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Stats On Opioid Addiction

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The deadly opioid epidemic which have ravaged the Rust Belt and killed more than 350,000 Americans since 1999 were largely white.

Opioid-related mortality has been stereotyped as a rural, low-income phenomenon concentrated among Appalachian or Midwestern states, it has spread rapidly, particularly among the eastern states,” the researchers reported in the study that was published in Journal of Medical Association.

Now a wider range of populations are being affected, with the spread of the epidemic from rural to urban areas and considerable increases in opioid-related mortality observed in the black population.”

For example, the death rate from opioids in the District of Columbia, where nearly half the residents are black, has tripled every year since 2013.

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Tufts University Connection To Purdue Pharma’s Connection To OxyContin

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Tufts University is reviewing its connection to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma in the wake of court documents filed last week detailing explosive allegations about the company, the mega-donors that own it and their alleged influence over the university’s medical school.

The court filing from Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey alleges that members of the Sackler family knew the opioid was causing overdoses and were involved in efforts to mislead doctors and the public about the powerful painkiller’s effects. They did not tell authorities about reports the drug was being abused and peddled on the street, it says.

The filing claims one member of the family, Richard Sackler, wanted to blame abusers, writing in a 2001 email that abusers “are the culprits and the problem” and that they “are reckless criminals,”.

The filing alleges that Purdue funded “an entire degree program at Tufts University to influence Massachusetts doctors to use its drugs.” Purdue sponsored an annual “Sackler Lecture” at Tufts on pain medicine, and Richard Sackler for many years held a seat on the school of medicine’s board, it alleges. (Purdue Pharma is unrelated to the university in Indiana.)

A Tufts spokesman, Patrick Collins, issued a statement Friday saying that the university has been and remains deeply committed to the highest ethical and scientific standards.

“The information raised in the Attorney General’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other defendants is deeply troubling,” it said. “We will be undertaking a review of Tufts’ connection with Purdue to ensure that we were provided accurate information, that we followed our conflict of interest guidelines and that we adhered to our principles of academic and research integrity. Based on this review, we will determine if any changes need to be made moving forward.”

It appears that members of the Sackler family have given money to many universities and museums over the years. Donations have resulted in their names being inscribed on campuses, including the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences and the Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education at Tufts and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University.

The Boston Globe noted Harvard Art Museums have pointed out that the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation provides no continuing funding for the museum:

“Arthur Sackler generously donated the funds in 1982 that paid for the construction of the original building that housed the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at 485 Broadway. In 2014, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum was relocated to 32 Quincy Street, as part of the renovation and expansion of the Harvard Art Museums.”

Tufts provided similar background information in response to a question about the Somerville mayor’s call to remove the Sackler name from campus:

“The Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences was established in 1980 by Jean Mayer, then president of Tufts University, and the Board of Trustees to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary graduate education to advance health. In 1983, Jean Mayer and the Board of Trustees established the Arthur M. Sackler Center. In both cases, the naming gifts were provided to the university more than a decade before OxyContin was introduced to the marketplace.”

A lengthy 2017 feature in The New Yorker says he became wealthy marketing the tranquilizers Librium and Valium. It quoted Allen Frances, former chair of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, saying that, “Most of the questionable practices that propelled the pharmaceutical industry into the scourge it is today can be attributed to Arthur Sackler.”

In 2014, Purdue medical liaison staff “succeeded in getting two Purdue unbranded curricula approved for teaching” to Tufts students, it alleges.

Purdue Pharma, based in Stamford, Conn., did not respond to requests for comment. The company sent a statement to WBUR saying Healey is attempting to vilify “a single manufacturer whose medicines represent less than 2 percent of opioid pain prescriptions rather than doing the hard work of trying to solve a complex public health crisis.”

It also said that “the complaint distorts critical facts and cynically conflates prescription opioid medications with illegal heroin and fentanyl, which are the leading cause of overdose deaths in Massachusetts.”

Almost 218,000 people in the United States died from overdoses related to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2017, according to the CDC. Overdose deaths from prescription opioids were five times higher in 2017 than they were in 1999.

New Technology To Combat Drug Overdoses

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Much of the current opioid crisis is based on people not being fully aware of what they are consuming,” Mr. Gebeyehu says. “We have seen a large amount of heroin being sold that doesn’t contain any heroin at all. What has been sold to users as heroin has in fact been solely fentanyl or a mixture of some sort.”

BaySpec, this cutting-edge device has been set up in a supervised injection site at Ottawa’s Sandy Hill Community Health Centre through a research project between Carleton and the University of Ottawa. When clients come in to use the supervised facilities, they can offer up a trace sample of their drug, then sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the technician as it is scanned.

Clients then must decide what to do with this information, will they continue to inject and use, are they are going to leave the sample with researchers to have it destroyed by the Ottawa police service, or are they going to maybe change the supplier they get their drugs from?

U of Ottawa assistant professor Lynne Leonard is the project lead. She says the service has already met with excellent response. Research gathered from this project will allow them to evaluate if the service is changing people’s behavior. “If they know there is fentanyl in what they thought was heroin, or if the heroin turns out to be cocaine, is this information changing their behavior?” Clients say they will spread the word about this research.

 

 

Kentucky’s Workforce Took A Deep Dive Due To The Opioid Crisis

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As businesses struggle to find and retain workers, the opioid crisis is making their challenges even greater.

The Kentucky Chamber, in a 2017 report, took a deep dive into Kentucky’s low workforce participation rate and found that the opioid epidemic, and incarceration due to drug charges, are leading factors in Kentucky’s lack of workers.

