Hospitals Face Opioid Shortage Crisis: Survey

Hospitals Face Opioid Shortage Crisis: Survey


U.S. hospitals are running short of the injectable opioids and anesthesia drugs that most surgery patients need during and after their procedures, a new survey shows.

More than 98 percent of anesthesiologists responding to the survey said they regularly experience shortages of these drugs.

And recent efforts by the federal government to curb the opioid crisis — by cutting back on the raw materials used to make opioids — may partly explain why.

Unfortunately, 95 percent of those surveyed said the shortages have affected the way they treat their patients. > >> read more ...

New Opioid Prescriptions Fall Dramatically: New Data

New Opioid Prescriptions Fall Dramatically: New Data


The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers filled in the U.S. fell dramatically last year, showing their biggest drop in 25 years and continuing a decline amid increasing legal restrictions and public awareness of the dangers of addiction, new data show.

Health data firm IQVIA’s Institute for Human Data Science released a report Thursday showing an 8.9 percent average drop nationwide in the number of prescriptions for opioids filled by retail and mail-order pharmacies. All 50 states and the District of Columbia had declines of more than 5 percent. Declines topped 10 percent in 18 states, including all of New England and other states hit hard by the opioid overdose epidemic, such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania. > >> read more ...

Legal Marijuana Linked to Fewer Opioid Prescriptions: Studies

Legal Marijuana Linked to Fewer Opioid Prescriptions: Studies


Opioid prescriptions may decline when states legalize marijuana, two U.S. studies suggest.
One study focused on older adults with Medicare drug benefits. In each state, in an average year, doctors prescribed 23 million daily doses of opioids. Compared to states where cannabis was banned, states where medical marijuana was legal averaged 3.7 million fewer opioid doses annually, while states that permitted only home cultivation of marijuana had 1.8 million fewer doses.

A separate study of adults insured by Medicaid, the U.S. health program for the poor, found medical marijuana laws associated with an almost 6 percent decline in opioid prescriptions. > >> read more ...

Opioid OD Deaths Continue to Climb: CDC

Opioid OD Deaths Continue to Climb: CDC


Drug overdose deaths continue to pile up in the United States, driven largely by the opioid epidemic and the emergence of dangerously potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl, a new government report shows.

Overdose deaths increased by 21.5 percent in 2016, a much sharper spike than the 11.4 percent increase seen the previous year, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

“The problem isn’t just getting worse, it’s getting exponentially worse,” said Emily Feinstein, executive vice president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. > >> read more ...

Dentists Put Teeth Into Opioid Painkiller Restrictions

Dentists Put Teeth Into Opioid Painkiller Restrictions


The American Dental Association wants dentists to drastically cut back on prescribing opioid painkillers.

The association announced a new policy Monday that “essentially says eliminate opioids from your arsenal if at all possible,” said Dr. Joseph Crowley, the group’s president. The Chicago-based group represents around 161,000 dentists.

The group is also pushing for limiting opioid prescriptions to no more than a week and mandatory education for dentists that encourages using other painkillers. > >> read more ...

Opioid Overdoses up 30 Percent: CDC

Opioid Overdoses up 30 Percent: CDC


The US opioid epidemic is accelerating, with hospital emergency room visits for overdoses from drugs like heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers up 30 percent from 2016 to 2017, US officials said Tuesday.

Substantial increases in overdoses were seen nationwide, said the report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Long before we receive data from death certificates, emergency department data can point to alarming increases in opioid overdoses,” said CDC acting director Anne Schuchat. > >> read more ...

More Kids in ICU From Opioid Overdoses: Study

More Kids in ICU From Opioid Overdoses: Study


A growing number of U.S. kids are ending up in the intensive care unit after overdosing on prescription painkillers or other opioids, a new study finds.

Researchers found that between 2004 and 2015, the number of children and teens admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit for an opioid overdose nearly doubled. That included teenagers who’d abused the drugs, and young children who’d accidentally gotten hold of them.

“These admissions are entirely preventable,” said lead researcher Dr. Jason Kane, of the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. “These kids shouldn’t be there.” > >> read more ...

Feds to Target Opioid Makers, Distributors in Lawsuit

Feds to Target Opioid Makers, Distributors in Lawsuit


The U.S. Justice Department will argue the federal government deserves reimbursement for costs it has borne stemming from the opioid crisis in a “statement of interest” it plans to file in a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Tuesday.

“I am announcing today that the department will file a statement of interest in a lawsuit against a number of opioid manufacturers and distributors for allegedly using false, deceptive, and unfair marketing of opioid drugs,” Sessions told reporters. > >> read more ...

Legalizing Marijuana Doesn’t Cut Opioid Overdoses: Study

Legalizing Marijuana Doesn’t Cut Opioid Overdoses: Study


Mention legalizing medical marijuana, and people often think two things:

This will prompt teens to think marijuana use is OK, and more will start using it.

Legalizing marijuana will reduce the number of adults overdosing on opioids.

As it turns out, neither has proven to be true, according to new research.

Since medical marijuana first became legal in California in 1996, it’s been legalized across nearly three-fifths of the United States. However, that’s had virtually no impact on the rate of recreational marijuana use among teens, a broad review of published studies has found. > >> read more ...

Combating the Opioid Crisis: Natural Remedies for Pain, Arthritis

Combating the Opioid Crisis: Natural Remedies for Pain, Arthritis


Forty-six. That’s how many Americans die each and every day from drug overdoses involving prescription opioid pain medication. That’s nearly two every hour, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest estimates.

The two most common painkillers involved: Oxycodone (such as OxyContin); Hydrocodone (Vicodin).

There’s no question the nation is in the midst of an opioid addiction crisis, with President Donald Trump recently declaring it a national emergency. But it’s also true that many Americans suffer from pain, with one in six struggling with the discomfort of arthritis and joint pain, a leading cause of disability. > >> read more ...

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