“Warm Handoff” Program Aims to Get Overdose Survivors Directly Into Treatment

A new program in Pennsylvania called “warm handoff” directly transfers overdose survivors from the hospital emergency department to a drug treatment provider. The program, developed by the state’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), is designed to avoid merely giving survivors a phone number to call or setting up a subsequent appointment a day or two later.

“There is a very high risk of a repeat overdose in the period right after a person leaves the emergency room for a drug overdose,” says Gary Tennis, Secretary of the Pennsylvania DDAP.  “Our aim is to avoid that risk by getting the survivor directly to treatment without hitting the street at all.”

Full story of the warm handoff for overdose survivors at drugfree.org

Fatal Drug Overdoses Play a Role in Rise in Accidental Deaths

The rate of accidental deaths in the United States is rising, fueled in part by the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic, according to a new report by the National Safety Council.

The report found poisonings, largely from drug overdoses and prescription opioids, are the leading cause of preventable death among adults ages 25 to 64.

More than 136,000 people died accidentally in the United States in 2014, the highest number ever recorded, NPR reports. The accidental death rate increased 4.2 percent from the previous year and 57 percent since 1992.

Full story of drug overdoses role in accidental deaths at drugfree.org

Prince’s Death From Accidental Opioid Overdose Could Speed Deal on Legislation

The news that toxicology tests concluded Prince died from an accidental fentanyl overdose could spur Congress to reach a deal on legislation to combat the opioid crisis, The New York Times reports.

Last week the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office announced the toxicology results, but did not specify how the drug was taken, or if it was prescribed or illegally made, CNN reports. Fentanyl is an opioid legally prescribed for cancer treatment. It can be made illicitly, and is 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin.

Legislators in Washington are trying to come to an agreement on legislation that would address the national opioid crisis. Last month, the U.S. House overwhelmingly approved 18 bills aimed at addressing the nation’s opioid crisis.

Full story of Prince’s death rules opioid overdose at drugfree.org

Program Connects People to Treatment After They Survive Opioid Overdose

A New Jersey program immediately connects people to treatment after they have been revived from an opioid overdose with naloxone. Recovery specialists are contacted by hospitals participating in the program once an opioid overdose call has been dispatched.

The Opioid Overdose Recovery Program is run by Barnabas Health in two New Jersey counties with high opioid overdose death rates, CBS News reports. The program works with law enforcement and healthcare providers, including five hospitals. Grant funding is provided by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Since the program began three months ago, there have been 135 overdoses in Ocean and Monmouth counties, of which 30 were fatal. According to the Ocean County Prosecutors Office, about half of those revived with naloxone have agreed to go into treatment this year. Previously, almost no one who was revived with naloxone agreed to go into treatment, the article notes.

Full story of treatment after opioid overdoses at drugfree.org

Helping People Addicted to Opioids Part of Re-election Strategy of Some Republicans

Some Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate are basing part of their re-election strategies on bills aimed at helping people addicted to opioids, according to The New York Times.

The U.S. House, after overwhelmingly approving 18 bills last week aimed at addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, will work with the Senate to craft compromise legislation.

The bills include provisions for prescription drug monitoring programs and assistance to states that want to expand the availability of the opioid overdose drug naloxone. House Republicans in difficult re-election races have attached their names to some of the bills, the article notes.

Full story of helping opioid addiction and re-election strategy at drugfree.org