Medication in Prison Associated with Reductions in Fatal Opioid Overdoses After Release

A state-led initiative created within the Rhode Island correctional system showed that offering medication to inmates with opioid use disorders reduced fatal overdoses once the inmates were released. The reduction in fatal overdoses was large enough to have a significant effect on the death rate from opioid overdoses statewide. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Every person entering the Rhode Island correctional system was screened for opioid addiction and those who needed it were provided with evidence-based medication assisted treatment (MAT), which included the drugs methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone. In addition, a system of 12 community-based Centers of Excellence in MAT were established to continue MAT therapy and provide support after their release from prison or jail.

Full story at drugabuse.gov

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Few Young People Treated for Opioid Addiction Get Medication-Assisted Treatment

Only 27 percent of youths treated for opioid addiction receive buprenorphine or naltrexone, known as medication-assisted treatment, a new study finds.

“These medications are considered the evidence-based standard of care for opioid addiction by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” said lead researcher Dr. Scott Hadland of Boston University School of Medicine.

Buprenorphine (sold as Suboxone) has been shown to reduce cravings, while naltrexone (sold as Revia and Vivitrol) blocks the high from opioids, HealthDay reports.

Full story of opioid addiction and medicated-assisted treatment at drugfree.org

Addiction Experts Object to Price’s Remarks on Medication-Assisted Treatment

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s description of medication-assisted treatment for addiction as “substituting one opioid for another” is inaccurate, according to addiction experts who have asked Price to “set the record straight.”

A letter to Price signed by almost 700 researchers and practitioners notes there is a substantial body of research showing that methadone and buprenorphine, also known as medication-assisted treatment, are effective in treating opioid addiction. These medications, which are opioids, have been the standard of care for addiction treatment for years, they wrote.

Full story of Tom Price’s description of medication-assisted treatment at drugfree.org

Addiction Experts Battle Stigma Attached to Medication-Assisted Treatment

Opioid addiction treatment experts say although the evidence is clear that medication-assisted treatment is the best way to tackle the nation’s opioid epidemic, there is still a stigma attached to using these medications.

Only a small percentage of the more than 4 million people who abuse prescription painkillers or heroin in the United States use one of these medications, methadone or buprenorphine, NPR reports. These treatments have been proven to reduce relapses and overdoses, the article notes.

While limited availability of these treatments is an issue, stigma around the use of addiction medications also prevents some people from using them, experts say.

Full story of medication-assisted treatment to tackle the opioid epidemic at drugfree.org