NCADD-SD News & Blog

News and Information from NCADD-SD

Few Young People Treated for Opioid Addiction Get MAT

Few Young People Treated for Opioid Addiction Get MAT

Only 27 percent of youths treated for opioid addiction receive buprenorphine or naltrexone, known as medication-assisted treatment, a new study finds.

“These medications are considered the evidence-based standard of care for opioid addiction by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” said lead researcher Dr. Scott Hadland of Boston University School of Medicine.

Buprenorphine (sold as Suboxone) has been shown to reduce cravings, while naltrexone (sold as Revia and Vivitrol) blocks the high from opioids, HealthDay reports.

The rate of opioid addiction among teens and young adults shot up almost sixfold between 2001 and 2014, the researchers note in JAMA Pediatrics.

Hadland said one reason so few young people receive medication-assisted treatment is that too few pediatricians and family doctors are trained in how to treat opioid addiction. “In light of the national opioid crisis, it’s really now more important than ever to ensure that providers are receiving the training,” he said.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Aetna Embraces Medication to Combat Opioid Crisis

Aetna Embraces Medication to Combat Opioid Crisis

Aetna is going all in on medication-assisted treatment in response to the opioid epidemic, according to a letter CEO Mark Bertolini is sending today to a handful of Democratic senators.

Bertolini highlights three goals the insurer hopes to achieve by 2022:

Reduce inappropriate opioid prescriptions by 50%.Increase by 50% the number of opioid addicts treated with medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based treatments.Increase the number of enrollees with chronic pain who use alternative pain treatments by 50%.

Go deeper: Aetna's embrace of medication-assisted treatment is a sharp contrast from some insurers' previous reluctance to cover the approach, which Bob Herman covered for Modern Healthcare. It also follows Tom Price's controversial comment saying medication-assisted treatment is "substituting one opioid for another."But Aetna has already worked to make medication more available: Earlier this year, it removed all pre-authorization requirements for certain products and put them on a preventive medicine list that reduces cost-sharing for patients.

Source: American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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ERs Do Not Usually Ask Young People About Alcohol Consumption

ERs Do Not Usually Ask Young People About Alcohol Consumption

A study published in Emergency Medical Journal has found that nine out of ten ERs are failing to identify young people with alcohol problems, preventing them from getting the vital help they need.

A survey of 147 ERs, conducted by researchers from the University of Surrey, found that young people are not routinely asked about their alcohol consumption, a useful tool in detecting alcohol problems. The research also found that those over the age of 65 are not routinely asked about their drinking either.

The survey found that over 85 per cent of A&E departments do not routinely ask young people about their alcohol consumption or use formal screening tools to identify those that may need help or advice about their drinking.

This is in violation of current guidelines, which suggest that screening followed by feedback of the results is the most effective way to reduce alcohol related harm.

Although young people are drinking less than previous generations, this age group still accounts for the largest number of alcohol-related A&E admissions.

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Attorney General Asks Congress to Roll Back Federal Medical Marijuana Protections

Attorney General Asks Congress to Roll Back Federal Medical Marijuana Protections

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked congressional leaders to roll back federal protections for medical marijuana.

In a letter, Sessions asked the leaders to undo protections that prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states from implementing their own laws that “authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.” The protections have been in place since 2014, The Washington Post reports.

Sessions wrote, “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the [Justice] Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.

The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Fentanyl Sales Fueled by the Dark Web

Fentanyl Sales Fueled by the Dark Web

The opioid crisis is being fueled by anonymous online sales on the dark web, where buyers purchase fentanyl and other drugs using special browsers and virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, The New York Times reports.

Law enforcement officials say Internet sales of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are on the rise.

They are frustrated in their attempts to crack down on these sales because of their anonymous nature. Enough fentanyl to get almost 50,000 people high can fit into a standard first-class envelope, the article notes.

