This Week's News in Substance Use: 4/6/18

SUD news 4/6/18

Surgeon General Urges More Americans to Carry Opioid Antidote , NPR

“As opioid-related deaths have continued to climb, naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses, has become an important part of the public health response.

“When people overdosing struggle to breathe, naloxone can restore normal breathing and save their lives. But the drug has to be given quickly.

“On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory that encouraged more people to routinely carry naloxone.

“’The call to action is to recognize if you're at risk,’ he tells Morning Edition's Rachel Martin. ‘And if you or a loved one are at risk, keep within reach, know how to use naloxone.’”

FDA Commissioner Calls on Internet Providers to Help Police Opioid Offerings , The Washington Post

“The head of the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday called on Internet providers to help rid the Web of illegal offers of prescription opioids and illicit drugs such as fentanyl that have contributed to the nation's drug crisis. And on Thursday, the surgeon general is scheduled to recommend that more people keep on hand an antidote for overdoses — the latest examples of public health officials scrambling to respond to the opioid crisis.

“Noting that Internet providers and others have taken action when the government required them to help control the spread of child pornography, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said it is time for a similar, but voluntary, response to opioids. The painkillers have created the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history, one that killed nearly 64,000 people in 2016.”

Opioid Addiction Treatments Are Costing Employers Billions , CNN

“The cost of treating opioid addiction among American workers and their families has skyrocketed in recent years, a new study has found.

“People covered by employer health insurance received $2.6 billion worth of treatment for opioid addiction and overdoses in 2016, up from $273 million in 2004, according to a report published Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Some $2.3 billion was covered by insurance, while patients shelled out $335 million.

Just over half the spending was for the treatment of workers' children, while just under a third was for the employee themselves. The rest covered spouses' treatment.

Justice Department Asks to Join Opioid Settlement Talks , The Wall Street Journal

“The U.S. Justice Department is ramping up its efforts to curb the opioid epidemic, requesting to join settlement talks in sprawling litigation against the makers and distributors of prescription painkillers.

“The department said in a Monday filing in U.S. District Court in a Ohio federal court that the government’s ‘unique national perspective…could help ensure that remedial action in the multidistrict litigation is structured to serve the public interest.’”

The NIH Just Announced a Billion-Dollar Initiative to Combat Opioid Addiction , Pacific Standard

“At a major conference on opioid addiction, the National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday a new initiative to study the drug problem. A White House official, however, opted to focus on all that the administration has already done—not on what more it can still do.

“Addressing a packed house at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, the different speakers offered different views of the federal response to a crisis that continues to worsen. In 2016, more than 63,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. The largest portions of those deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, as well as heroin.”