Study Finds Systematic Efforts May Help Reduce Opioid Doses

Study Finds Systematic Efforts May Help Reduce Opioid Doses
Systematic efforts may help lower the level of opioids that patients use, a new study concludes. These steps include educating prescribers and limiting doses for patients prescribed chronic opioid therapy. The study found taking these steps also raises awareness among doctors and patients of the potential dangers of opioids, MedicalXpress reports. The study included 514 patients prescribed long-term opioid treatment. In one group of patients, an aggressive program to educate doctors, patients, and promote safe tapering of opioid doses helped 37 percent of patients taper their doses to what is considered a safer level—120 milligrams daily of “morphine equivalent.” In many cases, patient doses were cut almost in half. Women were less successful with opioid tapering, the article notes. Patients who took substantially lower opioid doses did not report higher levels of pain. The researchers noted that one year after the opioid tapering program was introduced, only a minority of...
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Shortage of Opioid Treatment in Vermont Mirrors National Problem

Shortage of Opioid Treatment in Vermont Mirrors National Problem
Almost 500 people in Vermont are on waiting lists to receive medication to treat their opioid dependence, Stateline reports. More than half will wait almost a full year. Vermont has 248 doctors licensed to prescribe buprenorphine, the article notes. Most treat only their existing patients who have opioid dependence. Last month, Stateline reported that despite the rising rate of addiction to opioids, a relatively small number of doctors nationwide are authorized and willing to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction. Fewer than 32,000 doctors are authorized to prescribe the treatment, and most doctors with a license to prescribe buprenorphine seldom, if ever, use it. In contrast, more than 900,000 U.S. doctors can write prescriptions for painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. Studies have found that opioid addiction medicines like buprenorphine, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, offer a much higher chance of recovery than treatments not...
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Police Try New Approach to Heroin Crisis

Police Try New Approach to Heroin Crisis
A growing number of police departments are trying new approaches to battling the heroin epidemic, the Associated Press reports. Instead of simply arresting people, they are helping steer people into treatment. In Colerain Township in Ohio, a “Quick Response Team” includes police officers, paramedics and addiction counselors. Dan Meloy, the township’s Public Safety Director, told the AP the program appears to be having an impact already. When the program started last July, Meloy thought the township would end up with more than 200 overdoses in 2015. By the end of the year, there were 167 overdoses. The program is also helping to reduce other crimes, Meloy noted. “They’re not breaking into their neighbors’ sheds, they’re not robbing the local stores, they’re not stealing from their families trying to feed their habit,” he said. John Tharp, sheriff in Lucas County, Ohio, says some people object to this new approach, and say...
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White House Asks for More Than $1 Billion in New Funding for Opioid Addiction Treatment

White House Asks for More Than $1 Billion in New Funding for Opioid Addiction Treatment
President Obama is asking for more than $1 billion in new funding to address the opioid epidemic, USA Today reports. The funding would expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use. Under the proposal, the new funds would be used to help people with an opioid use disorder to seek and successfully complete treatment and sustain recovery. It would expand access to substance use treatment providers and to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. The funds will be included in the fiscal year 2017 budget request, the article notes. They include $920 million to support agreements with states to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. States can use these funds to expand treatment and lower the cost of services. Fifty million dollars would be used to expand access to 700 substance use treatment providers in areas that need mental health treatment the most, while...
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Two Senators Call on Congress to Fund Effort to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Two Senators Call on Congress to Fund Effort to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Two U.S. senators are calling on Congress to pass an emergency spending bill to combat the growing opioid epidemic, according to The Hill . Senators Angus King of Maine and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire are asking for $600 million in funding. Senator Shaheen introduced legislation last year that would provide supplemental funding, including $225 million for the Department of Justice to increase spending for state and local initiatives on drug treatment and law enforcement programs. That amount would include $25 million to assist state drug task forces in dealing with particularly high rates of heroin abuse. The measure would provide $375 million to the Department of Health and Human Services to fund programs to prevent substance abuse and prescription drug overdoses. The funds would also go toward research on drug addiction, and programs targeting underage drinking and drug abuse among young people ages 12 to 25. Earlier this month,...
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FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Buprenorphine Implant to Treat Addiction

FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Buprenorphine Implant to Treat Addiction
An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended recently that the agency approve the buprenorphine implant Probuphine as a treatment for opioid addiction. The FDA is not required to follow their advisory panels’ advice, but usually does so. Probuphine provides a steady dose of buprenorphine, which eases withdrawal symptoms, decreases cravings and reduces the risk of relapse, according to USA Today . Buprenorphine is currently sold as a pill or dissolvable film placed under the tongue. Patients can get buprenorphine at a doctor’s office. Physicians who prescribe the drug must be certified to dispense it. They are only permitted to treat 100 patients at the time, the article notes. Buprenorphine is generally considered to be safer than methadone, because it is less likely to cause an overdose, the newspaper reports. About one million people took buprenorphine in 2012, according to the FDA. Probuphine consists of four rods...
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People May Drink More During Recession Even If They Retain Their Job

People May Drink More During Recession Even If They Retain Their Job
Economic downturns can lead to greater rates of drinking even among people who hold onto their jobs, a new study suggests. Previous research has shown people who lose their jobs during a recession are more likely to drink. Researchers at the University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions studied the rate of alcohol use among people who remained employed during the recession of 2007-2009. Study author Michael Frone, PhD compared the results of two phone surveys. One survey of 2,501 employees was conducted in 2002 and 2003, before the recession. The other survey included 2,581 employees, who were questioned during and after the recession, between 2008 and 2011. He found alcohol use and excessive drinking outside of work increased during the recession. Drinking at work was reduced after the recession, compared with before the economic downturn, Medical News Today reports. The findings are published in the journal Psychology of Addictive...
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Medicaid Proposes to Cover 15 Days of Inpatient Addiction Treatment Per Month

Medicaid Proposes to Cover 15 Days of Inpatient Addiction Treatment Per Month
Medicaid would cover 15 days of inpatient addiction treatment per month under a new proposed plan by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the program. Inpatient rehab would be covered for anyone enrolled in a Medicaid managed care plan. Until now, people on Medicaid generally have had to rely on funds from state and local sources for drug or alcohol treatment, NPR reports. Some treatment providers say the plan doesn’t go far enough. “Where they came up with the 15 days, I don’t know, but it’s not based on research,” said Mike Harle, head of the nonprofit treatment program Gaudenzia, which serves about 20,000 patients a year in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He said 15 days is not enough to achieve a positive outcome. “Do you know how expensive that would be, with no outcome?” he said. Pennsylvania uses a provision in federal law to receive federal...
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Treatment Admissions Increase for Heroin and Painkillers

Treatment Admissions Increase for Heroin and Painkillers
A growing number of Americans are seeking treatment for addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers, while alcohol-related treatment admissions are declining, according to a new report. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found 19 percent of admissions to publicly funded substance-use treatment programs were related to heroin in 2013, up from 15 percent in 2003. Admissions for opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin increased from 3 percent to 9 percent during that period, HealthDay reports. Alcohol-related admissions declined from 42 percent to 38 percent during that period. Overall admissions decreased from almost 1.9 million to just under 1.7 million. Admissions for marijuana rose from 16 percent to 17 percent, while those for methamphetamine/amphetamines increased from 6 percent to 9 percent. Cocaine-related admissions (including crack) decreased from 14 percent to 6 percent. In 2013, 55 percent of patients admitted for treatment said they used more than one...
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Sweet Seventeen

I was 15 the first time I went through treatment. I had no idea what was going on and wasn’t ready to listen. I knew it all, and no one could tell me different. Drugs and alcohol were the only things that I thought made me happy. I was having fun. When I was 17, I came back to treatment beat up and ready to listen. I wasn’t having fun anymore. I was young and not sure if I was going to be able to stop drinking and drugging. I struggled, trying to decide if recovery is really what I wanted or if I wanted to continue to use. I was in treatment during the holidays and came up with an analogy that worked for me. I thought back to when I was a little girl and couldn’t wait to open up my Christmas presents to see what kind of toys...
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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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