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.

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.

Judge Approves $8.3 Billion Settlement With OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma

This week a federal bankruptcy judge authorized a settlement valued at $8.3 billion between OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and the Department of Justice, NPR reports.

Supervising Drug Consumption at Needle Exchange Program Would Save Lives: Study

Supervising drug consumption at a needle exchange program in Boston would save three to four lives a year, and more than $4 million, according to a new report.

Fentanyl Deaths Increase in Western U.S.

A new study finds fentanyl deaths have increased in states west of the Mississippi River, according to NPR.

Bipartisan Support for Marijuana Legalization Grows Across Country

A recent Gallup poll and the passage of state marijuana legalization measures indicate that bipartisan support for legalization is growing, AP reports.

New York Excise Tax Makes It Harder To Fill Opioid Prescriptions

After New York State implemented an excise tax on many opioids in July 2019, some patients have had difficulty filling opioid prescriptions, Kaiser Health News reports.

Proposed $26 Billion Deal Would End Thousands of Opioid Lawsuits

A large drug company and three major drug distributors have proposed a $26 billion deal with state and local governments that sued them for their role in the opioid crisis. If the deal is finalized, the companies would be shielded from future opioid-related lawsuits from these governments, The New York Times reports.

House To Vote on Bill That Would Remove Federal Penalties on Marijuana

The U.S. House will vote next month on a measure to remove federal penalties on marijuana, Politico reports.

U.S. Sees Dramatic Rise in Alcohol and Drug Misuse, Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

A new study finds “diseases of despair,” including alcohol and drug misuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, rose dramatically in the United States between 2009 and 2018.

Democratic Senators Oppose Effort To Convert Purdue Pharma to Public Asset

A group of Democratic senators is urging the Justice Department to drop its efforts to convert OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma into a public asset, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Study Finds One-Third of People Who Vape Have Symptoms of Lung Injury

One-third of people who use e-cigarettes report having one or more symptoms of vaping-related lung injury, according to a new study.

Oregon Voters Approve Drug Decriminalization

Oregon has become the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, CBS News reports.

Pandemic Is Worsening Opioid Epidemic: American Medical Association

Evidence is mounting that the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening the opioid epidemic, according to the American Medical Association.

Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measures Pass in Four States

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota passed recreational marijuana legalization measures on Tuesday, USA Today reports.

Experts: Tell Public How To Manage Stress Without Alcohol During Pandemic

Public health messages are needed to educate people about how to manage stress and anxiety without using alcohol during the pandemic, according to addiction experts at McLean Hospital.

Study Finds the Hallucinogen Psilocybin May Treat Major Depression

A new small study finds the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin was more effective than standard antidepressants in treating major depressive disorder, NPR reports.

Walmart Sues Federal Government in Opioid Case

Walmart has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, asking a court to declare the company and its pharmacists were not responsible for improperly distributing opioid prescriptions.

Measure to Eliminate Criminal Penalties for Drug Use on the Ballot in Oregon

A measure that would decriminalize personal use of drugs including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine will be on the ballot in Oregon on November 3, The New York Times reports.

COVID May Be Making Opioid Treatment Less Accessible for Pregnant Women: Expert

The COVID-19 pandemic may be making it harder for pregnant women to receive treatment for opioid addiction, according to the author of a new report on opioid use in pregnancy.

Critics Say Trump Administration Made Serious Missteps in Addressing Opioid Crisis

The Trump Administration has made serious missteps in addressing the opioid crisis, several drug policy experts told NPR.

New Study Finds “Heat-Not-Burn” Cigarettes Can Be Harmful to Health

A new study suggests “heat-not-burn” tobacco products, often touted as a healthier replacement for cigarettes, may harm the heart.