A leading dark web site, AlphaBay, last week had more than 21,000 listings for opioids and more than 4,100 for fentanyl and similar drugs. The number of fentanyl listings on AlphaBay and other dark web sites has been steadily increasing.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Republican Proposed Medicaid Cuts Endanger Addiction Treatment

Republican Proposed Medicaid Cuts Endanger Addiction Treatment

Cuts to Medicaid proposed by Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate jeopardize addiction treatment, NPR reports.

In Pennsylvania, more than 124,000 residents depend on Medicaid for addiction treatment. The state’s Medicaid program currently pays for addiction treatment with Vivitrol, a monthly injection that costs about $1,000 a dose.

A person receiving the shots also has weekly therapy sessions and visits with a recovery coach, also paid for by Medicaid. Pennsylvania, which expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, pays no more than 10 percent of costs for patients who gained coverage under the expansion. The federal government funds the rest.

The Republican health care bill that passed the House and is being considered by the Senate would cut Medicaid spending by more than $800 billion across 10 years nationwide, the article notes. If the federal government cuts Medicaid funding, states either would have to come up with the rest of the money, limit access to care, or cut off coverage for some people.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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FDA Requests Removal of Opana ER For Risks Related To Abuse

FDA Requests Removal of Opana ER For Risks Related To Abuse

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested that Endo Pharmaceuticals remove its opioid pain medication, reformulated Opana ER (oxymorphone hydrochloride), from the market.

After careful consideration, the agency is seeking removal based on its concern that the benefits of the drug may no longer outweigh its risks. This is the first time the agency has taken steps to remove a currently marketed opioid pain medication from sale due to the public health consequences of abuse.

The FDA’s decision is based on a review of all available postmarketing data, which demonstrated a significant shift in the route of abuse of Opana ER from nasal to injection following the product’s reformulation. Injection abuse of reformulated Opana ER has been associated with a serious outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C, as well as cases of a serious blood disorder (thrombotic microangiopathy).

This decision follows a March 2017 FDA advisory committee meeting where a group of independent experts voted 18-8 that the benefits of reformulated Opana ER no longer outweigh its risks.

The FDA has requested that the company voluntarily remove reformulated Opana ER from the market. Should the company choose not to remove the product, the agency intends to take steps to formally require its removal by withdrawing approval. In the interim, the FDA is making health care professionals and others aware of the particularly serious risks associated with the abuse of this product.

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Governor Takes Steps to Protect Healthcare Coverage and Equity in NY

Governor Takes Steps to Protect Healthcare Coverage and Equity in NY

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently took steps to protect the health care of New Yorkers in the context of uncertainty about the future of federal health reform.

The Governor’s actions will help ensure that New York does not return to a time when insurers could discriminate against people on the basis of race, gender or previous heath conditions.

The emergency regulations issued by Governor Cuomo require that all insurers participating in the New York Health Exchange, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs retain core consumer protections included in the Affordable Care Act. These protections are stripped away under the version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House of Representatives on May 4th, which is currently being considered in the Senate.

The current version of the AHCA proposes to remove or relax consumer protections, including the requirement that insurers cover ten ‘essential health benefits’ in all plans. These essential health benefits include coverage for certain services that were previously excluded from many health plans, including substance use and mental health treatment. The legislation would also allow plans to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing or complex health conditions.

Paul Samuels President and Director of the Legal Action Center says, “These protections are particularly critical to ensuring coverage for vulnerable New Yorkers, especially those with substance use disorders or other complex health needs.” He adds, “As we continue to face an unprecedented epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths in New York and across the nation, protecting access to treatment is absolutely critical to saving lives and addressing this public health crisis.”

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NCADD-SFV Takes on Every 15 Minutes

NCADD-SFV Takes on Every 15 Minutes

The number of DUI related auto deaths in the United States on a yearly basis is alarming. It is only when we begin to look at the daily statistics and the ones that involve high school age kids, that it becomes very clear that we have a huge problem.

