This Week's News in Substance Use: 8/24/17

Hooked, Hoodwinked: Some Drug Rehabs Aim For Relapse and $$$, Associated Press

“Rather than working to get people well, a growing number of unscrupulous industry players are focusing on getting patients to relapse so that insurance dollars keep rolling in, according to law enforcement officials, treatment experts and people trying to beat their addictions.

‘It’s terrible right now. I don’t know of any business that wants to kill its customers, but this one does,’ said Timothy Schnellenberger, who has worked for years in running addiction recovery centers in Florida. ‘It really breaks my heart. Kids are dying left and right.’”

Trump Calls Opioid Crisis a National Emergency but Still Hasn’t Made It Official, NBC News

“Two weeks ago, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency and called it ‘a serious problem the likes of which we have never had.’

‘We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,’ the president insisted.

"But so far, Trump hasn’t formally signed such a declaration and sent it to Congress. And that means the millions the executive branch could direct towards expanding treatment facilities — or supplying police officers with the anti-overdose remedy naloxone — aren’t going anywhere because Trump has not yet followed through.”

New Tool Helps Physicians Learn If Their Opioid Prescribing Is Appropriate, STAT News

“Taking opioids for just five days — days, mind you, not weeks or months — can lead to long-term use and addiction. So when a doctor writes an initial prescription for nine days instead of three, that doctor is increasing his or her patient’s risk of opioid addiction.

Of course, there are many people who need opioids for pain management and for whom opioids are a legitimate treatment option. But easy availability and a lack of appreciation for the true risk of addiction have contributed to the opioid epidemic. We need to curb overprescribing to loosen opioids’ grip on America. But when it comes to opioids, many physicians don’t have a good sense of what constitutes appropriate use. Helping physicians navigate this minefield is an important next step in controlling the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

Race, The Crack Epidemic and The Effect On Today's Opioid Crisis, Chicago Tribune

“While environment often plays a role in addiction, this latest crisis has taught us that poverty isn't the only factor. Addiction has no racial or economic boundaries.

So if America had shown less contempt and more compassion for [people addicted to] crack, we'd be way ahead of the game now in dealing with this scourge of opioid addiction.

If crack addiction had been treated like a national crisis rather than a neighborhood vice, we'd have a better understanding today of how drugs spread through populations.”

What Heroin Addiction Is Really Like, As Told by a Former User, AOL

“Newsy's Noor Tagouri sat down with a childhood friend, Taylor Smith, who started using opioids every day when she was 18.

After multiple times trying to get clean through rehab programs, she finally found success through methadone.

Smith told Tagouri about her experience of being addicted to heroin and why she thinks it's important for [people with addiction] to tell their stories.”

The Federal Government Is Systematically Undercounting Heroin Users, The Washington Post

“If you have been shocked and frightened by recent government reports on the growth in the number of Americans addicted to and dying from heroin, brace yourself for some more bad news: The problem is even worse than government data indicate.

The degree to which NSDUH underestimates the prevalence of heroin use disorder is enormous. In 2010, a research team combined NSDUH data with that from other studies to determine that NSDUH could only identify 60,000 of the 1 million Americans who used heroin daily or near daily heroin users. As most daily or nondaily heroin users would meet diagnostic criteria for heroin use disorder, NSDUH’s most recent estimate of 591,000 probably didn’t even capture the depth of the problem back in 2010, which was before the heroin problem exploded.”

 

 

The Company Quietly Making Opioid Addiction Searchable, Bloomberg

 

“Appriss, a 600-employee company in Louisville, is working to mitigate a U.S. opioid crisis blamed for more than 20,000 fatal overdoses a year—33,000 when heroin-related deaths are included—and $79 billion in annual response costs and lost productivity. President Trump said on Aug. 10 that opioid addiction represents a national emergency. While privacy advocates worry about misuse of data as sensitive as a person’s ­prescription history, states are pushing to link the information ever more quickly to simplify diagnoses for doctors, who hand out 259 million opioid prescriptions each year and often have little time to question patients.”

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