NCADD and Facing Addiction Have Merged


Today, Facing Addiction and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce a definitive agreement to merge our organizations – creating a national leader in the effort to turn the tide on the addiction epidemic. Inspired by decades of advocacy, led largely by NCADD in partnership with many NCADD Affiliates from around the country, Facing Addiction formed an unparalleled, coalition that launched on October 4, 2015, with a historic concert and rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC. On that day, an unprecedented group of entertainers, politicians, advocates, and “everyday Americans” came together to tell the country that we must unify our voices to turn the tide against addiction. Since that historic event, Facing Addiction has quickly become a leading voice in the effort to turn the tide against addiction in our country. They have now forged a coalition of some 750 Action Network partners...

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Increase in Opioid Overdoses Leads to Rise in Organ Donations


The increase in fatal opioid overdoses has led to a rise in organ donations, according to CNN. The United Network for Organ sharing, which manages the nation’s organ transplant network, says early data indicates a record number of deceased organ donors in 2017, for the fifth year in a row. There were more than 10,000 deceased organ donors last year—a 3 percent increase from 2016. More than 1,300 of those donors died from drug overdoses. “About 40 percent of the increase (in the past five years) tracks back to the drug intoxication issue,” said Dr. David Klassen, the network’s Chief Medical Officer. In the past five years, the number of donors who died of drug overdoses increased 144 percent, while the number of deceased organ donors overall rose 24 percent. Klassen said people who died of overdoses are usually good candidates for organ donation. “They tend to be younger and tend...

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Study Looks at Role of Medication-Assisted Treatment Started in the ER


A new study will assess whether starting medication-assisted treatment in the emergency room within hours of an opioid overdose will prevent people from relapsing after they recover. Researchers at Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic and Inova Fairfax Hospital received a $1 million grant to conduct the study, The Roanoke Times reports. Participants treated for opioid overdoses in the emergency room will be asked if they want to participate in the study. If they consent, they will receive an injection of Sublocade, an extended-release form of buprenorphine, a drug that reduces opioid cravings. Sublocade was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in November. It is the first ever buprenorphine injection for the treatment of moderate-to-severe opioid use disorder in adult patients.

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Federal Officials Suspend Database of Programs to Treat Addiction and Mental Illness


Health officials have suspended a database of programs that help prevent and treat addiction and mental illness, The Washington Post reports. The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, was suspended in September. No new postings have been added since then. The database includes hundreds of programs that have been evaluated by an independent contractor and found scientifically valid. Addiction and mental health specialists say they rely on the database to find appropriate and effective treatments, the article notes. Officials would not say why the database was suspended. They confirmed the contract for running the database will be taken over by a new entity, which they said is working closely with other parts of the agency to “institute an even more scientifically rigorous approach to better inform the identification and implementation of evidence-based programs and practices.”

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APA Releases New Practice Guideline on AUD Pharmacotherapy


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently released a new practice guideline for the pharmacological treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Despite the high prevalence of AUD and its significant public health consequences, patients with this disorder remain undertreated. The guideline aims to increase physician and public knowledge on the effectiveness and risks of the five medications that may be used for the treatment of AUD: acamprosate, disulfiram, gabapentin, naltrexone, and topiramate. Of these five, naltrexone and acamprosate have the best available evidence related to their benefits, and both have minimal side effects. As such, they should be considered the preferred pharmacological options for patients with moderate to severe AUD who want to reduce drinking or achieve abstinence. However, acamprosate should be avoided in patients with significant renal impairment, and naltrexone should be avoided in patients with acute hepatitis or liver failure, or in patients currently taking opioids or who may be...

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Need for Multiple Naloxone Doses on the Rise


The percentage of people treated for a drug overdose who need more than one dose of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone is on the rise, a new study suggests. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System, and found the percentage of patients receiving multiple naloxone doses among emergency medical service (EMS) responders increased from 14.5 percent in 2012 to 18.2 percent in 2015, which represents a 26 percent increase in four years. “We found there were 31,000 cases in which two or more naloxone doses were needed in 2015 in a prehospital setting,” said lead author Mark Faul, PhD, Senior Health Scientist at the CDC. “Of those, 4,000 cases required three doses, 1,600 required four doses, 615 required five doses and 200 cases required six or more doses.” He noted that not all people requiring multiple naloxone doses...

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Association Found Between Non-Cigarette Tobacco Product Use and Future Cigarette Smoking Among Teens


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some teens who use e-cigarettes and other non-cigarette tobacco products report smoking cigarettes one year later, based on recent research funded by institutes within the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. The research is based on data from the participants of the nationally representative Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study. The researchers studied cigarette-smoking initiation among more than 10,000 participants in the PATH study. When first interviewed at ages 12-17, roughly half of the group reported that they had used e-cigs, hookah, snuff, or other non-cigarette tobacco products, but never cigarettes; the rest said they had always been completely tobacco-free. When re-interviewed one year later, 4.6 percent of the group reported that they had now smoked a cigarette. Adjusted for other smoking risk factors, those who initially reported having used a non-cigarette tobacco product were twice...

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Sessions Allows More Aggressive Enforcement of Federal Laws Against Marijuana


Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded a policy that discouraged prosecutors from enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have decriminalized the drug, The New York Times reports. In a statement, Sessions said that his memo to United States attorneys directs them “to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.” While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the drug has been at least partly legalized—including for medicinal use—in 29 states and the District of Columbia. California began allowing the sale of recreational marijuana on January 1. Sessions’ move is likely to increase the confusion about whether it is legal to buy, sell or possess marijuana in states where federal and state law conflict, the article notes.

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Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin in California


Recreational marijuana sales began on January 1 in California. California, the nation’s most populous state, is the sixth state to allow sales of recreational marijuana. Adults 21 and older can possess as much as one ounce of marijuana, and grow up to six plants at home. The marijuana industry in California is forecast to reach $7 billion in a few years, the article notes. The entire U.S. legal marijuana market was worth $6.6 billion in 2016, according to New Frontier Data, which tracks the industry. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. It is unlawful to take the drug across state lines, mail it or bring it on a plane.

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New England States Report Fewer Opioid Overdose Deaths in 2017


New England states saw a decrease in opioid overdose deaths in 2017, The Wall Street Journal reports. State officials say efforts including widespread distribution of naloxone and expanded access to treatment contributed to the decline. In Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo announced a 9 percent decline in accidental overdose deaths through the first eight months of 2017. “It’s a ray of hope,” she said, adding, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” Massachusetts authorities estimate a 10 percent decrease in opioid-related deaths through September, compared with the same period in 2016. New Hampshire projected a slight decline, while preliminary data in Vermont also suggest a potential decrease in opioid overdose deaths.

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