Surgeon General Will Release Report on Addiction This Fall

Surgeon General Will Release Report on Addiction This Fall
The U.S. Surgeon General will release a report this fall on substance use, addiction and health, according to Medscape . It will be the first such report since U.S. surgeons began issuing them in 1964. The report will cover topics including prescription drug use, as well as the use of alcohol and other substances, said U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD. Murthy said the report will “bring together the best available science on prevention, treatment, and recovery, so we can equip our healthcare providers with the tools they need to take the best possible care of patients.” He told the Association of Health Care Journalists this week that his office will soon send letters to 1.1 million physicians, nurses, dentists and others who prescribe opioids, urging them to increase their efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. The letter will ask prescribers to identify patients at risk for addiction, connect patients...
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Researchers Study Wearable Device to Track Drug Addiction Relapses

Researchers Study Wearable Device to Track Drug Addiction Relapses
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School are testing a wearable device that may help track drug addiction relapses. The E4 Empatica wristband device measures temperature, heartbeat, motion and skin electrical conductance, according to Business Insider . The measurements are taken 30 times per second. Knowing the time addicts tend to relapse, and the effect the relapse has on their bodies, can help doctors improve their methods of intervention, according to researcher Stephanie Carreiro. She has led two studies on the device. Carreiro and colleagues are searching for physiological symptoms picked up by the device that may indicate a person is about to relapse. Once these symptoms are defined, the researchers say the device could be programmed so that when it picks up these symptoms, it will send an alert to a doctor or sponsor, who can reach out before the relapse occurs. “Substance abuse happens when patients are...
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43 Percent of Americans Say Relative or Close Friend Has Substance Use Issue

43 Percent of Americans Say Relative or Close Friend Has Substance Use Issue
A new poll finds 43 percent of Americans say they have a relative or close friend with a substance use issue, and 62 percent say at least one type of substance use is a serious problem in their community, the Associated Press reports. The national Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found seven in 10 Americans believe not enough is being done to find better addiction treatment or to make treatment programs more accessible. Sixty-one percent want to see more effort made to crack down on drug dealers. The poll found 61 percent of respondents said they support legalizing marijuana. One-third endorse legalization with no restrictions, while 43 percent say there should be restrictions on purchase amounts. One-quarter of those who support legalization only approve of its use when prescribed by a doctor. Only 21 percent of respondents said all or most doctors and dentists regularly prescribe painkillers...
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Veterans With Pain, PTSD and Substance Use Disorders May Benefit from Buprenorphine

Veterans With Pain, PTSD and Substance Use Disorders May Benefit from Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine may be more effective than opioid therapy in treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans struggling with chronic pain, PTSD and substance use disorders, a new study suggests. Researchers found twice as many veterans treated with buprenorphine experienced improvement in PTSD symptoms, beginning at eight months and improving up to 24 months. In contrast, symptoms worsened for veterans treated with opioids, Medscape reports. The study included 382 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who were diagnosed with chronic pain, PTSD and substance use disorders. The researchers found 23.7 percent of veterans in the buprenorphine group experienced significant improvement in PTSD symptoms, compared with 11.7 percent of those treated with moderately high doses of opioids. “We rarely see patients who have isolated, chronic pain; and, for that matter we rarely see patients who have isolated PTSD or isolated opioid use disorder,” said lead author Karen Seal, MD,...
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Advocates Call for Judgment-Free Language When Speaking of Addiction

Advocates Call for Judgment-Free Language When Speaking of Addiction
A number of researchers and advocates are calling attention to the language of addiction, and the need for using medical terms free of judgment, The Boston Globe reports. These advocates say that commonly used words such as “junkie,” “abuser,” “substance abuse” and “addict” can increase the stigma surrounding addiction. They argue that such language can discourage people from seeking help and lead health professionals to treat patients harshly. “The biggest thing we trade in is hope,” said Dr. Barbara Herbert, Massachusetts Chapter President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. “Our biggest enemy is hopelessness. That’s why I think language matters a lot.” Advocates do not uniformly agree on which words are most harmful, and which words should be used instead. The terms “substance abuse” and “drug abuse” are part of titles of government agencies, nonprofits and scientific journals. The term “person with a substance use disorder,” preferred by some...
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The White House Tackles Opioid Addiction With New Plan

The White House Tackles Opioid Addiction With New Plan
President Obama traveled to West Virginia this week to announce steps to curb the rise in deaths from prescription drug overdoses. He is mandating more training of federal doctors and requiring federal health insurance plans to treat addiction, reported The New York Times . In the Times article, a White House official stated that they had “identified prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse as critical problems.” Previously, the Obama administration has worked to address excessive prescribing practices, being mindful that patients experiencing pain, like those suffering from cancer, can get the medicine they need. Currently, the federal government does not regulate the practice of medicine, and only West Virginia and nine other states require specialized training for doctors who prescribe opioids. Deaths from prescription drug abuse total to more than 20,000 people in the United States each year, making it the country’s leading cause of death by injury. Recently, this...
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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.
The merged organization will be called:

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