Even in best-case scenario, opioid overdose deaths will keep rising until 2022

In the nation’s opioid epidemic, the carnage is far from over. A new projection of opioid overdose death rates suggests that even if there is steady progress in reducing prescription narcotics abuse nationwide, the number of fatal overdoses—which reached 47,600 in 2017—will rise sharply in the coming years. By 2022, such deaths would peak at about 75,400, and begin to […]

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As Opioid Crisis Continues, More Donor Organs Carry Hepatitis C

THURSDAY, Jan. 24, 2019 — Add another hardship to the many already triggered by the opioid epidemic: More donated organs infected with the hepatitis C virus. “The ongoing U.S. opioid crisis has resulted in an increase in drug overdose deaths and acute hepatitis C virus infections, with young persons (who might be eligible organ donors) most affected,” explained a team […]

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Opioid addiction is a public health crisis—the way we’re talking about it isn’t helping.

The misuse of and addiction to opioids is a public health crisis in the United States. Part of solving that crisis, say two Northeastern researchers, is changing how we talk about addiction. Leo Beletsky, an associate professor at Northeastern who studies opioid addiction, and Zachary Siegel, a doctoral candidate who’s working with him, are creating “Change the Narrative,” a guide […]

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Maryland regulators: Is medical marijuana effective for treating opioid addiction? Answer: It’s complicated

As opioid overdose deaths continued to mount in Maryland last year, state lawmakers asked medical marijuana regulators to determine whether cannabis could be effective at treating addiction to heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone. The answer—not really—was submitted to the General Assembly this week by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “A comprehensive review of existing medical literature shows that there is no […]

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Persistent Opioid Use High in Head, Neck Cancer Patients

FRIDAY, Jan. 11, 2019 — Persistent opioid use at three and six months remains high among patients undergoing treatment for head and neck squamous cell cancer, according to a study recently published in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Jessica D. McDermott, M.D., from the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology […]

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Pediatric Mortality Rate From Opioid Poisoning Rose 1999 to 2016

THURSDAY, Jan. 3, 2019 — From 1999 to 2016, there was close to a threefold increase in the pediatric mortality rate from opioid poisonings in the United States, according to a study published online Dec. 28 in JAMA Network Open. Julie R. Gaither, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues examined national […]

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After naloxone, when can opioid overdose patients be safely discharged?

Naloxone has saved thousands of lives. But can patients be safely discharged from the Emergency Department (ED) just an hour after they receive the medication that curtails drug overdoses? According to the St. Paul’s Early Discharge Rule developed in 2000, that’s how long providers should observe patients after naloxone treatment, so long as their vital signs meet specific criteria and […]

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High-strength opioid formulations: The case for the federal minister of health to recall them

One regulatory tool that has yet to be deployed to curb the ongoing opioid epidemic is the power of the federal minister of health to recall high-strength opioid formulations from the market. These opioid formulations can harm patients with chronic pain in multiple ways and the minister could recall them, argues a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). “In […]

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Baby born in withdrawal from kratom tea mom drank during pregnancy

Baby born with withdrawal symptoms from kratom tea that his mother drank during pregnancy A baby boy born in Florida showed signs of the neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)  Babies with NAS are born in withdrawal from opioids their mothers used  His mother had been off opioids for two years and mother and son both tested negative for opioids but drank […]

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Impact of opioid epidemic on children varies by state

A new report released by the Drug Enforcement Administration finds most overdose deaths are caused by prescription drugs, including opioids. While opioid abuse continues to plague certain states more than others, each state is unique in how it attempts to stem the crisis and its effect on families. These differences have resulted in significant variation across the country between opioid […]

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