Biotech Company Develops Genetic Test Aims To Identify People at Risk for Opioid Addiction

Biotech Company Develops Genetic Test Aims To Identify People at Risk for Opioid Addiction
Proove Bioscience, in Irvine, California, has developed a cheek-swab DNA test that, coupled with a questionnaire, identifies a person’s risk of becoming addicted, reports CBS Los Angeles. The California-based biotech company says that it’s DNA test can take on the nation’s opioid epidemic by identify patients who are genetically predisposed to becoming addicted to painkillers. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, nearly 2 million people were addicted to pain medication in 2014, and close to 19,000 died from painkiller overdoses, That year, more people died from drug overdoses than ever before, and six out of ten of those deaths involved opioids, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many areas, the opioid drug crisis continues to grow. Opioid addiction commonly begins in the doctor’s office, when physicians write prescriptions for patients, recent reports suggest. Patients predisposed to addiction do not know they’re more at...
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Many Doctors Who Prescribe Buprenorphine Could Be Treating More Patients

Many Doctors Who Prescribe Buprenorphine Could Be Treating More Patients
Many doctors who are allowed to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction are treating many fewer patients than they could be, a new study finds. More than 20 percent of doctors who have government waivers to prescribe buprenorphine treated three or fewer patients, and fewer than 10 percent treated more than 75 patients, NPR reports. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , was conducted when doctors were allowed to treat up to 30 patients at a time for the first year, and then up to 100 patients after that. This summer, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced doctors will now be able to treat up to 275 patients if they have additional credentialing in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry from a specialty medical board and/or professional society, or practice in what the HHS deems a qualified setting.
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Kratom Will Become Schedule I Drug

Kratom Will Become Schedule I Drug
The Drug Enforcement Administration announced kratom, a plant-based drug with opioid-like effects, will become a Schedule I drug. Kratom has long been considered an herbal supplement, USA Today reports. Schedule I drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse and to have no currently accepted medical treatment use. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned kratom is an emerging public health threat. Kratom can lead to psychosis, seizures and death, the CDC said. “Law enforcement nationwide has seized more kratom in the first half of 2016 than any previous year and easily accounts for millions of dosages intended for the recreational market,” the DEA said in a news release.
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Moderate to Severe Pain Linked With Increased Risk of Opioid Addiction

Moderate to Severe Pain Linked With Increased Risk of Opioid Addiction
A new study finds people with moderate to severe pain have a 41 percent higher risk of opioid addiction, compared to those without pain. Columbia University researchers surveyed more than 34,000 Americans, HealthDay reports. Males and younger adults were at increased risk for opioid abuse, the researchers report in the American Journal of Psychiatry . “In evaluating patients who present with pain, physicians should also be attentive to addiction risk factors such as age, sex and personal or family history of drug abuse,” study senior author Mark Olfson, MD, MPH said in a news release. “If opioids are prescribed, it is important for clinicians to monitor their patients carefully for warning signs of opioid addiction.”
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Few Doctors Prescribe Suboxone for Medicare Patients

Few Doctors Prescribe Suboxone for Medicare Patients
A new study finds few family practice physicians are prescribing the opioid addiction treatment Suboxone for their Medicare patients. “There’s lots and lots of prescribing opioids for pain, but very little prescribing of this specific drug to treat opioid addiction,” lead researcher Dr. Anna Lembke of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic told HealthDay. Her study, published in JAMA Psychiatry , found for every 40 family practice physicians who prescribed an opioid painkiller for a Medicare patient, only one prescribed Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. The article notes more than six out of every 1,000 Medicare patients have been diagnosed with an addiction to opioids.
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Senate Passes Bill Aimed at Combating Opioid Addiction; Obama Will Sign It!

