One in three young adults receive medication for opioid use disorder after overdose

A new study found that one in three young adults receive medication for opioid use disorder within 12 months of a non-fatal opioid overdose. The study, led by researchers at Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), shows which medications — buprenorphine, methadone or naltrexone — are being taken, and how long after the overdose they receive the treatment. Published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine, the results provide important new data that can help increase access and time to medication for opioid use disorder for young adults who survive an overdose, including in an emergency department setting.

Nonfatal opioid overdose is a significant predictor for recurrent nonfatal and fatal opioid overdoses. Young adults (under age 25) have been disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic, as data indicates that drug overdose deaths nearly quadrupled nationally between 1999 and 2016 in young adults between 15 and 24 years old. Research shows that young adults have distinct developmental differences that predispose them to substance use disorders, which requires strategically designed interventions to engage and retain them in treatment.

Full story at Science Daily

For Rural Patients, Opioid Treatment Centers Often Too Far Away

Methadone is often used in the fight against opioid addiction, but long travel times in rural areas may be hampering efforts to get more people treated, a new study finds.

If methadone for opioid addiction was available in primary care clinics, more people would have better access to treatment, researchers suggest.

In the United States, methadone is only available at clinics certified by the federal government as Opioid Treatment Programs, or OTPs. This restriction, along with state and local laws, limits the number of clinics that offer methadone for opioid addiction.

Full story at HealthDay

Alternative to ‘revolving door’ of opioid detox and relapse

In a first-ever randomized trial, patients at a short-term inpatient program began long-term outpatient treatment with buprenorphine before discharge, with better outcomes than detox patients.

Three out of four people who complete an inpatient opioid withdrawal management program — commonly known as “detox” — relapse within a month, leading to a “revolving door” effect. Few successfully transition from the inpatient setting to long-term treatment with proven medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone to prevent overdose.

But patients who start long-term buprenorphine treatment at a detox program, instead of going through detox and getting a referral for such treatment at discharge, are less likely to use opioids illicitly over the following six months, and more likely to keep up treatment, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher and published in the journal Addiction.

Full story at Science Daily

Opioids without the risk of addiction?

Scientists are working to develop medicines that have the pain-relieving effects of opioids without the high risk of misuse and addiction. Since misuse is linked to the euphoric effects of the drug, investigators led by scientists at NIDA’s intramural labs are studying methadone, a drug used to manage opioid addiction that does not have euphoric effects as strong as many other opioids.

Animal studies show that mu opioid receptors in the brain play a key role in the reinforcing effects of opioid drugs, whereas the neuropeptide galanin counteracts the effects of mu opioid receptors. In a recently published study, investigators found a significant difference in the mechanisms of action between methadone and morphine that is determined by the activation of opioid receptor complexes (heteromers) composed of both mu-opioid receptors and one of the galanin receptor subtypes; differences that are key to their subsequent effects on the brain’s dopamine system.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Too Few People Who Survive Opioid Overdose Get Medication-Assisted Treatment

A new study concludes too few people who survive an opioid overdose receive medication-assisted treatment that will reduce the chance of another overdose.

The study included more than 17,500 adults who survived an opioid overdose and found only about one-third received either buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone or naltrexone (Vivitrol), HealthDay reports.

Among people who did receive one of these medications, most did not stay on the drug for a long time, the researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers found 17 percent used buprenorphine, with a median use of four months; 11 percent used methadone, with a median use of five months; and 6 percent used naltrexone, with a median use of one month.

Full story at drugfree.org