Key reads

CDC data shows rising deaths due to cocaine and stimulants mixed with opioids

New CDC data shows that the rate of overdose deaths involving cocaine and opioids increased faster than the rate without opioids 2009-2019, and in 2019, 76% of overdose deaths involving cocaine also involved an opioid. The rate of overdose deaths involving psychostimulants alone was higher than the rate also involving opioids 2009-2016, but the pattern reversed 2017-2019. In 2019, 54% of psychostimulant overdose deaths involved an opioid. The rates of both cocaine and psychostimulant deaths involving opioids are higher in the Northeast than the West.

Source: Rising U.S. Deaths After Users Mix Cocaine, Meth With an Opioid (U.S. News & World Report)

Biden administration releases drug policy priorities for first year in office

The Biden administration announced its drug policy priorities for its first year — expanding access to evidence-based treatment; advancing racial equity in the approach to drug policy; enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts; supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use; reducing the supply of illicit substances; advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce; and expanding access to recovery support services.

Source: The Biden-Harris Administration’s Statement of Drug Policy Priorities for Year One (White House)

Federal news

CARA 3.0 introduced in Congress to comprehensively address the addiction crisis

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0 will bolster work to prevent substance misuse through funding for research and education, double down on evidence-based treatment methods and expand treatment options for groups particularly vulnerable to addiction, bolster recovery options through funding to support recovery support services, and reform the criminal justice system to ensure that those struggling with addiction are treated with fairness and compassion by the law.

Source: Portman Column: CARA 3.0 Will Help Ohioans Beat Addiction (Senator Rob Portman)

Senator Schumer to push ahead on federal marijuana legalization efforts

In an interview on marijuana, Sen. Schumer said he wants to make his arguments for legalization to Biden, but that Biden’s reticence will not deter the Senate from taking action. He said the decade-long experiment with state legalization shows that the worst fears of what would happen were overblown. Schumer discussed the difference having a Democratic majority in the Senate will make, efforts on banking, working with Republicans, expungement, and decriminalization vs. legalization.

Source: Schumer: Senate will act on marijuana legalization with or without Biden (Politico)

State and local news

New York legalized marijuana for recreational use

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation legalizing adult-use, recreational marijuana. New Yorkers 21+ can now legally possess and consume cannabis, though dispensaries are not expected to open until next year. The legalization measure will help address racial injustices (through automatic expungement, fewer drug arrests, funding to communities most hurt by drug war policies, etc.), but concerns remain about legalization’s impact on youth and road safety.

Sources: Cuomo signs bill legalizing adult-use, recreational marijuana in New York (Politico); Can New York’s Marijuana Legalization Light Up a New Path? (New York Times)

State lawmakers increasingly moving toward marijuana legalization

Until this year, only 2 states (Illinois and Vermont) had legalized recreational marijuana through the legislature (as opposed to at the ballot box). This year, however, legislatures in Virginia, New York, New Mexico and New Jersey passed such measures, and Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware are also considering legalization. More conservative states like Kansas and Alabama are moving medical marijuana bills forward.

Source: Where weed is legal (Politico)

Other news in addiction policy

Younger age of first substance use associated with faster development of substance use disorder

A NIDA study found that in the time after first trying cannabis or intentionally misusing prescription medication, the percentages of young people who develop the corresponding substance use disorder are higher among adolescents than young adults. Thirty percent of young adults develop a heroin use disorder and 25% develop a methamphetamine use disorder a year after first using these substances.

Source: Younger age of first cannabis use or prescription drug misuse is associated with faster development of substance use disorders (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

National Academy of Medicine releases discussion paper on future directions for the addiction treatment ecosystem

A discussion paper from the NAM Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic outlines future directions for the addiction treatment ecosystem. To describe the needs and solutions of the addiction treatment ecosystem, the paper outlines the “4 Cs” – capacity, competency, consistency, and compensation.

Source: Guide for Future Directions for the Addiction and OUD Treatment Ecosystem (National Academy of Medicine)