Treatment Admissions Increase for Heroin and Painkillers

Treatment Admissions Increase for Heroin and Painkillers

A growing number of Americans are seeking treatment for addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers, while alcohol-related treatment admissions are declining, according to a new report. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found 19 percent of admissions to publicly funded substance-use treatment programs were related to heroin in 2013, up from 15 percent in 2003. Admissions for opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin increased from 3 percent to 9 percent during that period, HealthDay reports. Alcohol-related admissions declined from 42 percent to 38 percent during that period. Overall admissions decreased from almost 1.9 million to just under 1.7 million. Admissions for marijuana rose from 16 percent to 17 percent, while those for methamphetamine/amphetamines increased from 6 percent to 9 percent. Cocaine-related admissions (including crack) decreased from 14 percent to 6 percent. In 2013, 55 percent of patients admitted for treatment said they used more than one substance.“Time...

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The White House Tackles Opioid Addiction With New Plan

The White House Tackles Opioid Addiction With New Plan

President Obama traveled to West Virginia this week to announce steps to curb the rise in deaths from prescription drug overdoses. He is mandating more training of federal doctors and requiring federal health insurance plans to treat addiction, reported The New York Times. In the Times article, a White House official stated that they had “identified prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse as critical problems.” Previously, the Obama administration has worked to address excessive prescribing practices, being mindful that patients experiencing pain, like those suffering from cancer, can get the medicine they need. Currently, the federal government does not regulate the practice of medicine, and only West Virginia and nine other states require specialized training for doctors who prescribe opioids. Deaths from prescription drug abuse total to more than 20,000 people in the United States each year, making it the country’s leading cause of death by injury. Recently, this epidemic has...

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