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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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.


Some Doctors Still Prescribe Too Many Opioids, CDC Finds What you can do to find safer pain relief

From Consumer Reports:

By Teresa Carr

A report out today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that use of these highly addictive narcotic pain meds dropped in the last few years. But a closer look at the numbers in the CDC study reveals another, more troubling trend: Some doctors are still overprescribing opioids, which puts lives at risk.

Read the complete article here.


A simple question and a conversation could be key to fight opioid abuse

Almost half the patients taking pain medication in the past year were not asked one vital question
February 16, 2016 | By Matt Kuhrt
The opioid addiction crisis has led to increased pressure on primary care practices to look closely at the way they communicate with and care for afflicted patients. A new survey from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation suggests primary care doctors could do more to stem addiction problems earlier in the cycle, simply by asking the right questions before prescribing pain medication.
As more and more primary care physicians find themselves on the front linesdealing with opioid addicts, they have also discovered that, in many cases, they unwittingly contributed to the problem by prescribing them in the first place, according to previous reporting by FiercePracticeManagement.
The biggest risk factor for addicts is “a past personal or family history of issues with alcohol and/or other drugs,” says Marvin D. Seppala, M.D., chief medical officer at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. It’s telling, then, that his organization’s survey found that 46 percent of the time patients indicated their doctors failed to ask about past problems before writing their prescriptions for opioid painkillers.
When dispensing opioids, Seppala suggests doctors need to keep in mind the stigma surrounding addiction and take the time to have a medical conversation with patients about the potential risks. As simple as this step may seem, 80 percent of the patients surveyed indicated their doctors prescribed opioid pain medication without their requesting it. In six of 10 cases, doctors didn’t even bother to tell patients the painkillers could be addictive.
Other survey findings suggest a conversation about what to do with leftover pills would be worthwhile, since 63 percent of patients reported keeping them around, and data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate 54 percent of those using pain pills got them from a friend or relative for free.
To learn more:
– check out the survey results

The Prescription Opioid and Heroin Crisis: An Epidemic of Addiction

Read a recent presentation by Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Executive Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

Download PDF here.

 


Heroin Use Skyrockets in U.S.

From U.S. News and World Report:

Heroin-related overdose deaths in the U.S. have increased by nearly 300 percent in recent years, and a new report from the federal government shows people who use the drug are not confined to a particular income level or age group.

Read whole article.


CDC Releases Research on Heroin Epidemic

New research reveals the trends and risk factors behind America’s growing heroin epidemic

Heroin use seen increasingly in most demographic groups

Heroin use has increased across the United States among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. The greatest increases have occurred in groups with historically lower rates of heroin use, including women and people with private insurance and higher incomes. In addition, nearly all people who use heroin also use multiple other substances, according to the latest Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The report also finds the strongest risk factor for a heroin use disorder is a prescription opioid use disorder.

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NSAIDs Often Safer, More Effective Than Opioids for Treating Pain: Expert

From Partnership for a Drug Free America:

While opioid medications are considered powerful painkillers, evidence shows taking a combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be more effective in treating pain, according to Dr. Don Teater, MD, Medical Advisor of the non-profit National Safety Council.

Read complete article here.


Rate of Opioid Misuse Is Around 25 Percent, Addiction Rate 10 Percent, Reports Study in PAIN

Researchers Note Variability in Rates across Studies, Question Whether Benefits of Opioid for Chronic Pain Outweigh Consequences

March 30, 2015 – New estimates suggest that 20 to 30 percent of opioid analgesic drugs prescribed for chronic pain are misused, while the rate of opioid addiction is approximately 10 percent, reports a study in the April issue of PAIN®, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Read complete article here.