Good morning, everyone.
Lots of stories on the Monday morning wire, thanks to Kaiser Health News:
As Heroin Epidemic Swells, Some States Consider Safe Injection Sites
Proponents say the facilities save lives and make it easier for users to get treatment. In other news, a growing number of states are passing legislation to address opioid addiction, PBS NewsHour looks at the growing number of babies being born going through withdrawal, and a small town’s fight against the epidemic is representative of the crisis spreading across the country.
Stateline: Are State-Sanctioned Heroin Shooting Galleries A Good Idea?
A bustling economy. Record-low unemployment. A ballooning heroin problem. That’s how Mayor Svante Myrick describes Ithaca, New York, where he hopes to open the nation’s first safe injection facility — a place where heroin users could shoot their illegal drugs under medical supervision and without fear of arrest. His proposal, part of a plan to address drug abuse in the 31,000-person college town in central New York, is not a novel idea. Safe injection sites, which also connect clients to treatment programs and offer emergency care to reverse overdoses, exist in 27 cities in other parts of the world. Some have been around for decades. (Breitenbach, 3/11)
Earlier KHN coverage: Boston’s Heroin Users Will Soon Get A Safer Place To Be High (Bebinger, 3/3)
The New York Times: States Move To Control How Painkillers Are Prescribed
A growing number of states, alarmed by the rising death toll from prescription painkillers and frustrated by a lack of federal action, are moving to limit how these drugs are prescribed. On Thursday, Massachusetts lawmakers passed a bill expected to be signed next week that would sharply restrict the number of pain pills a doctor can prescribe after surgery or an injury to a seven-day supply. Officials in Vermont and Maine are considering similar actions, and governors across the country are set to meet this summer to develop a broad approach that could reduce the use of painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. (Meier and Tavernise, 3/11)
PBS NewsHour: Detoxing After Delivery: When Babies Are Born Withdrawing From Opioids
The number of American babies born going through withdrawal from prescription painkillers and heroin used by their mothers during pregnancy, a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, increased fivefold between 2000 and 2012. (3/12)
NPR: A Small Town Wonders What To Do When Heroin Is ‘Everywhere’
The epidemic of opioid abuse that’s swept the U.S. has left virtually no community unscathed, from big cities to tiny towns. In fact, drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury death in this country: more than gun deaths; more than car crashes. There were more than 47,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes unintentional overdoses and suicides. More than half of those were from opioids, including painkillers and heroin. (Block, 3/12)
Also, the federal government gives money to two states to fund their efforts targeting opioid addiction —
The Boston Globe: $6.8 Million In New Federal Money Coming To Mass. For Drug Treatment
Twenty community health centers in Massachusetts will share $6.8 million in grants to expand substance abuse services, particularly treatment of opioid addiction, the US Health and Human Services Department announced Friday. (Freyer, 3/11)
The Seattle Times: Heroin Epidemic, Painkiller Abuse Targeted By New Federal Money For Treatment
Community health centers in Washington state have been awarded nearly $3 million of some $94 million in federal funding to fight opioid abuse and addiction, health officials announced Friday. The money was allocated through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to address the growing problem of addiction to opioids, including prescription painkillers and illicit drugs such as heroin. (Aleccia, 3/11)