Poll: Many blame drug firms for opioid crisis

About two-thirds of Americans believe drug companies are to blame for the opioid crisis, although nearly as many hold drug users themselves responsible, a new poll finds. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll showed many people also fault doctors who prescribed opioid pain pills and government officials who haven’t done enough to expand addiction treatment and arrest […]

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‘Alexa, I’m in pain’: Smart assistants could help combat opioid crisis

For patients suffering with chronic pain, relief could soon be found as close as their nearest smart assistant. Researchers at Penn State are developing a way to deliver on-demand, guided mindfulness practices via Amazon Alexa to patients experiencing chronic pain. Through their method, a smart assistant will provide Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practices to individuals in their homes. MBSR is […]

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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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