Children’s Accidental Exposure to Buprenorphine on the Rise

Children’s accidental exposure to the opioid addiction medication buprenorphine is increasing, according to new data from U.S. poison control centers.

Between 2007 and 2016, poison control centers received 11,275 calls about children’s exposure to buprenorphine, CNN reports. Eighty-six percent of exposures were in children younger than 6, and 89 percent of the exposures were unintentional. Buprenorphine can dangerously slow young children’s breathing. Almost one-quarter of the children under 6 who are exposed spend time in intensive care, the researchers noted.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Trump Includes Death Penalty for Drug Dealers in Plan to Fight Opioid Crisis

President Trump this week announced new plans to fight the opioid crisis, including a proposal to seek the death penalty for drug dealers, NBC Newsreports.

The plans also include launching a nationwide campaign to raise public awareness about the dangers of prescription and illicit opioid use, as well as other drug use, according to a White House fact sheet. Trump called for increased border security to combat the flow of drugs into the United States.

Full story at drugfree.org

Text Messaging Program Could Increase Adherence to Buprenorphine Treatment

Researchers are testing whether a text messaging system can increase patient adherence to buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction.

“We use text messaging in our society for so many things, but for something as critical as opioid treatment, we really didn’t have any text messaging system to support patients,” said lead researcher Babak Tofighi, M.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Dr. Tofighi works with patients at Bellevue Hospital, many of whom do not have access to smartphones. “Text messaging can reach people at all income levels, with all sorts of phones, even basic ones,” he said. “The patient population we are targeting may not have iPhones, but they can receive texts. Even a simple reminder hopefully could increase adherence to treatment and reduce overdoses and relapses.”

Full story at drugfree.org

Failed osteoarthritis drug could help treat opioid addiction

A new study from Indiana University suggests that a drug proven safe for use in people may prevent opioid tolerance and physical dependence when used in combination with opioid-based pain medications.

Researchers in the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science at IU Bloomington have discovered that a compound previously tested to treat osteoarthritis pain appears to block neuropathic pain and decrease signs of opioid dependence. The work is reported in the journal Molecular Pharmacology.

Human trials of the drug to treat osteoarthritis pain conducted by Indianapolis-based drug manufacturer Eli Lilly and Co. found that the drug lacked efficacy. However, the drug’s use in treating other kinds of pain and lessening opioid dependence had not been tested before.

Full story at Science Daily

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Now Eligible to Prescribe Buprenorphine

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants will now be eligible to prescribe and dispense the opioid addiction treatment buprenorphine from their office, Reutersreports.

The Drug Enforcement Administration said the change will make it easier for residents of underserved areas to receive treatment for opioid addiction.

The new rule is a result of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act(CARA), passed in 2016. The law expanded access to substance use treatment services and overdose reversal medications by extending the privilege of prescribing buprenorphine in office-based settings to qualifying nurse practitioners and physician assistants. CARA requires that nurse practitioners and physician assistants complete 24 hours of training to be eligible to prescribe buprenorphine.

Full story at drugfree.org