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.

Almost 90,000 Americans Report Anxiety or Depression as a Result of Pandemic

Almost 90,000 Americans say they have developed anxiety or depression as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report by the nonprofit group Mental Health America.

Deaths From Drug Overdoses, Alcohol and Suicide Leveled Off in 2018

The rate of deaths from drug overdoses, alcohol and suicide—so-called “deaths of despair”—were about the same in 2018 compared with the year before, a new study finds.

Addiction Experts Say Pandemic Could Lead to Spike in Unhealthy Alcohol Use

Addiction specialists are concerned the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to an increase in harmful drinking, The New York Times reports.

Few Black Overdose Patients with Private Insurance Receive Follow-up Care

Few people with private insurance who are treated in the emergency room for an opioid overdose receive follow-up addiction treatment, a new study finds. The problem is especially severe for black patients, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Court Filing Asserts Big Pharmacy Chains Played Key Role in Opioid Crisis

A new court filing in a trial scheduled for next year asserts big pharmacy chains played a major role in the opioid crisis, The New York Times reports.

Use of Medication for Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia Increases During Pandemic

The number of prescriptions being filled to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia is on the rise during the pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal.

New Synthetic Opioid, Mixed With Cocaine, Detected in Overdose Cases

Health officials in Illinois and Indiana say a new synthetic opioid appears to be linked to some overdose cases, USA Today reports.

Sources of Illegal Drugs Change During Pandemic, Leading to New Overdose Risks

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting the supply chain of illegal drugs, leading to new overdose risks, experts tell NPR.

Number of Opioid Deaths May be Much Higher Than Previously Believed

The number of deaths due to opioid overdoses may be much higher than previously thought, according to a new study.

COVID-19 Pandemic Makes Mental Health Treatment Harder to Obtain

The COVID-19 pandemic is making it more difficult for people to obtain mental health treatment, the Associated Press reports.

Study Suggests 19 is Good Legal Age for Marijuana Use; Some Experts Disagree

A new Canadian study suggests 19 is the optimal minimum age for legal recreational marijuana use. Some experts say they are concerned about the impact of the drug on brain development before 25.

Pandemic Increases Hurdles for People Seeking Addiction Treatment

The COVID-19 pandemic is making it more difficult for some people seeking treatment for addiction to find help, experts tell the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Study: COVID-19 Could Greatly Increase Deaths From Alcohol and Drug Misuse and Suicide

A new study estimates that as many as 75,000 additional people in the United States could die from drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

App That Tracks Blood-Alcohol Content Finds Spike in Drinking During Pandemic

An app designed to measure blood-alcohol content found a spike in drinking right after people started staying home due to the pandemic, USA Today reports.

Some Smokers Motivated to Quit to Protect Themselves Against Coronavirus

Some people calling California’s Smokers’ Helpline say they are motivated to quit because of the coronavirus, according to NPR.

Rate of Youth ER Visits for Mental Health Disorders Jumped 60% in a Decade

The rate of emergency room visits by children and teens for mental health disorders rose 60% over a decade, according to a new study.

Pandemic Leading to Sharp Rise in People Seeking Mental Health Help

The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to a sharp rise in people seeking help for mental health issues, experts tell The Washington Post.

Illegal Drugs More Expensive and Harder to Obtain Due to COVID-19

Illegal drugs are more expensive and difficult to obtain worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Social Aspects of Vaping Drives Young People’s Juul Use, Study Finds

Almost two-thirds of teens and young adults say social factors are driving young people’s use of Juul and other e-cigarettes, according to a new study.

Warning Labels on Alcohol Products May Help Discourage Drinking

A study of warning labels on alcohol products finds they may help discourage drinking, HealthDay reports.

Study Finds Increasing Non-Alcoholic Drink Options May Reduce Alcohol Use

When people are offered a range of drink options, they are more likely to choose a non-alcoholic drink if there are more of them available than alcoholic drinks, a new study finds.

Tech Companies Launch Online Platform to Offer Support for Addiction Recovery

Google, Facebook and Twitter have partnered to launch an online platform to offer support for people with substance use disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic, CNBC reports.

NIDA Director Urges People to Stop Vaping Because of Coronavirus Risks

Dr. Nora Volkow, who heads the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is urging people to stop vaping because of the likelihood it will lead to worse outcomes for people with coronavirus, Kaiser Health News reports.

Pandemic Puts the Breaks on Many State Marijuana Legalization Initiatives

At the beginning of this year, more than a dozen states appeared likely to legalize marijuana for recreational or medical purposes by the end of 2020. Due to the pandemic, many of those states are unlikely to proceed with legalization this year, according to Vox.

Experts Predict Coronavirus Lockdown Will Lead to Troubling Increase in Alcohol Use

The coronavirus lockdown is likely to lead to a troubling increase in alcohol use, addiction experts tell The Washington Post.
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