The National Governors Associations this weekend announced treatment guidelines are needed to address the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to The New York Times. The group said it will devise protocols aimed at reducing the use of the painkillers.
Dental schools in Massachusetts have agreed to begin training their students in opioid abuse prevention and management, WBUR reports. The state already has reached similar agreements with the heads of the state’s medical schools.
Systematic efforts may help lower the level of opioids that patients use, a new study concludes. These steps include educating prescribers and limiting doses for patients prescribed chronic opioid therapy.
Using opioid painkillers for more than one month may increase the risk of depression, a new study suggests. People who take opioids and feel depressed should be aware that the drugs, and not just the pain, may be a potential cause, the researchers say.
Employers face a number of challenges in dealing with workers’ prescription drug abuse. Studies show people with addictions are much more likely to be sick, absent or use workers’ compensation benefits, according to NPR.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention face stiff opposition to its effort to reduce prescribing of opioid painkillers, the Associated Press reports. Critics of new prescribing guidelines include drug manufacturers, industry-funded groups and some public health officials.
A growing number of the elderly are becoming addicted to prescription painkillers, experts tell U.S. News & World Report. Caretakers and doctors often fail to spot the signs of addiction in older patients.
The four medical schools in Massachusetts will incorporate instruction in preventing and treating prescription drug misuse into their curriculum, according to The Boston Globe. The state’s 3,000 medical school students will learn skills designed to prevent painkiller misuse.
Teens who are prescribed opioid painkillers may be at greater risk of future opioid misuse, a new study suggests. Use of painkillers in high school was associated with a 33 percent increased risk of later misuse.
An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has voted in favor of approving a new opioid painkiller made by Collegium Pharmaceuticals. The panel’s unanimous vote was contrary to a recommendation by FDA staff, according to Reuters.
Some patients with chronic pain say they are having increasing trouble obtaining prescription painkillers. This trend may be an unintended consequence of the government’s attempts to reduce illicit use of prescription drugs, PBS NewsHour reports.
People who suffer from chronic back pain along with high levels of anxiety or depression are 75 percent more likely to abuse opioids than those with low levels of depression or anxiety, a new study suggests.
A new study links “pharmacy shopping” with many painkiller overdose deaths among patients on Medicaid. The study found patients who used four pharmacies within 90 days had the highest odds of overdosing, HealthDay reports.
Heroin abuse is rising across the United States, according to a new government report that finds the strongest risk factor for a heroin use disorder is a prescription opioid use disorder. People addicted to opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to abuse or be dependent on heroin, NPR reports.
Abuse-deterrent formulations of opioid painkillers are making it more difficult for people to misuse the medications, but have not eliminated the problem of opioid abuse, experts tell The New York Times.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has arrested 280 people in a four-state crackdown of illegal distribution of prescription pills, named “Operation Pilluted,” Reuters reports. The arrests took place in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.