Five state chamber presidents sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other members of Congress, encouraging them to find a policy solution that focuses on treatment with a specific goal: getting people on the path to recovery and back into the workforce.

Following the business community’s recommendation, Sen. McConnell introduced the CAREER Act, which will ensure patients in recovery have the resources they need to return to healthy, productive lives and reenter the workforce.

The CAREER Act proposes a five-year pilot program in five states that have been hit hardest by the opioid epidemic to offer wrap-around support services for individuals transitioning out of treatment programs and back into the workforce. These services will include workforce training and transitional housing.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., is also championing a critical piece of legislation, the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act, to make sure people have access to all the available treatments they need to beat opioid addiction. Together, these forward-thinking policies will help address the opioid epidemic from treatment through recovery and reintroduction into the workforce.

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Workforce Drug Positivity Highest Rate In A Decade

 

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Driven by increases in cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, drug use by the American workforce remains at its highest rate in more than a decade, according to a new analysis released today by Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services.

Cocaine positivity increases overall, jumps sharply in some areas

The positivity rate for cocaine increased for the fifth consecutive year in the general U.S. workforce across every specimen type. In urine testing, the most common drug test specimen type, the positivity rate for cocaine increased seven percent in the general U.S. workforce (0.28% in 2016 versus 0.30% in 2017). Year-over-year increases were also observed in the general U.S. workforce in oral fluid testing (up 16%) and hair testing (19%).

Methamphetamine positivity skyrockets in Midwest and South regions

An analysis of trends in the general U.S. workforce based on the four U.S. Census regions identified large increases of methamphetamine positivity rates. Between 2013 and 2017, methamphetamine positivity increased: 167 percent in the East North Central division of the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin);160 percent in the East South Central division of the South (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee); 150 percent in the Middle Atlantic division of the Northeast (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania); and 140 percent in the South Atlantic division of the South (Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia). The percentage increase in these four divisions ranged between nine percent and 25 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Prescription opiates continue decline in workforce testing data

“The depth of our large-scale analysis supports the possibility that efforts by policymakers, employers, and the medical community to decrease the availability of opioid prescriptions and curtail the opioid crisis is working to reduce their use, at least among the working public.

Based on the analysis of more than 10 million workforce drug test results between January – December 2017.

Nationally, the positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce held steady

Marijuana positivity is up in states with new legalization statutes

Overall, marijuana positivity continued its five-year upward trajectory in urine testing for both the general U.S. workforce and the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforce. Marijuana positivity increased four percent in the general U.S. workforce (2.5% in 2016 versus 2.6% in 2017) and nearly eight percent in the safety-sensitive workforce (0.78% versus 0.84%).

Increases in positivity rates for marijuana in the general U.S. workforce were most striking in states that have enacted recreational use statues since 2016. Those states include: Nevada (43%), Massachusetts (14%) and California (11%).

Nationally, the positivity rate for opiates in the general U.S. workforce in urine drug testing declined 17 percent between 2016 and 2017 (0.47% versus 0.39%). More notably, oxycodones (oxycodone and/or oxymorphone) positivity declined 12 percent between 2016 and 2017 (0.69% vs. 0.61%), hydrocodone positivity declined 17 percent (0.81% vs. 0.67%); and hydromorphone positivity declined 22% (0.59% vs. 0.46%). Opiates other than codeine were at their lowest positivity rate in more than a decade.

Marijuana positivity is up in states with new legalization statutes

Overall, marijuana positivity continued its five-year upward trajectory in urine testing for both the general U.S. workforce and the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforce. Marijuana positivity increased four percent in the general U.S. workforce (2.5% in 2016 versus 2.6% in 2017) and nearly eight percent in the safety-sensitive workforce (0.78% versus 0.84%).

Increases in positivity rates for marijuana in the general U.S. workforce were most striking in states that have enacted recreational use statues since 2016. Those states include: Nevada (43%), Massachusetts (14%) and California (11%).

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Workforce Shortage due To Opioid Addiction

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First there’s a shortage due to lack of technological skills now it’s opioid addiction.

A provision in a bipartisan Senate package, the Opioid Crisis Response Act, addressing the workforce shortage created by the addiction crisis was secured Tuesday.

The provision is based on legislation U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced earlier this month called the Collectively Achieving Recovery and Employment (CARE) Act. The bipartisan package passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Tuesday.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act is a wide-ranging, bipartisan package aimed at stemming the tide of the nationwide opioid crisis. The bill includes a provision based on Brown and Capito’s CARE Act that targets federal workforce training grants to address the workforce shortages and skill gaps caused by the opioid epidemic.

The Opioid Addiction Crisis

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SAN ANTONIO – Texas saw 1,186 opioid-related deaths in 2015 and experts say the problem is only getting worse. 

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Addiction Policy Forum have announced a new four-year plan. Some doctors are skeptical but hopeful that PhRMA’s vision becomes a reality.

Some of the approaches in mind

 Take an opioid and alter its chemical structure so it won’t be addictive.

Another way is to look at entirely new drugs  and how they may alleviate pain.

Comment:

They should make note that many of opioid addicts take pills to get high and not for pain. IT’S LIKE THEY HAVE A CHOICE OR PREFERENCE ON HOW THEY WANT TO GET HIGH. They might use pain as a cop out so they won’t be judged harshly. If caught early enough  someone such as a therapist, counselor, social worker etc may help alleviate serious addiction.

 

 

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