Innovative Sheriff-led Initiatives for Offenders with Substance Use Disorders

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths are increasing in the United States, with the majority of those overdose deaths (more than six out of 10) involving an opioid. Alarmingly, over 91 people die each day from opioid overdoses.

Law enforcement officers are often the first on the scene to find someone overdosing, and as a result, many of those who use substances find themselves involved in the criminal justice system. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse estimates that nearly two-thirds of the nation’s 2.3 million inmates in jails and prisons have a substance use disorder (SUD).

Full story of officer initiative and substance use disorder at drugfree.org

Drug Overdose Deaths Lead to Increase in Organ Donations

The increasing number of drug overdose deaths has led to a rise in the number of organ donations, according to The New York Times.

In New England, which has seen a surge of drug overdose deaths, there have been organ donations this year from 69 people who died of an overdose. This accounts for 27 percent of all donations in the region. In 2010, 4 percent of donors in New England died of drug overdoses.

More than 970 people who died of drug overdoses nationwide have donated organs so far this year. This accounts for about 12 percent of total donations. In 2010, about 4 percent of U.S. organ donations came from people who died of drug overdoses.

Full story of overdose deaths and rising organ donations at drugfree.org

Bill Would Allow Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty for Dealers of Fentanyl-Laced Heroin

A bill introduced in the U.S. House this week would allow federal prosecutors to seek capital punishment or life imprisonment for dealers of fentanyl-laced heroin, The Huffington Post reports.

The Help Ensure Lives are Protected Act, introduced by Representative Tom Reed of New York, is co-sponsored by Ted Yoho of Florida, Doug LaMalfa of California, Bill Flores of Texas and Steve Chabot of Ohio. Reed and all of the co-sponsors are Republican.

Full story of death penalty for dealers of fentanyl-laced heroin at drugfree.org

Increase in Drug Overdoses Contributes to Rising U.S. Death Rate: Report

A rise in drug overdoses contributed to the increasing U.S. death rate last year, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate increased for the first time in a decade, The New York Times reports.

The overall death rate increased to 729.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, up from 723.2 in 2014.

The CDC found the death rate for drug overdoses increased to 15.2 per 100,000 people in the second quarter of 2015, compared with 14.1 in the second quarter the previous year. The rate for unintentional injuries, which include drug overdoses and car accidents, increased to 42 per 100,000 in the third quarter last year, up from 39.9 in the same quarter the previous year.

More people also died from suicide and Alzheimer’s disease last year, the report found. The findings are preliminary, and are not broken down by race, the article notes.

Full story of increasing drug overdoses at drugfree.org

Some Areas With High Drug Overdose Death Rates Don’t Have Much Drug Trafficking

A new study finds some of the nation’s areas with high rates of drug overdose deaths do not have a corresponding high rate of drug trafficking. This suggests drugs are passing through counties with high rates of drug trafficking without affecting the death rates of people in those regions, the researchers said. Instead, those drugs are causing overdose deaths in other parts of the country, CBS News reports.

The researchers concluded that while federal resources to combat drug trafficking are appropriately targeted at many areas in the United States that are most affected, rates are also rapidly rising in some areas not covered by the federal government’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program. HIDTA was created by Congress in 1988 to provide 31 high drug-trafficking areas of the U.S. with coordinated law enforcement resources dedicated to reducing trafficking and production.

“Our research reveals several potential new drug overdose problem regions that warrant careful attention, as they may not correspond to areas covered by federal resources to combat drug trafficking,” study co-author Jeanine Buchanich, Deputy Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Occupational Biostatistics and Epidemiology, said in anews release.

Full story of drug overdose rates and drug trafficking at drugfree.org