Higher rates of NAS linked with economic conditions

A NIDA-funded analysis of eight states showed a significant association between rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and poor economic conditions. NAS is a series of uncomfortable symptoms experienced by newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal after their mothers used opioids during their pregnancies.

The study used data from all 580 counties in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington state from 2009-2015. Investigators cross checked economic data with NAS cases from both rural and metropolitan areas. Economic data included 10-year unemployment rates, and health data included counties designated as mental health clinician shortage areas.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Cascade of Care model recommended for opioid crisi

A team of NIDA-funded scientists has offered a critical look at how to build an improved framework of care for the identification and treatment of people with opioid use disorder (OUD).

Building upon the successful Cascade of Care model developed in 2017 to manage patients with HIV and AIDS, the study authors lay out a plan to expand OUD prevention and care at the state and federal levels, while customizing services to fit the unique needs of individuals and their communities. The authors recommend a framework that encompasses four interrelated domains: prevention, identification, treatment and recovery. People at varying stages of risk and need reside at various points within that cascading framework.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Study shows impact of social interactions on addictive behavior

A new study published in Nature Neuroscience finds that social interactions can have a profound effect on behaviors related to addiction, and on the brain’s response to drug-associated cues. These findings have implications for people with substance use disorders (SUDs), because it suggests that social interaction can change the activity of specific neuronal circuits that control drug craving and relapse. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by Dr. Marco Venniro from the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The researchers used established animal models of drug addiction to show that when given a choice, rats repeatedly chose social interaction over self-administration of heroin or methamphetamine. This held true even for rats that had previously been using heroin or methamphetamine in a “compulsive” way (like humans with an SUD).

Full story at drugabuse.gov

New opioid treatment resources for emergency department clinicians

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) today announced the availability of informational resources for clinicians interested in initiating buprenorphine treatment in emergency department settings. Buprenorphine is one of several medicines available for use in many emergency departments to treat opioid use disorders (OUD). The materials were developed by emergency department specialists at Yale University with grant support from NIDA, and contract support from NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network. NIDA is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Emergency department clinicians face unique challenges when faced with patients suffering from opioid overdoses or other effects of OUD. They can often reverse overdoses using the medication naloxone, however, that medication alone does not constitute treatment for the addiction itself. This makes the emergency setting an ideal place for clinicians to begin treatment conversations with patients, however, there have been few tools available to guide them. Since 2002, emergency clinicians have been able to administer buprenorphine to help patients manage opioid withdrawal symptoms, but the practice is still new in many emergency department settings.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Daily use of marijuana among non-college young adults at all time high

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced that the latest Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey results on substance use trends as teens transition to adulthood are now available online, comparing substance use patterns of full-time college students to their non-college peers. Most notably, more than 13 percent of young adults not in college report daily, or near daily, marijuana use; alcohol use is more common among college students; some opioid use is declining in both groups, and the most sizeable difference is the higher rate of cigarette smoking in the non-college group.

Below are the highlights from the 2017 MTF survey results on drug use among college students compared to their peers not attending college (ages 19-22).

  • Daily, or near daily,marijuana use among non-college young adults has continued to rise, reaching its highest level (13.2 percent).  As a result, daily, or near daily, marijuana use is now nearly three times as high among non-college young adults as among college students.

Full story at drugabuse.org