This Week's News in Substance Use: 12/7/18

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Is America Ready for Prescription Heroin? NPR

Here's how programs that offer prescription heroin, or heroin-assisted treatment, work. Patients typically get a regular, measured dose of pharmaceutical-grade heroin — also known as diacetylmorphine or diamorphine — and inject it under close medical supervision inside a designated clinic. The idea is if people have a legal source of heroin, they'll be less likely to overdose on tainted street drugs, spend less time and energy trying to get their next fix, and instead be able to focus on the underlying drivers of their addiction.

"This is just another treatment that could help stabilize lives," says Kilmer.

Trump Says China Will Curtail Fentanyl. The U.S. Has Heard That Before. The New York Times

China vows to stem the supply of the powerful opioid fentanyl flowing into the United States. It pledges to target exports of fentanyl-related substances bound for the United States that are prohibited there, while sharing information with American law-enforcement authorities.

Such promises, echoed in the recent meeting between the countries’ presidents, ring familiar.

They first emerged in September 2016, when the Obama administration said China and the United States had agreed on “enhanced measures” meant to keep fentanyl from coming into the United States. But in its official statements or state media reports made at the time, the Chinese government never specified the steps it intended to take, and its follow-up has been patchy at best.

Neuroscientist Thinks One Way to Fight Opioid Addiction Is to Tackle Loneliness, The Washington Post

Feeling lonely? Social isolation isn’t just bad for your mood — it can be bad for your health, too. And in a TEDxMidAtlantic talk, Rachel Wurzman says it contributes to opioid addiction — fueling drug use, relapses and overdoses.

Wurzman, a neuroscientist, says she thinks there is a way to make recovery from opioid addiction easier: social connection. That idea is informed by her work with the striatum, a region at the base of the forebrain that helps enable decision-making and is dramatically affected by social connection.

We Need to Talk About Benzodiazepines—Including Their Use in Drug Combinations, Filter

Opioids like heroin and fentanyl have grabbed the media and legislative spotlight—from soaring overdose fatalities to the misguided prescription restrictions and drug-induced homicide laws ostensibly intended to combat them. What’s glossed over is that our overdose crisis primarily relates to polysubstance use. Around 80 percent of deaths involving a synthetic opioid in 2016, for example, also involved another drug. When we only focus on partial data, we only come up with partially effective solutions. With our cultural narrative failing to acknowledge this, people who use drugs need to make the effort to learn more to keep ourselves safer.

Most forms of polysubstance use carry potential negative effects and risks. Mixing uppers and downers—whether using one drug to come off of another, or intentionally creating a “speedball” effect—presents a unique set of challenges to your body. It can be deadly.

Why Pediatricians Should Screen Teens for Alcohol Use, Philly.com

As an adolescent medicine physician, I always ask my patients about alcohol usage since it's associated with the leading causes of death and serious injury at this age, including motor-vehicle accidents, suicides, and homicides.

You can imagine my shock when I read a conclusion from the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report about interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use in adolescents and adults that said, "… the evidence is insufficient to determine the benefits and harms of screening for unhealthy alcohol use in the primary care setting in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years."

Shatterproof: Stronger Than Addiction

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Shatterproof is transforming addiction treatment in America. Stay tuned for updates and information

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