The Latest News from Our Field

We curate a digest of the latest news in our field for advocates, policymakers, community coalitions and all who work toward shaping policies and practices to effectively prevent substance use and treat addiction.

Featured News: Teen vaping remains rampant. The Biden administration can change that.

The incoming Biden-Harris administration can end the tobacco industry’s longstanding hold on serious tobacco control efforts, which has largely been tolerated by past administrations.

Fentanyl Overdoses Drive Sharp Rise in Deaths of Homeless People in Los Angeles

Fentanyl overdoses played a large role in the sharp increase in the deaths of homeless people in Los Angeles County last year, according to a new report.

Study Finds Two-Drug Combination May Help Treat Meth Addiction

A two-drug combination may help treat addiction to meth, according to a study published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Smoking Marijuana May Cause Exposure to Smoke-Related Toxins

Smoking marijuana may cause exposure to several toxins associated with neurological damage and cancer, according to a new study.

Having Hope May Help Prevent Risky Behavior

Having hope may prevent people from engaging in risky behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, taking drugs, over-eating or gambling, a new study finds.

Drug Overdose Deaths Soar During Pandemic

More than 81,000 Americans died from a drug overdose during the 12 months ending in May, the highest number ever recorded during a 12-month period, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Justice Department Sues Walmart Over Role in Opioid Crisis

The U.S. Justice Department is suing Walmart over its role in the opioid crisis, Reuters reports.

Changes in Buprenorphine Prescribing Rules Due to COVID Led to More Patients

Changes in federal rules that made it easier to prescribe the opioid addiction medicine buprenorphine during the early days of the pandemic led to an increase in the number of patients receiving the medication in Texas, HealthDay reports.

Pandemic Leads to Delay in Opioid Trials

Two federal trials related to the nation’s opioid crisis have been delayed due to the pandemic, The Washington Post reports.

Smoking One to Four Cigarettes Daily Can Lead to Nicotine Addiction

Almost two-thirds of people who smoke four or fewer cigarettes a day are addicted to nicotine, a new study finds. The results indicate that lighter smoking is still risky, the researchers say.

Sackler Family Members to Testify at House Hearing Examining Opioid Epidemic

Two members of the Sackler family, which owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, were scheduled to testify Thursday before a House panel investigating the opioid epidemic, according to Reuters.

Depression in Childhood or Teen Years May Increase Odds of Illness and Early Death

A new study suggests depression in childhood or adolescence may increase the risk of illness and early death.

Opioid Industry Spent $65 Million Funding Advocacy Groups: Senate Report

Nonprofit groups that advocate treating pain with medications have received $65 million since 1997 from opioid manufacturers, according to a bipartisan congressional investigation.

Teen Vaping Rate Stops Climbing, But Levels Stay High

Teens’ rate of vaping nicotine and marijuana leveled off this year, but rates remain high, according to the most recent figures from the annual Monitoring the Future survey.

College Students Who Moved Home Due to Pandemic are Drinking Less

A new survey finds college students who moved home due to the COVID-19 pandemic are drinking less alcohol, HealthDay reports.

McKinsey Apologizes for Its Work With OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma

Consulting firm McKinsey & Company issued an apology this week for its work with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, The New York Times reports.

House Passes Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana at the Federal Level

The House passed a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The Senate is unlikely to pass the measure, CBS News reports.

Vaping Rates Among Teens and Young Adults Have Fallen During Pandemic

A new survey has found vaping rates among teens and young adults have dropped significantly during the pandemic.

Non-Fatal Overdoses Increase in Children Younger Than 15

Non-fatal drug overdoses increased for children under the age of 15 between 2016 and 2019, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

WHO Sets Goal: Get 100 Million People to Quit Tobacco Worldwide in 2021

The World Health Organization announced a year-long campaign, “Commit to Quit,” to help 100 million people quit tobacco worldwide.

Consulting Firm McKinsey Suggested OxyContin Maker Pay Rebates for Overdoses

The consulting firm McKinsey & Company advised members of the Sackler family, the owners of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, to consider giving the company’s distributors a rebate for every overdose attributable to the pills they sold, according to documents released in a federal bankruptcy court.

OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges in Opioid Case

Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges related to the marketing and distribution of its opioid painkiller OxyContin, The New York Times reports.

United Nations Removes Marijuana from List of the World’s Most Dangerous Drugs

The United Nations this week voted to remove marijuana from its list of the world’s most dangerous drugs.

One-Fifth of U.S. Adults Used Tobacco Products in 2019

One-fifth of U.S. adults — 50.6 million people — used tobacco products in 2019, according to a new government report.

Virtual A.A. Sessions Likely to Outlast the Pandemic

Virtual sessions of Alcoholics Anonymous, which have become common during the pandemic, are likely to become a permanent part of recovery, according to participants and addiction treatment providers.
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