About 18 months ago we started the planning process with Birmingham Community Charter High School in taking part in the “Every 15 Minutes” Program.

Birmingham Charter HS Parents and StudentsThe program, which is funded and sponsored by The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of the San Fernando Valley, Inc. (NCADD-SFV) and local CHP and law enforcement agencies, is an educational tool that is used to make high school aged students more aware of the impact that drinking and driving has on their communities. This “real-life” experience consists of a staged announcement of the loss of student lives, followed by a staged and very realistic DUI accident resulting in massive injuries and fatalities in front of the entire student body. This staged collision involves law enforcement and emergency assistance teams such as fire and paramedics as they run through a complete rescue and recovery procedure.

The program was designed to evoke raw and real emotion from students as they are challenged to think about the potential consequences of drinking and driving. While the process can seem brutal and harsh for the students, the CHP feels that witnessing these events allow students to understand the cause and effect of drinking and driving.

“We were beyond honored that Birmingham Community Charter High School was interested in hosting the event. “This was a great opportunity to not only educate everyone on the dangers of drinking and driving.

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LICADD Does It Again...Tee Off For Teens Is A Success!

LICADD Does It Again...Tee Off For Teens Is A Success!

On May 23, 2017 LICADD hosted 88 golfers at the beautiful Maidstone Club in East Hampton. The weather cooperated with mild temperatures and a sun-filled sky resulting in a great day for the Tee Off For Our Teens Invitational.

Pictured in main image: Tony Fromer, Rich Warren, Mitch Robbins and past LICADD Board Chair, Jeff Capazzi. Pictured here: Alan Herzog, David Simson, Don Ross, and past Board Chair, Bill Baum This special day of golf raised awareness and over $100,000 to support Long Island's adolescent population from Elmont to Montauk.

Teens across Long Island are facing the fight of their lives as they are bombarded with media messages and social interactions promoting unhealthy choices. "We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic reaching the highest numbers of drug-related overdose ever experienced on Long Island. Prevention education and counseling services for both adolescents and their families is a vital component to slow or stop overdose rates from increasing even more," says LICADD Executive Director Steve Chassman, LCSW, CASAC.

The stories of families who are desperately struggling to save their children from the epidemic of alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs and heroin that is sweeping our communities is all too familiar.

LICADD's evidence-based education and prevention programs are a lifeline, providing parents, teachers, children and young adults with effective solutions. By reaching out to our children in their early years with effective prevention, we can help end the cycle of addiction.Pictured are LICADD Executive Director, Steve Chassman and Past Board Chair, Alfred Devendorf

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Drug Thefts at VA Hospitals Continue, Despite New Prevention Efforts

Drug Thefts at VA Hospitals Continue, Despite New Prevention Efforts

Drug thefts by employees at Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals are continuing, despite new prevention efforts, according to data obtained by the Associated Press.

Dozens of new criminal investigations have been launched by federal authorities into possible thefts of opioids and other drugs by VA employees. Thirty-six cases were opened by the VA Inspector General’s office from October 1 through May 19, the article notes. There are a total of 108 open criminal investigations involving missing prescriptions, theft or unauthorized drug use.

The VA announced new efforts in February to combat drug thefts, including more inspections, employee drug tests and more internal audits. “We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug theft,” Poonam Alaigh, VA’s Acting Undersecretary for Health, told the AP. “We have security protocols in place and will continue to work hard to improve it.”

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Express Scripts Sues Maker of Injectable Naloxone

Express Scripts Sues Maker of Injectable Naloxone

The prescription management company Express Scripts is suing the maker of the injectable naloxone drug Evzio.

The price of the drug, which reverses opioid overdoses, quintupled last year.

Express Scripts claims it is owed more than $14.5 million in fees and rebates related to Evzio, which is made by the drug company Kaléo. Evzio is no longer on Express Scripts’ preferred drug list, The New York Times reports.

