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.

New Jersey Becomes Latest State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a measure legalizing and regulating marijuana use and possession for adults 21 years and older, ABC News reports. The governor also signed legislation reforming penalties for low-level marijuana offenses.

Rates of Suicidal Thinking and Behavior Increase in Teens During Pandemic

Rates of suicidal thinking and behavior among teens rose 25% or more during certain months last year compared with similar periods in 2019, according to a new study.

Study Finds Greater Risk of High Blood Pressure in Children Exposed to Tobacco Smoke

A new study finds children who are exposed to tobacco smoke have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure compared with their peers who aren’t exposed.

California Measure Would Decriminalize Psychedelics for Personal and Therapeutic Use

A bill introduced in the California legislature would decriminalize the possession and personal use of psychedelics including LSD, ketamine and psilocybin, NBC News reports.

New Meth Treatment Could Help Reduce Use Among Gay Men

A new two-drug combination that shows promise in treating meth addiction could help reduce meth use in gay men, NBC News reports.

Many For-Profit Addiction Treatment Programs Charge Inflated Fees, Study Finds

A study of for-profit addiction treatment programs finds many of them charge inflated fees and use misleading sales practices to attract patients, NPR reports.

Recreational Marijuana Legalization Associated with Increased Teen Use

After California legalized recreational marijuana use for adults in 2016, teens’ use of the drug also increased, according to a new study.

Doctors Report Increasing Threats of Violence If They Refuse to Prescribe Opioids

Doctors who try to wean patients off opioids or refuse to prescribe the drugs say they face increasing threats of violence, the Associated Press reports.

Increased Online Sales of Alcohol Here to Stay, Industry Experts Say

Increased online sales of alcohol, spurred by the pandemic, are here to stay, industry experts tell Marketplace.

Denver Sends Health Workers, Not Police, to Respond to Calls Involving Substance Use

A Denver program that sends health workers instead of police to respond to calls involving substance use and mental health issues is showing signs of success, CBS News reports.

Featured News: Tawanda Murray: Revisiting Her Recovery Journey to Help Others

Murray, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist whose work is inspired by personal experience, looks to the past to improve the future for women in recovery. “When I was in recovery programs, I was told what to do but was never asked what I needed.”

McKinsey Affiliate That Runs Addiction Treatment Centers Could Profit From Settlement

A $573 million settlement reached between the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and attorneys general, which will go toward opioid treatment, prevention and recovery programs, could financially benefit a hedge fund affiliated with McKinsey, NBC News reports.

Alcohol Use in LGBTQ Community Increasing During Pandemic

Several studies suggest alcohol use is on the rise in the LGBTQ community during the pandemic, according to NBC News.

Legislators Ask Biden to Let More Doctors Prescribe Buprenorphine

A bipartisan group of legislators is asking President Biden to allow more doctors to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction, The Washington Post reports.

Study Finds Teen Smoking Unchanged or Increased in 43% of Countries in Last 20 Years

A global survey of teen tobacco use found 43% of countries showed no progress in reducing cigarette smoking among 13- to 15-year-olds in the past two decades.

McKinsey Agrees to Pay $573 Million to Settle Opioid Crisis Investigations

The consulting firm McKinsey & Company has agreed to pay $573 million to settle investigations into its role in the opioid crisis, The New York Times reports.

Oregon Drug Decriminalization Measure Takes Effect

Oregon’s measure to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine took effect this week, The Associated Press reports.

Study: 34% of Young Adults Misuse Opioids or Other Prescribed Psychoactive Drugs

A new study finds 34% of young adults report misusing their prescriptions for psychoactive drugs, including opioids, stimulants, tranquilizers and sedatives, CNN reports.

CBD Found Ineffective in Treating Cocaine Addiction

CBD products are not effective in treating cocaine addiction, according to a new study.

Smokers, at Increased Risk for Poor COVID-19 Outcomes, Given Priority for Vaccine

People who smoke are one of the priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, USA Today reports. Evidence is mounting that people who smoke are at increased risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes, health experts say.

Alcohol Use Rising Faster in People With Anxiety, Depression During COVID-19

People with anxiety and depression are more likely than people without mental health issues to report increased alcohol use during the pandemic, according to a new study.

Biden Administration to Halt Plan to Let More Doctors Prescribe Buprenorphine

The Biden administration intends to stop a plan by the Department of Health and Human Services to allow more doctors to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction, The Washington Post reports.

Drug Cartels Changing Tactics During Pandemic: DEA

Mexican drug cartels have adapted to changes in drug distribution caused by the pandemic, according to the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. They are processing fentanyl into pill form for easier transport, the agency said.

Use Opioid Settlement Money to Prevent and Treat Addiction, Advocacy Groups Urge

A coalition of medical societies and advocacy organizations is calling on local governments to use funds from settlements with opioid makers to prevent and treat addiction, STAT reports.

Study Finds Small Opioid Prescriptions Lead To Less Pain for Surgical Patients

A new study finds patients who receive small “just in case” prescriptions of opioids after surgery report less pain than those who receive the usual amount of post-surgical opioids.
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