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“The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is publishing guidance today to help broaden healthcare professionals’ understanding of medications that can be used to treat Americans with opioid use disorder (OUD).

“We know that people can and do recover from opioid use disorders when they receive appropriate treatment, and medication-assisted treatment’s success in treating opioid use disorders is well documented,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. “TIP 63 emphasizes that increasing access to medications to treat opioid use disorder will help more people recover, enabling them to improve their health, living full and productive lives.”

The Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 63, “Medications for Opioid Use Disorder,” reviews the use of the three Food and Drug Administration-approved medications to treat opioid use disorders: methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. Mandated by Section 303 of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (P.L. 114-198), this TIP provides guidance for healthcare professionals and addiction treatment providers on appropriate prescribing practices for these medications and effective strategies for supporting the patients utilizing medication for the treatment of OUD. TIP 63 also educates patients, families, and the general public about how OUD medications work and the benefits they offer.”

Read more at: https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/201802150200

The tip is available at: https://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA18-5063FULLDOC

Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – February 15, 2018

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“White House aides and a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill are cheering $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid crisis in the recently approved budget deal, but treatment advocates and drug policy experts are concerned the uptick in funding won’t be spent wisely and isn’t nearly enough.

Those concerns stem from the tough-on-crime rhetoric that the Trump administration has employed in recent months, leading treatment advocates in states to worry that opioid addiction — something President Donald Trump seized on during the 2016 campaign — will be treated as a law enforcement, not a health, issue. If money is diverted from treatment to tackle crime, advocates said, the already small amount of money going towards the problem will do even less.

A White House official told CNN on Thursday that the Trump administration has told appropriators in Congress, who are now tasked with spending the $6 billion, that they would like to see the influx of cash spent on both treatment and law enforcement priorities.”

Read more at: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/09/politics/opioid-treatment-funding/index.html

Source: CNN.com – February 9, 2018

See related article: Trump Budget Sharply Cuts White House Office Leading Opioid Crisis Response, Shifts Funds to Other Agencies available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-budget-sharply-cuts-white-house-office-leading/story?id=53027992

See related article: What Trump’s Budget Would Mean for Your Medical Bills available at: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-trumps-budget-would-mean-for-your-medical-bills/

See related article: The Health 202: Trump’s budget shows he is serious about tackling the opioid crisis available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-health-202/2018/02/13/the-health-202-trump-s-budget-shows-he-is-serious-about-tackling-the-opioid-crisis/5a81de0130fb041c3c7d780f/?utm_term=.ad53830ee7ca

See related article: 30 experts were asked how they’d fight the opioid crisis. None mentioned a border wall available at: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/14/17011646/opioid-epidemic-trump-border-wall

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“The opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.

The report by Altarum, a nonprofit group that studies the health economy, examined CDC mortality data through June of last year. The greatest financial cost of the opioid epidemic, according to the report, is in lost earnings and productivity losses to employers. Early deaths and substance abuse disorders also take a toll on local, state and federal government through lost tax revenue.

These costs are rising. One reason for the increase, says Corey Rhyan, a senior research analyst with Altarum’s Center for Value and Health Care, is that more young people are being affected as the epidemic moves from prescription opioids to illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl.”

Read more at: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/13/585199746/cost-of-u-s-opioid-epidemic-since-2001-is-1-trillion-and-climbing

Source: NPR.org – February 13, 2018

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“The White House has approved a new, national research effort headed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the most effective treatments for people battling opioid addiction.

The CDC, which received approval Monday from the executive branch, said it hopes that the study’s results will help inform policymakers, communities and providers on when drug-assisted therapies may or may not be appropriate.

“Few studies are available to help patients and providers make informed decisions about the risks and benefits associated with the different medication-assisted treatments,” the agency said in a notice.”

Read more at: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180213/NEWS/180219974

Source: ModernHealthcare.com – February 13, 2018

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“A new study links a dramatic decline in drug overdose deaths with Rhode Island’s prison treatment program for opioid addiction.

The study by researchers from Brown University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that fatal overdoses among former inmates dropped more than 60 percent after the Rhode Island Department of Corrections began offering medications such as methadone and buprenorphine, known by its brand name Suboxone, to treat opioid addiction.

The study was published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry.”

Read more at: http://ripr.org/post/treatment-behind-bars-study-shows-addiction-treatment-program-aci-saves-lives#stream/0

Source: NPR.org – February 14, 2018

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“Opiant Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OPNT), the company that invented the Narcan spray, is developing what it says is longer-lasting treatment nasal treatment for abusers of the opioid Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. It is typically used to treat severe pain. The new nasal spray will be used to save the lives of opioid abusers, according to Dr. Roger Crystal, Opiant Pharmaceuticals’ CEO.

“The idea is very similar to how Narcan works,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.” “It gets them breathing again.”

Read more at: http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2018/02/13/opioid-abuse-treatment-in-works-targets-fentanyl.html

Source: FoxBusiness.com – February 13, 2018

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“The barriers to obtaining a buprenorphine (Suboxone) waiver in the U.S. are small, but loom large in many physicians’ minds.

Only 46,500 — about 5% of the nation’s doctors — have waivers to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid addiction. While that number has grown in recent years, it includes psychiatrists and addiction specialists, many of whom don’t practice in rural areas.

But even including those specialties, it’s not enough. “The current number of waivered physicians is not sufficient to ensure access to buprenorphine treatment for all individuals with opioid use disorder, even if every physician were prescribing at the maximum of their waivers,” said Hannah Knudsen, PhD, of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington. Knudsen has studied the relationship between the supply of buprenorphine-waivered physicians and prescription opioid mortality.”

Read more at: https://www.medpagetoday.com/psychiatry/addictions/71169

Source: MedPageToday.com – February 14, 2018

See related article on buprenorphine: Comparing the Efficacy of Extended-Release Naltrexone and Buprenorphine-Naloxone on Opioid Relapse – 2/14/18

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“Requirements to vet Medicaid patients to make sure they are working could prevent patients with opioid addiction from getting treatment, more than 160 groups told the Trump administration last week.

Highlighting the opioid crisis is the latest line of attack by health groups and patient advocates hoping to get the Trump administration to withdraw guidance on work requirements.

“Medicaid work requirements policy is directly at odds with bipartisan efforts to curb the opioid crisis,” the 160 national, state and local groups including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the NAACP, Mental Health America and the American Psychological Association said in a letter Friday to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.”

Read more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2018/02/18/how-medicaid-work-requirements-thwart-opioid-treatment/#536bfb8a564f

Source: Forbes.com – February 18, 2018

See related article from the Legal Action Center: Organizations Join to Oppose Medicaid Work Requirements – 2/15/18

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“Two babies, born 15 months apart to the same young woman overcoming opioid addiction. Two very different treatments. Sarah Sherbert’s first child was whisked away to a hospital special-care nursery for two weeks of treatment for withdrawal from doctor-prescribed methadone that her mother continued to use during her pregnancy. Nurses hesitated to let Sherbert hold the girl and hovered nervously when she visited to breast-feed.

Born just 15 months later and 30 miles away at a different South Carolina hospital, Sherbert’s second child was started on medicine even before he showed any withdrawal symptoms and she was allowed to keep him in her room to encourage breast-feeding and bonding. His hospital stay was just a week.

“It was like night and day,” Sherbert said.

The different approaches highlight a sobering fact: The surge has outpaced the science, and no one knows the best way to treat the opioid epidemic’s youngest patients.”

Read more at: http://time.com/5157780/opioids-drug-addicted-babies/

Source: Time.com – February 14, 2018

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