St. Louis Police Saving Fewer Lives with Heroin Antidote Amid Stronger Opiates

Naloxone
The number of people that police in St. Louis have been able to save using the heroin overdose antidote naloxone, or Narcan, has declined by approximately 30 percent this year, compared to last year, according to the Associated Press . The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that nearly 90 percent of 121 overdose deaths through July of this year involved the drug fentanyl. Sometimes mixed with or sold as heroin, fentanyl is a powerful opiate that is considered stronger than heroin, making reversing an overdose from fentanyl more difficult. “The toxicity level of fentanyl is so potent, it might not be reversible,” said Spring Schmidt, director of health promotion and public health research for St. Louis County. “The potential for death is faster, and that impacts our ability to reverse an overdose.” Health officials noted that fentanyl overdoses may require more than one dose of Narcan to successfully...
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Alcohol: America’s #1 Addiction Problem

Alcoholism
More than two million Americans are addicted to opioids, ranging from the illegal drugs heroin and fentanyl to the prescription medications OxyContin and Vicodin, yet eight times as many people misuse or are addicted to a substance that is more widely available and easier to access. This substance is alcohol. Despite the fact that it has largely retreated from public consciousness in the context of the current opioid epidemic, research shows that rates of alcohol misuse and addiction are on the rise. The Rates Continue To Climb Recent reports indicate that nearly 16 million people ages 12 and older have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), better known as alcohol addiction. This represents an almost 50 percent increase from figures reported just 10 years prior. Additionally, the number of people who engage in high-risk drinking (more than five drinks at a given time for men, four for women) increased by nearly...
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DEA Releases 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment

Heroin
  DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson recently announced results of the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), which outlines the threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs. “This report underscores the scope and magnitude of the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States,” said Acting Administrator Patterson. “The information in the report represents data gathered over the past year, but of critical importance is the real time information we get every day from our partners. It has never been a more important time to use all the tools at our disposal to fight this epidemic, and we must remain steadfast in our mission to combat all dangerous drugs of abuse.” Over the past 10 years, the drug landscape in the United States has shifted, with the opioid threat – including controlled prescription drugs (CPDs), fentanyl and other synthetic opioids,...
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Fentanyl is a Major Cause of Increase in Heroin-Related Deaths

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Half of the increase in deaths involving heroin after 2013 can be attributed to heroin mixed with fentanyl, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 33,000 people died of an opioid overdose in the United States in 2015, HealthDay reports. Opioid overdoses accounted for 63 percent of drug overdose deaths in the United States that year. Between 2010 and 2015, heroin overdose deaths quadrupled, from 3,036 to 12,989. A second study by the CDC found about 90 percent of overdose deaths in Ohio early this year involved fentanyl or a chemically related substance. Only 6 percent involved heroin. Young Men and Women’s Brains DO Not Function the Same after Heavy Alcohol Use According to a recent article in Science Daily , Scientists have found that brain functions in young men and women are changed by long-term alcohol use, but that these changes...
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NDEWS Report Finds Shift in Patterns of Heroin Poisoning Death

Heroin
National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) recently issued a report titled “Geospatial Analysis of Drug Poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin in the USA, 2000–2014”. The report found that the geographic pattern of poisoning deaths involving heroin has shifted from the west coast of the USA in the year 2000 to New England, the MidAtlantic region, and the Great Lakes and central Ohio Valley by 2014. The evolution over space and time of clusters of drug poisoning deaths involving heroin is confirmed through the SaTScan analysis. For this period, White males were found to be the most impacted population group overall; however, Blacks and Hispanics are highly impacted in counties where significant populations of these two groups reside. Their results show that while 35–54-year-olds were the most highly impacted age group by county from 2000 to 2010, by 2014, the trend had changed with an increasing number of counties experiencing higher death...
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Percentage of Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Heroin Tripled in Five Years

Percentage of Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Heroin Tripled in Five Years
A new government report finds 25 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2015 involved heroin, triple the percentage in 2010. The National Center for Health Statistics found the percentage of overdose deaths from prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone decreased to 24 percent in 2015, from 29 percent in 2010, Reuters reports. Cocaine was associated with 13 percent of overdose deaths in 2015, up from 11 percent in 2010. The four states with the highest drug overdose deaths in 2015 were West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio. Overdose death rates increased for all groups, but the sharpest increase was among those ages 55 to 64.
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California Reports More Young Adults Ending Up in ER Because of Heroin

California Reports More Young Adults Ending Up in ER Because of Heroin
A growing number of Californians in their 20s are ending up in the emergency room because of heroin, according to the Los Angeles Daily News . In the first three months of last year, 412 adults ages 20 to 29 went to the emergency room in California because of heroin—double the number for the same period in 2012. While heroin-related emergency room visits increased among all ages, the largest increase was among young adults. According to Dr. Crescenzo Pisano, an internist who specializes in addiction and addiction medicine at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in San Pedro, young people start misusing prescription opioids and then turn to heroin. “People price themselves out of range,” he said. “Relatively affluent, well-to-do kids start stealing and find heroin is cheaper to use.”
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Heroin Tops the List of Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Overdose Deaths

Heroin Tops the List of Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Overdose Deaths
Heroin was the drug most often involved in overdose deaths between 2010 and 2014, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other drugs commonly involved in overdoses included oxycodone, methadone, morphine, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium). More than 47,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses in 2014, up from more than 38,000 in 2010. “Opioids are responsible for a disproportionate number of injuries and deaths,” Dr. Caleb Alexander, a co-director for the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, told ABC News . “It’s only natural that policymakers and public health officials focus on opioids.”
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Powerful Heroin Substitute Called Pink Being Sold Online

Powerful Heroin Substitute Called Pink Being Sold Online
An increasingly popular synthetic opioid known as Pink is being sold online, according to NBC News . Only four states—Florida, Ohio, Wyoming and Georgia—have banned the drug, also known as U-47700. Pink is eight times stronger than heroin, the article notes. The drug, along with other synthetic opioids, is being shipped into the United States from China and other countries. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) told NBC News it is aware of confirmed deaths associated with the drug in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. Last month the agency gave notice of its intent to classify the drug temporarily as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The temporary ban gives the DEA three years to research whether the drug should be permanently controlled.
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One Million People Use Heroin in U.S., Almost Triple the 2003 Rate

One Million People Use Heroin in U.S., Almost Triple the 2003 Rate
An estimated one million people used heroin in the United States in 2014, almost triple the 2003 rate, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Heroin-related deaths have increased five-fold since 2000, the World Drug Report 2016 found. Heroin use is at its highest level in 20 years in the United States, CBS News reports. The report calls the rise in heroin use in some regions of the world alarming. “While the challenges posed by new psychoactive substances remain a serious concern, heroin continues to be the drug that kills the most people. This resurgence must be addressed urgently,” the report concludes. Western and Central Europe have also been hit hard by heroin use and overdose deaths in the last two years, the report notes. There was a sharp global decrease in opium production in 2015, but that is unlikely to lead to...
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