Tag Archives: overdose

What We Are Reading This Week From Across the Nation

A lot of reporting in the treatment space over the past few days, and we appreciate the Kaiser Family Foundation for aggregating the stories so we can provide them to you here.

  1. Drug Overdose from Fentanyl Spinning Out of ControlThe New York Times: The First Count Of Fentanyl Deaths In 2016: Up 540% In Three Years
    Drug overdoses killed roughly 64,000 people in the United States last year, according to the first governmental account of nationwide drug deaths to cover all of 2016. It’s a staggering rise of more than 22 percent over the 52,404 drug deaths recorded the previous year — and even higher than The New York Times’s estimate in June, which was based on earlier preliminary data. (Katz, 9/2)
  2. Controversial Nomination for Director of Office of National Drug Control Policy
    Stat: Trump Nominates Republican Congressman Tom Marino As Drug Czar 
    President Trump on Friday nominated Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy as the nation’s “drug czar,” months after he had officially withdrawn from consideration. Marino, an attorney who has served in the House of Representatives since 2011, has a lengthy track record of supporting enforcement-side drug policy as well as improved drug treatment. (Facher, 9/2)
  3. Abuse of OTC Drugs Can Be Harmful As Well
    The New York Times: Opioids Aren’t The Only Pain Drugs To Fear 
    Last month, a White House panel declared the nation’s epidemic of opioid abuse and deaths “a national public health emergency,” a designation usually assigned to natural disasters. A disaster is indeed what it is, with 142 Americans dying daily from drug overdoses, a fourfold increase since 1999, more than the number of people killed by gun homicides and vehicular crashes combined. A 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 3.8 million Americans use opioids for nonmedical reasons every month. (Brody, 9/4)
  4. Private Equity Continues Investment in Drug Treatment Facilities in 2017
    The Wall Street Journal: Private-Equity Pours Cash Into Opioid-Treatment Sector 
    Private-equity firms are piling into a new business opportunity: the opioid addiction crisis. Drawn by soaring demand, expanded insurance coverage and the chance to consolidate a highly fragmented market, firms plowed $2.9 billion into treatment facilities last year, up from $11.4 million in 2011, according to research firm PitchBook Data Inc. The number of private-equity deals rose to 45 from 25. (Whalen and Cooper, 9/2)
  5. The Science of Addiction – Do We Finally Have the Tech to See Inside the Brain?
    The Washington Post: Addiction And The Brain 
    Today’s war on drugs isn’t fought by first ladies or celebrity advocates. Armed with MRI machines, electromagnetic pulses and experimental drugs, scientists are on the battle’s front lines. In the cover story of September’s National Geographic, Fran Smith explores the different fronts of a war being fought in laboratories and universities all over the world. Armed with the tools of science and with the help of people who struggle with addictions to substances and self-destructive behavior, researchers are working to unravel the mysteries of the addicted brain. (Blakemore, 9/2)
  6. Crystalmeth Continues Its Journey Outside Rural America and Into Our Cities.
    The Wall Street Journal: Drug Traffickers Push Meth Into New York City  
    Mexican traffickers are supplying the New York City area with methamphetamine, attempting to create new clients in what historically has been a weak market for the drug. “The Mexican cartels have been sending loads up to New York and telling traffickers, ‘See if you can get customers,’ ” said James Hunt, special agent-in-charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York division. “They want to create an addict population.” (Ramey, 9/4)
  7. Vivitrol Marketing Continues to Capture the Attention of State Funded Programs.
    New Orleans Times-Picayune: Louisiana Prisons Start Administering New Drug To Treat Opioid Addicts  
    The use of Vivitrol is the latest trend in opioid treatment. In the first quarter of 2017, Vivitrol sales totaled $58 million, a 33 percent increase over the previous year, according to a June report by ProPublica. Several state prisons, including those in Illinois, Wyoming and Wisconsin, started administering the drug to inmates last year. Even more drug courts and local jails are using it: ProPublica tallied up more than 450 public Vivitrol initiatives in 39 states. (O’Donoghue, 9/1)
  8. The War on Drugs and Caring for the Addicted Inmate.
    The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore County Facing Higher Costs For Inmate Care Due To Addiction, Mental Health Services  
    The cost of providing medical care for inmates at the Baltimore County jail in Towson is rising more than 50 percent — several million dollars a year — due primarily to an increase in inmates and detainees with opioid addiction, mental illness or chronic diseases. The County Council is set to vote Tuesday on a contract for a private company, PrimeCare Medical, to manage medical, dental and behavioral health treatment for the jail’s roughly 1,200 inmates. (Wood, 9/5)
  9. Recovery High Schools – the Continuation of Recovery Educated-Based Programs.
    St. Louis Public Radio: New Missouri High School Will Help Teens Struggling With Addiction Avoid Temptations 
    Teens who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse face many temptations after complete treatment. A new private high school opening soon in suburban St. Louis will offer them an educational environment free of some of those potential triggers. (Delaney, 9/4)
  10. Is Insurance Also to Blame for Addiction?
    Idaho Statesman: Insurers Tell Idaho Pain Patients: Try More-Addictive Drugs 
    In at least three cases, patients with Regence BlueShield of Idaho plans were denied Radnovich’s choice of a Butrans patch — a long-acting version of the opioid buprenorphine that is “Schedule III,” with a “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” Instead of the patch, Regence was willing to pay for a fentanyl patch or morphine tablets. (Dutton, 9/4)

