This Week's News in Substance Use: 11/17/17

Shatterproof CEO: Battling The Opioid Crisis, CNBC

Gary appeared on CNBC’s The Squawk Box on Wednesday morning to discuss the recent achievements of Shatterproof’s Treatment Task Force. Watch the clip at the link above.

FDA Clears Electronic Earpiece to Block Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms, STAT News

“A wearable device claiming to block the pain of opioid withdrawal has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration under an expedited review process for medical devices. However, patient safety advocates note that the device has limited evidence for its effectiveness.

The NSS-2 Bridge is a device that attaches to the ear and transmits small electrical pulses through four cranial nerves. It’s marketed by Indiana-based Innovative Health Solutions, and was cleared to treat chronic and acute pain in 2014. IHS can now market the device as one that reduces symptoms of opioid withdrawal including nausea, anxiety, and aches.”

Meet The Women Fighting West Virginia's Drug Epidemic, Sojourners

“Patricia Keller is a Family Court Judge in the Cabell County Courthouse. In 2009, she established an Adult Drug Court in Huntington where she helps low-level drug offenders overcome their addiction and stay out of jail. With short blonde hair and dark-framed glasses, Judge Keller doesn’t take “no ma’am” as an answer.

“‘One thing that’s very, very important in drug court is that you show up,’ Judge Keller says to Selena, a new participant with brown hair and a pink jacket. ‘It ranks right behind being honest. Honest first, show up second.’”

Fentanyl Billionaire John Kapoor to Plead Not Guilty in Opioid Kickback Case, Forbes

“Fentanyl billionaire John Kapoor is set to plead not guilty this morning on charges of racketeering, mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback law.

The founder and former CEO and chairman of Chandler, Ariz.-based Insys Therapeutics, Kapoor became a billionaire in 2013 because of the skyrocketing sales of that company’s Subsys, a form of the powerful opioid fentanyl that is sprayed under the tongue. He was arrested and charged on October 26 for allegedly leading a conspiracy to use fraud and bribes to market the drug and is set to appear in federal court in Boston this morning for his arraignment.”

Is Telemedicine a Remedy for Rural America's Opioid Epidemic? Pacific Standard

“Some of the communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic are in rural America. However, many of those same communities lack access to comprehensive treatment.

To address the epidemic’s increasing reach, the White House declared a public health emergency on October 26th. The administration outlined a need to expand treatment in rural communities, most notably by making telemedicine more readily available. Telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth, aims to improve treatment access by allowing people to consult their provider remotely – for example, by using videoconferencing.”

Opioid Addiction Treatments Face Off in US Trial, AP

“The first U.S. study to compare two treatments for opioid addiction finds a monthly shot works as well as a daily drug to prevent relapse. The shot requires days of detox first and that proved to be a stumbling block for many. For those who made it past that hurdle, the shot Vivitrol worked about the same as an older treatment, Suboxone.

Both drugs had high relapse rates and there were overdoses, including fatal ones, in the experiment in 570 adults. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Lancet, is the first to compare the two drugs in the United States, where an opioid addiction epidemic has doctors and policymakers deeply divided over treatment strategies.”

Is There a Way to Keep Using Opioid Painkillers and Reduce Risk? NPR

“In response to the epidemic of opioid addiction and deaths, in 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines urging physicians to try non-opioid methods first for chronic pain. In a viewpoint published last month in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, CDC officials wrote that while illicit opioids such as fentanyl seem to be driving the recent increase in opioid-related overdose deaths, ‘unnecessary exposure to prescription opioids must be reduced to prevent development of opioid use disorder in the first place.’ But figuring out what's unnecessary, and how best to reduce the risk, can be a challenge.”

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