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.

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.

Featured News: Groups Sue FDA Over Menthol in Tobacco Products

Three groups have sued the FDA for failing to regulate menthol cigarettes, even though Congress urged the agency to do so in 2009.

OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges

Purdue Pharma, maker of the prescription opioid OxyContin, agreed on Wednesday to plead guilty to criminal charges over the company’s role in the nation’s opioid crisis, The New York Times reports. The company faces $8.3 billion in penalties.

Drug Overdose Deaths Increased 10% in First Three Months of 2020

Drug overdose deaths increased 10% during the first three months of this year, preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates.

One-Third of High School Seniors Who Misused Prescription Opioids Later Used Heroin

A new study finds almost one-third of high school seniors who reported misusing prescription opioids but did not receive a prescription for the drugs ended up using heroin by age 35.

Minimum Pricing for Alcoholic Beverages May Reduce Deaths and Hospitalizations

When governments institute a minimum price for alcoholic beverages, the percentage of deaths and hospitalizations from alcohol use significantly drops, a new study suggests.

New 988 Hotline Will Be Devoted to Mental Health Emergencies

A new 988 hotline devoted to mental health emergencies is expected to be up and running in July 2022, NPR reports.

Hospitals Reduce Beds for Addiction Treatment and Mental Health During Pandemic

Hospitals have reduced the number of beds dedicated to addiction and mental health treatment as the demand for services increases during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Misuse of Fentanyl and Heroin on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic

The misuse of fentanyl, heroin and nonprescribed opioids is increasing, potentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study.

More College-Age Americans Choosing Not To Drink

The number of college-age Americans who are choosing not to consume alcohol is increasing, according to a new study.

Stock Prices for Major Marijuana Producers Rise After VP Debate

Stock prices for major marijuana producers rose the day after Kamala Harris said at the vice presidential debate that marijuana would be decriminalized at the federal level under a Biden administration.

Having Acupuncture Before Surgery May Reduce Need for Opioids

A new study suggests using acupuncture before surgery may reduce the need for opioids after the procedure.

Misuse of Prescription Opioids Appears To Be Declining, Study Suggests

Misuse of prescription opioids appears to be on the decline, a new study suggests.

Pandemic Takes Toll on Treatment for Substance Use Disorders, Mental Health: WHO

A new survey by the World Health Organization finds the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on treatment services for substance use disorders and mental health worldwide, Reuters reports.

Cocaine Overdose Deaths Nearly Tripled in Five Years

Cocaine overdose deaths in the United States nearly tripled from 2013 through 2018, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Voters in Four States To Decide on Legalizing and Taxing Marijuana

Marijuana will be on the ballot in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota on November 3, CNBC reports. Voters in those states will decide on legalizing and taxing marijuana.

Attorneys General Call for Less Smoking in Streaming Shows

The National Association of Attorneys General is urging Hollywood talent unions to limit the amount of smoking shown in streaming shows, in an effort to protect young audiences from tobacco use.

Women Increased Heavy Drinking During Pandemic: Study

Women have increased their heavy drinking episodes during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study suggests.

More Women Trying Marijuana to Manage Menopause Symptoms

More women are trying marijuana to help ease their menopause symptoms, a survey of middle-aged female U.S. veterans finds.

People Who Vape More Likely to Take Up Regular Cigarettes

People who use e-cigarettes are three times more likely than people who don’t vape to take up regular cigarettes, according to a review of 25 studies.

Steep Increase Seen in Deaths Related to Alcohol Use in Rural Areas

Deaths linked to alcohol use rose 43% in rural areas of the U.S. between 2006 and 2018, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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