Kaléo said the price increase was meant to cover the cost of a new patient-assistance program that decreases the out-of-pocket costs for patients who cannot afford the drug. The company covers all out-of-pocket costs for patients with private insurance. For uninsured patients making less than $100,000 per year, the company offers Evzio at no cost.

Critics say these programs increase the price of drugs because they leave insurance companies to pay most of the costs, particularly when a less expensive version is available. Other forms of naloxone are available at much lower prices.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Canadian Teens Admit to Riding With Driver Who Had Been Drinking

Canadian Teens Admit to Riding With Driver Who Had Been Drinking

A new study finds more than 35 percent of Canadian high school students admit to having been in a car with a driver who had been drinking, while 20 percent reported ever riding with a driver who had been using marijuana.

“These numbers are concerning,” said study author Leia Minaker of the University of Waterloo. “A significant proportion of car-crash deaths are related to alcohol and drug impairment.”

The findings come from a national survey of almost 25,000 students, HealthDay reports. The survey found 9 percent of students in grades 11 and 12 have driven within an hour of drinking. More than 9 percent have driven after having used marijuana.

The findings are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal Open.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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NIH Announces Partnerships With Drug Companies to Create New Addiction Treatments

NIH Announces Partnerships With Drug Companies to Create New Addiction Treatments

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will partner with drug companies to spur research on new treatments for opioid addiction and pain medications that are not addictive, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, NIH Director Francis S. Collins and Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said the NIH will join with drug companies to launch an initiative in three scientific areas: developing better overdose-reversal and prevention interventions to reduce mortality, saving lives for future treatment and recovery; finding new, innovative medications and technologies to treat opioid addiction; and finding safe, effective, nonaddictive interventions to manage chronic pain.

Collins and Volkow called for stronger versions of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to counteract painkillers such as fentanyl and carfentanil, which are much more potent than heroin.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Trump’s Budget Cuts Run Counter to His Promises to Battle Addiction

Trump’s Budget Cuts Run Counter to His Promises to Battle Addiction

Family members of young people who have struggled with or died from opioid addiction say President Trump’s budget proposal, which would reduce funding for addiction treatment, runs counter to his promises to help solve the problem, the Associated Press reports.

The proposed budget would shrink spending for Medicaid, which covers an estimated three in 10 adults with opioid addiction. The budget is unlikely to be approved as written, the article notes.

The Republican health care bill passed by the House would allow states to weaken a requirement that private insurance cover addiction treatment. The Congressional Budget Office estimates a patient’s cost of substance abuse treatment could increase by thousands of dollars a year in states that have chosen to reduce coverage requirements.

“Inside I’m screaming,” Sandra Chavez of Sacramento, California, who lost her 24-year-old son, Jeffrey, to a blood infection related to his injection drug use, told the AP. “We’re going backward with Donald Trump’s plan.”

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Hope & Healing for Chautauqua

Hope & Healing for Chautauqua

A day of presentations, speakers and addiction resources for the community was held on May 16, 2017 at the Chautauqua Suites in Mayville, NY.

The event was open to the public and free of charge. Speakers included Vince Horrigan, County Executive, Christine Schuyler, BSN, RN, MHA, Chautauqua County Director of Health & Human Services (Commissioner of Social Services/Public Health Director), Andrew O'Brien, CASAC, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Director, Chemical Dependency and Outpatient Mental Health, Keynote: Rodney Wambeam, PhD "Boomers, Xers and Millennials: How New Research on Generations Can Inform the Future of Prevention", Level Up Talks - Micro presentations about Prevention, Treatment & Recovery ideas with the potential to "level up" hope and healing in Chautauqua County!