Senate Passes Bill Aimed at Combating Opioid Addiction; Obama Will Sign It!
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill aimed at combating opioid addiction. The White House said President Obama will sign the legislation, Reuters reports. The measure, called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), passed 92-2. The U.S. House previously approved the bill. CARA aims to help communities develop treatment and overdose programs, the article notes. It also will provide training for emergency personnel in administering the overdose antidote naloxone, and will help communities buy it. In a statement, the White House said while the bill falls far short of necessary funding, President Obama will sign it “because some action is better than none.” “Today’s strong bipartisan vote is a victory for American families who are struggling with the disease of addiction,” bill co-sponsor Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said in a news release. “This is a historic moment, the first time in decades that Congress has passed comprehensive addiction...
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Wristband Biosensors May Help Track Relapses in People in Recovery

Wristband Biosensors May Help Track Relapses in People in Recovery
A new study suggests wristband biosensors may be useful in tracking relapses in people in recovery from opioid addiction. The biosensors track how the body reacts to opioids. The study included 30 patients in a hospital emergency room, who were given intravenous opioid painkillers for acute pain. Each patient received a wristband biosensor, which measured the body’s response to the drugs. Some participants used opioids daily, while others rarely or never used the drugs. Researchers were able to use the biosensors to identify when an opioid was injected into a patient, by detecting less body movement and an increase in skin temperature, Medical Daily reports. People who used opioids daily had fewer changes in movement, compared to people who rarely or never used opioids. This information could be used by doctors to track patients’ tolerance to painkillers, which could help prevent them from becoming addicted when they are being treated...
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New Technology Aims to Improve Buprenorphine Treatment in Young Adults

New Technology Aims to Improve Buprenorphine Treatment in Young Adults
When addiction treatment specialist Zev Schuman-Olivier, MD, found that young adults taking buprenorphine to treat their opioid addiction often stopped using the medication, he began looking for a novel way to address the problem. He is now testing an integrated mobile system that incorporates smartphone videoconferencing and a secure electronic medicine dispenser to allow young adults to take their daily buprenorphine at home, under remote supervision of a recovery coach. The system, called “ MySafeRx ,” allows a person taking buprenorphine at home to have a daily videoconference with a mobile recovery coach. After a recovery check-in, the coach uses the MySafeRx Android smartphone app, which has been designed to interface with the Medicasafe pill dispenser, to request a unique access code, which the coach releases through the app to the participant’s smartphone. The participant enters the code into the medicine dispenser, which then releases that day’s buprenorphine dose. By...
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In Fight Against Opioid Addiction, Congress Focuses on Treatment, Not Restricting Access

In Fight Against Opioid Addiction, Congress Focuses on Treatment, Not Restricting Access
Congress is focusing on expanding treatment for opioid addiction instead of restricting access to painkillers in its efforts to address the opioid epidemic, The New York Times reports. Legislators seem to be willing to allow opioid prescriptions to remain widely accessible, the article notes. The U.S. House, after overwhelmingly approving 18 bills last week aimed at addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, will work with the Senate to craft compromise legislation. The bills would increase prescription drug monitoring and treatment; fund efforts to dispose of prescription drugs; and assist states that want to expand the availability of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. The Senate bill would expand the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and would support treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Last month, Congress passed a measure, signed by President Obama, that limited the powers of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to go after pharmacies and...
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U.S. House Task Force Introduces Bills to Fight Opioid Addiction

U.S. House Task Force Introduces Bills to Fight Opioid Addiction
A bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives presented 15 bills aimed at fighting opioid addiction, according to The Hill. The legislation introduced by the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic includes $85 million in local grants, as well as $10 million for prescription drug monitoring programs. It also includes legislation that would reform opioid prescription practices, increase access to the opioid overdose medication naloxone, and update Veterans Administration pain treatment procedures. In March, the U.S. Senate voted 94-1 to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The measure authorizes funds for various drug treatment and prevention programs for a wide range of people, including those in jail. CARA expands prescription drug take-back programs and establishes monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers. It expands the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and supports treatment as an alternative to incarceration. The...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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