U.S. Drug Overdoses Soar Past 60,000

From Get Smart About Drugs:

In 2016, there were more than 63,000 deadly drug overdoses in the nation, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control.

The staggering overdose rate is three times the rate of overdose deaths in 1999.

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Michigan Adopts Right to Know Law for Youth and their Parents–becoming 5th State to Pass a Conversation Requirement

From the December 27 Detroit News:

“Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed a 10-bill package Wednesday aimed at reducing Michigan’s rapidly growing opioid addiction by requiring doctors and the state to better track and control the flow of opioid-based prescription drugs.

Calley signed six bills that will collectively require doctors to use a new online prescription tracking state database, set up a legitimate doctor-patient relationship and limit the number of pills dispensed in a given seven-day period. It comes as the number of heroin and prescription opioid overdose deaths in Michigan has doubled during the past five years.”


Responsible Prescribing is the Key to Curbing Opioid Epidemic

From Thrive Global.

Opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States
by Andrew Kolodny, MD

Twenty years ago, opioid overdose deaths in the United States were rare. Today, they are the leading cause of accidental death, surpassing motor vehicle crashes. In 2016, more than 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose, a figure that exceeds in one year the total number of Americans killed during the entire Vietnam war.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been clear for several years about the cause of our nation’s opioid addiction epidemic. It has shown that a sharp increase in opioid overdose deaths and addiction paralleled an increase in opioid prescribing. In other words, the CDC is saying the opioid crisis was caused by overprescribing of opioids. The medical community did not start prescribing opioids more aggressively out of malicious intent. For most of us, it was a desire to treat pain more compassionately that led to overprescribing. To bring this public health crisis under control, doctors must prescribe more cautiously.

Read complete article here.


Final Report of National Opioid Commission Recommends National Implementation of Prescriber/Patient Conversations Before an Opioid is Prescribed.


Parents have right to know risks of addictive pain killers

Guest Editorial by Elaine Pozycki. From the Herald News, Fall River:

Like so many moms across this country, my son became addicted to opioid pain relievers after they were prescribed to him to treat a sports injury. Had I just been told about the addictive qualities of the medicine Steven was prescribed, I would have known to look for alternatives. I would have known to look for signs of dependency earlier.

Read the complete article here.


Children of the Opioid Epidemic Are Flooding Foster Homes. America Is Turning a Blind Eye.

From MotherJones.com
by JULIA LURIEJULY/AUGUST 2017 ISSUE

Long before the social workers showed up in his living room this March, Matt McLaughlin, a 16-year-old with diabetes, had taken to a wearying evening routine: trying to scrounge up enough spare change for food while his mom, Kelly, went to a neighbor’s house to use heroin. On a good night, the bookish high school junior would walk through his neighborhood in Andover, Ohio, a Rust Belt town surrounded by fields and trailer parks, to pick up frozen pizza from the Family Dollar. On a bad night, he’d play video games to distract himself from his grumbling stomach and dipping blood sugar, and wait for Kelly to return with glazed eyes.

Read the complete article.


America’s opioid epidemic is so bad it’s causing average life expectancy to drop

From Vox.com:
by German Lopez @germanrlopez german.lopez@vox.com Sep 20, 2017, 12:00pm EDT

A new study looks at the numbers — and they’re fairly grim.

The typical American was expected to die a little earlier in 2015 than 2014 — and a dramatic rise in drug overdose deaths is largely to blame, according to a new study in JAMA.

The study examined changes in life expectancy between 2000 and 2015. It found that, overall, life expectancy at birth increased by about two years in that time span.

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Opioid overdoses leading to more ICU admissions and deaths

(Reuters Health) – A growing number of Americans are needing intensive care for opioid overdoses and dying after receiving treatment for serious complications, a U.S. study suggests.

Opioid-related overdose deaths have doubled since 2000 amid a worsening epidemic of addiction to both prescription painkillers like oxycodone and illegal drugs like heroin, researchers note in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Read the complete article.


The Connection Between Pain Medications and Heroin

From the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens

by Sarah Bellum

More and more young people are using heroin these days, and sometimes they start using it because they’ve gotten addicted to prescription painkillers.

One study showed that people who abuse painkillers like OxyContin are 19 times more likely to start using heroin. The study also found that 8 out of 10 people who started using heroin abused painkillers first.

Read the complete article here.


President’s Opioid Commission Recommends Requiring Conversation Between Prescribers and Patients

In New Jersey, Governor Christie recently signed a law that…requires prescribers to discuss the risks of opioid dependence with their patients prior to the first prescription. We urge national implementation.

Click here to read the entire interim report.