Meth Causes More Overdoses Than Any Other Drug in Western States

Methamphetamine caused more overdose deaths than any other drug in western states in 2017, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Nationwide, fentanyl remains the most common cause of drug overdoses, The Wall Street Journal reports. Meth was the fourth-leading cause of drug overdoses nationally. Of the 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017, fentanyl was involved in 39%, compared with 23% for heroin, 21% for cocaine and 13% for meth.

The CDC said 2018 could be the first year that overdoses deaths have dropped since 1990. The agency is still calculating 2018 drug overdose statistics.

Full story at Partnership For Drug-Free Kids

Indicators of despair rising among Gen X-ers entering middle age

Indicators of despair — depression, suicidal ideation, drug use and alcohol abuse — are rising among Americans in their late 30s and early 40s across most demographic groups, according to new research led by Lauren Gaydosh, assistant professor of Medicine, Health and Society and Public Policy Studies at Vanderbilt University. These findings suggest that the increase in “deaths of despair” observed among low-educated middle-aged white Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) in recent studies may begin to impact the youngest members of Generation X (born 1974-1983) more broadly in the years to come.

The study, The Depths of Despair Among U.S. Adults Entering Midlife, appears in the American Journal of Public Health. Gaydosh’s co-authors are Kathleen Mullan Harris, Robert A. Hummer, Taylor W. Hargrove, Carolyn T. Halpern, Jon M. Hussey, Eric A. Whitsel, and Nancy Dole, all at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 2016, U.S. life expectancy began to decline for the first time in nearly a quarter-century, and researchers theorized that this was driven by a marked increase in deaths due to drug overdose, alcoholic cirrhosis and suicide among middle-aged whites with low education or in rural areas. At the time, this was explained by a unique triple-punch of worsening employment prospects accompanied by a declining perception of socioeconomic status and an erosion of social supports for this group. But studies to better understand those mortality trends did not definitively show that low-income rural whites were actually experiencing more despair than other groups.

Full story at Science Daily

Rise in Drug Overdose Deaths Contributes to Increase in Organ Transplants

A new study finds the rise in drug overdose deaths in the United States has contributed to an increase in organ transplants, CNN reports.

Overdose death donors accounted for 1.1 percent of donors in 2000 and 13.4 percent in 2017, representing a 24-fold rise, the researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study also found many organs from overdose-death donors were not used to save lives when they could have been.

Full story at drugfree.org

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