Teens Now Succumbing to the Opioid Epidemic in Record Numbers

A new report out from the CDC on Wednesday morning highlights the dramatic shifts in overdose deaths among teens ages 15 to 19.

After more than doubling between 1999 and 2007, the overdose death rate among that group dropped 26 percent between 2008 and 2014. But the rate dramatically rose in 2015.

Opioids — and specifically, heroin — were the primary cause of drug overdoses among adolescents in 2015.

Key findings from the National Vital Statistics System

  • The death rate due to drug overdose among adolescents aged 15–19 more than doubled from 1999 (1.6 per 100,000) to 2007 (4.2), declined by 26% from 2007 to 2014 (3.1), and then increased in 2015 (3.7).
  • The drug overdose death rate increased between 1999 and the mid-2000s for both males and females but only males had a subsequent decline between 2007 and 2014.
  • For both male and female adolescents, the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2015 were unintentional.
  • Death rates for drug overdoses among those aged 15–19 in 2015 were highest for opioids, specifically heroin.

Meanwhile, as the opioid epidemic rages on, the lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors continue to pile up. South Carolina’s attorney general just filed a lawsuit against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, alleging that the company used shady marketing tactics that contributed to the epidemic. And in Cincinnati, city officials are suing three major prescription drug distributors, alleging that they broke a federal law that requires them to report suspicious opioid orders.

At this juncture, we remain sadly pessimistic that the Trump Administration is not going to fulfill cornerstone campaign promises to tackle the epidemic head-on. The recent declaration of national health emergency did send an important message of acknowledgement, and hopefully will expedite access to resources and different tools to respond, those resources are often only available to the indigent and underserved areas. This could be used to staff up or train providers for medication-assisted treatment, which is considered the gold standard for opioid addiction care. Or it could be used to waive state licensing requirements for doctors, letting addiction specialists go into areas that currently don’t have enough access to such care.

But for the balance of the nation, it may not mean much.

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s drug death. The science of addiction, recovery, and relapse.

An excellent article just sent to me by someone I have come to consider a friend:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/02/philip_seymour_hoffman_s_drug_death_the_science_of_addiction_recovery_and.html

It¹s impossible to know what led Hoffman to start using after so many years of sobriety. After he opened a portal to that vortex of chemical relief, however, it doesn’t surprise me at all that he couldn¹t heave himself out in time to save his life.