More Older Adults Becoming Addicted to Opioid Painkillers

More Older Adults Becoming Addicted to Opioid Painkillers
A growing number of older adults are becoming addicted to opioid painkillers, The New York Times reports. They are using the pills to deal with the aches and pains of aging and the anxiety that can come with retirement. “They’ve built a fortress around themselves,” said Joseph Garbely, Medical Director of Caron Treatment Centers. “Their resources allow them to advance in their addiction without detection. So the addiction progresses.” He notes that signs of addiction such as confusion, shaky hands and mood swings are often thought to be symptoms of aging. It can be difficult to detox older adults from prescription drugs, Dr. Garbely said. “They have to be monitored and slowly withdrawn. Opioid withdrawal won’t kill you, but you’ll wish you were dead.” After a lifetime of achievement, the loss of self-worth that may come with retirement may spark an addiction, said Brenda J. Iliff, Executive Director of Hazelden...
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Study Links Opioid Painkillers With Higher Risk of Early Death From Heart Risks

Study Links Opioid Painkillers With Higher Risk of Early Death From Heart Risks
A new study finds people who have been prescribed opioid painkillers have a higher risk of early death compared with patients given other pain medications. Much of the increased risk is due to cardiovascular complications, HealthDay reports. Patients given opioid painkillers were 64 percent more likely to die early for any reason, and 65 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular complications, compared with patients given other painkillers, researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee found. Complications that led to early death included breathing difficulties during sleep, heart rhythm irregularities and other cardiovascular complications. “We were not surprised by the increased risk for overdose deaths, which is well known,” said study author Wayne Ray. “However, the large increase in cardiovascular death risk is a novel finding.” The researchers analyzed data from almost 23,000 patients collected between 1999 and 2012. The patients, whose average age was 48, had just been prescribed...
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Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Linked to 30% Drop in Opioid Prescribing

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Linked to 30% Drop in Opioid Prescribing
States that use prescription drug monitoring programs have seen a 30 percent decrease in the rate of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers, a new study finds. “This reduction was seen immediately following the launch of the program and was maintained in the second and third years afterward,” the researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs . NBC News reports the researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York are not certain why the programs reduce opioid prescriptions. “It is possible that the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program by itself substantially raised awareness among prescribers about controlled substance misuse and abuse and made them more cautious when prescribing pain medications with a great potential for abuse and dependency,” they wrote. “It is also possible that knowing that their prescribing was being ‘watched’ deterred them from prescribing Schedule II opioids to some extent,” they added. According to the Drug...
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Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers on the Decline

Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers on the Decline
The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers is declining in the United States, a sign that the opioid epidemic may be peaking, The New York Times reports. Opioid prescriptions decreased in 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the newspaper’s review of several data sources. Before that, doctors were writing so many opioid prescriptions that there were enough for every American adult to have their own bottle, the article notes. The decline indicates that doctors have begun listening to warnings about the drugs’ addictive potential, and that government efforts to reduce opioid prescriptions are having an effect, experts say. “The culture is changing,” said Dr. Bruce Psaty, a researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, who studies drug safety. “We are on the downside of a curve with opioid prescribing now.” According to the information firm IMS Health, there has been a 12 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions nationwide since...
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Opioid Painkillers Will Have to Carry “Black Box” Warning

Opioid Painkillers Will Have to Carry “Black Box” Warning
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CDC Releases Guidelines for Doctors Designed to Reduce Opioid Prescribing

CDC Releases Guidelines for Doctors Designed to Reduce Opioid Prescribing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines Tuesday that recommend primary care providers avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for patients with chronic pain, according to USA Today . The risks from opioids greatly outweigh the benefits for most people, the CDC says. Primary care providers write nearly half of all opioid prescriptions, according to the CDC. The new guidelines are designed for primary care doctors who treat adult patients for chronic pain in outpatient settings. They are not meant for guiding treatment of patients in active cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care, the agency said. Doctors who determine that opioid painkillers are needed should prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time, the guidelines state. “More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “Overprescribing opioids—largely...
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Opioid Abuse Leading to More Children Sent Into Foster Care

Opioid Abuse Leading to More Children Sent Into Foster Care
More children are being sent into foster care as a result of the abuse of heroin and opioid painkillers, The Wall Street Journal reports. Officials say opioid abuse is straining child welfare agencies. The number of children in foster care in the United States rose 3.5 percent from 2013 to 2014, reaching 415,129 in September 2014. While national data do not measure how many children arrive in foster care because of their parents’ drug use, some state and local officials say opioid addiction is a likely factor in the increase. Experts tell the newspaper the overprescribing of opioid painkillers, along with a cheap and plentiful supply of heroin, has contributed to the crisis. A Vermont state survey found opioid use was a factor in 80 percent of cases in which a child under age 3 was taken into custody. Governor Peter Shumlin said the number of children under the custody...
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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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