, health professionals and policymakers must understand and appreciate the important difference between physical dependence and...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
220 Hits
0 Comments

Significant Inequalities Between Mental and Physical Health Payments Uncovered

Payments
Medical and surgical healthcare providers are receiving significantly higher payments from insurers than addiction and mental health practitioners for the same types of services, finds a groundbreaking, independent report published by Milliman, Inc. and released by a coalition of America’s leading mental health and addiction advocacy organizations including the Legal Action Center. In the Milliman report, commissioned by the Bowman Family Foundation, researchers found that along with payment disparities, which occur in 46 out of 50 states, “out-of-network” use of addiction and mental health treatment providers by consumers is extremely high when compared to medical and surgical providers. This perfect storm of factors reveals that patients are being forced into more costly out-of-network care, and can mean that treatment is abandoned altogether. When taken together, the analysis paints a stark picture of restricted access to affordable and much-needed addiction and mental health care in an era of escalating suicide rates...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
193 Hits
0 Comments

Drug Use Disorder vs. Drug Misuse - What is the Difference?

Disorder
In 2016, approximately 2.1 million Americans over the age of 11 suffered from addiction to opioids such as the prescription pain medications OxyContin and Vicodin or the illegal drug heroin. Yet, 11.8 million people – nearly six times as many – reported misusing opioids, primarily prescription medications. Although it does not receive the same media attention as addiction – clinically known as opioid use disorder - this startling figure highlights a serious yet often overlooked problem within our society: the issue of opioid misuse. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “DRUG USE DISORDER” AND “DRUG MISUSE”? As the clinical term for drug addiction, drug use disorder (DUD) describes a complex disease that affects both the brain and the body. DUD, characterized by the compulsive use of one or more drugs, such as opioids, despite serious health and social consequences, typically develops during an individual’s adolescence and may affect him/her for an...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
722 Hits
0 Comments

Statement from The NIH Director on Combating the Opioid Crisis with Scientific Solutions

collins-portrait_1
Opioid misuse and addiction is an urgent and rapidly evolving public health crisis. An estimated 2 million Americans are addicted to opioids, and approximately 25 million suffer daily from chronic pain. The urgency and scale of this crisis calls for innovative scientific solutions, from prevention to intervention and treatment. Today, the President declared America's opioid crisis a public health emergency. The National Institutes of Health is committed to bringing the full power of the biomedical research enterprise to bear on this crisis. That effort ranges from basic science of the complex neurological pathways involved in pain and addiction, to services and implementation science to develop and test treatment models, to integrating behavioral interventions with medication-assisted therapy, to forging strategic partnerships to advance safer, non-addictive treatments for pain. In 2016, NIH spent $483 million on pain research ranging from cell and molecular mechanisms of acute and chronic pain, to safe, effective...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
480 Hits
0 Comments

New York and New Jersey Governors Launch Efforts to Combat Addiction

Combat-addiction
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a series of aggressive new actions to combat the fentanyl crisis in communities across New York State. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie Allocated $200 million to fight opioid crisis in the state Governor Cuomo will advance legislation to add 11 fentanyl analogs to the state controlled substances schedule, giving law enforcement the ability to go after the dealers who manufacture and sell. To further protect New Yorkers, the Governor is also directing the New York State Department of Financial Services to take immediate action to advise insurers against placing arbitrary limits on the number of naloxone doses covered by an insurance plan. As fentanyl can be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and it can take multiple doses of naloxone to reverse a fentanyl overdose, this new measure will ensure access to adequate doses of overdose reversal medication and save lives. In...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
426 Hits
0 Comments

Why You Shouldn't Use the Word "Addict"

Help
Addiction is a disease. It's important that we use language that frames it as a health issue and shows respect to people with an addiction and to their families who are impacted. Just like we would with any other disease, like diabetes or asthma. A person shouldn’t be defined or labeled by his or her disease or illness, it is something they have. For example: Instead of calling someone a “diabetic,” it’s preferable to use person-first language and say “someone with diabetes.” The same goes with the word “addict.” We have a choice when we communicate. We can use words that perpetuate the negative stigma around substance use – words that label people with an addiction in a negative, shameful and judgmental way. Or we can use words that are compassionate, supportive and respectful – words that helps others understand substance use disorder as the health issue that it is....
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
1668 Hits
0 Comments

Teens at Elite High Schools May Face Increased Addiction Risk as Young Adults

Teens-with-cigs
Teens who attend elite high schools may face an increased risk of addiction as young adults compared with national norms, a new study suggests. Researchers assessed more than 500 students from affluent communities starting when they were high school seniors through age 27. They found rates of addiction to drugs or alcohol among 19 to 24 percent of women by age 26—three times the national average—and 23 to 40 percent among men—twice the national average. The researchers said possible reasons for the increased addiction rate include pressure to succeed, having the money needed to buy drugs, alcohol and high-quality fake IDs, widespread peer approval of substance use, and parents’ lack of awareness, HealthDa y reports. “Paradoxical though it may seem, these ostensibly privileged youth, many of who start experimenting early and often with drinking and drugs, could well be among the groups at highest risk for alcoholism and addiction in...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
808 Hits
0 Comments

Heroin Hearse Brings Addiction Awareness to County

salem-heroin-1100x825
The Heroin Hearse treks across interstates from its home-base in Huntington, West Virginia into eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, delivering a fiercely frank message on the tailgate: “Heroin Kills, is this your last ride?” In May 2016, a 6-year-old boy strapped inside a hot vehicle, his father passed out from an overdose, compelled Dwayne Woods to act. “I’ll never forget that child (Kenny) as his arms wrapped around my neck and his tears running down my back,” Woods said. “We’re advocates for children, we’re getting the word out.” He saved the child and today the Heroin Hearse, owned by Woods, roams the streets, collecting teddy bears to give to children in a new “Bears for Kenny” project. Last February, he bought a 1988 Buick hearse with the intent of cutting off the top and hauling motorcycles in it – then he heard a reports of drug overdoses. With his partner,...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
1813 Hits
0 Comments

Unemployment and Addiction

Unemployment and Addiction
One of the major themes of the 2016 presidential election was employment. The issue of high unemployment in certain areas of the country rose to national prominence and President Trump promised to bring jobs to these communities. Various causes were cited for unemployment, including globalization, trade agreements, technology, and regulations. Yet there was one contributing factor that was not discussed: addiction. How are addiction and unemployment related? Late last year, Alan Krueger, an economist, published Where Have All the Workers Gone? This paper found that a large number of unemployed men of working age were taking prescription opioids. While the paper did not examine rates of substance use disorders, it is likely that there are higher rates of opioid addiction among this population. Addiction frequently prevents individuals from participating in active employment. In fact, untreated addiction creates a tremendous drag on the economy. If creating more jobs and improving the...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
1482 Hits
0 Comments