Morning and Afternoon Breakout Session topics were: HOPE Youth Empowerment Program for Youth Advocacy-Laurie Reynolds & Tracy Jespersen, Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council; Planning and Evaluating Environmental Prevention Efforts, Rodney Wambeam, Ph.D.; Success in Treatment and Recovery with Lifestyle Changes, Dr. Davina Moss-King; Peer Specialists & Peer Recovery Supports, Kia Briggs, Mental Health Association and Pastor Steve Kilburn, Addiction Response Ministry; and the Winged Ox Players presented scenes from the "Least Resistance" play. Help, Information, & Resource Tables were also available throughout the day.

The Addiction Epidemic: Hope & Healing for Chautauqua Overview, continued on Wednesday, May 17 3:00-4:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Dunkirk.

A presentation of resources available for prevention, treatment and recovery in Northern Chautauqua County was followed by an Opioid Overdose Response/Narcan Training by Alison Espin.

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LICADD's 30th Annual Angel Ball - The Discovery of Recovery

LICADD's 30th Annual Angel Ball - The Discovery of Recovery

A Celebration of Possibility, Hope and Promise

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) celebrated the 30th Annual Angel Ball.

Over 330 LICADD supporters and friends came together to note a year of milestones in the addiction and recovery arena. The filled to capacity crowd, raised over $300,000 enabling LICADD to continue its important and vital work of service, support, prevention education and advocacy.

At the height of an opioid crisis on Long Island, this successful event was a positive stride in the fight to support those individuals and their families who struggle with substance abuse.

The Angel Ball paid a heart-felt tribute to the late Adele C. Smithers. A good friend and advocate for LICADD, she has been dubbed the "Mother" of research, education, prevention Adele Smithersand recovery in the field of alcohol abuse and drug dependence. Her guidance, leadership and generosity will remain guiding principles for LICADD, as the agency furthers its 61-year mission for years to come.

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Family Can Play Lifesaving Role in Overdoses by Using Naloxone

Family Can Play Lifesaving Role in Overdoses by Using Naloxone

Family members can be active participants in responding to the overdose epidemic by rescuing loved ones with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, a new study finds.

Boston University researchers studied almost 41,000 people who underwent naloxone training, and found family members used the antidote in about 20 percent of 4,373 rescue attempts.

Almost all the attempts were successful, HealthDay reports.

“Families are willing participants in this fight against overdose deaths, and more should be done to involve them as allies,” lead researcher Sarah Bagley said.The study appears in Drug and Alcohol Review.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Police Officer Accidentally Overdoses on Fentanyl While on the Job

Police Officer Accidentally Overdoses on Fentanyl While on the Job

A police officer in Ohio accidentally overdosed on fentanyl while on the job, NBC News reports.

He was recovering, but reportedly “still miserable” several days later.

Patrolman Chris Green was at the police station after having searched the car of two suspected drug dealers. A colleague pointed out some white powder on Green’s shirt. Green brushed it off with his bare hand. About an hour later, he passed out. It took four doses of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone (Narcan) to revive him, the article notes.

According to East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane, Green had used gloves and a mask to search the car, but had taken them off before he brushed the powder off. “He did this without thinking,” Lane said. “I’m not sure he even realized this was drugs.”

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Bill to Protect Drug Control Office from Sweeping Budget Cuts Introduced

Bill to Protect Drug Control Office from Sweeping Budget Cuts Introduced

Two senators have introduced a bill that would protect the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) from sweeping budget cuts proposed by the Trump Administration, according to the Associated Press.

The White House is proposing a cut of 94 percent to ONDCP’s budget, an e-mail to agency employees by Acting Director Richard Baum revealed. He asked employees not to share the information, but the e-mail was quickly leaked. The proposed budget fully eliminates several programs involved in fighting the opioid epidemic.

New Hampshire U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan introduced a bill that would reauthorize the office, increase funding for programs, and streamline ONDCP to ensure efficient use of resources.

“The Trump Administration’s proposal to effectively eliminate the ONDCP is not fiscally responsible, it’s dangerous and would significantly roll back our efforts to stem the tide of this crisis,” Hassan said in a news release.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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