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

From heroin addiction to alcohol-related problems

Around 3,000 heroin addicts currently receive opioids such as methadone, buprenorphine or morphine as part of their treatment in the Canton of Zurich. The number of these so-called substitution treatments has remained constant since their introduction in the 1990s. Long-term courses of therapy with methadone or other opioids evidently reduce the consumption of illegal drugs among patients addicted to heroin. Although the beginning of this kind of treatment also leads to a reduction in the consumption of alcohol, more patients drink alcohol more frequently today than in previous decades. This is shown in a new long-term study conducted by researchers from the University Psychiatric Hospital and the University of Zurich.

Heroin and cocaine consumption markedly reduced

The study includes data on nearly 9,000 patients with a heroin addiction who underwent substitution therapy in the Canton of Zurich between 1998 and 2014. They already consumed sustainably less heroin or cocaine — and somewhat less alcohol — from the beginning of the treatment. Moreover, the proportion of patients who consumed heroin frequently (at least five days per week) more than halved over the 17-year study period (from 14.4 to six percent), and the number of frequent cocaine consumers shrank from 8.5 to 4.9 percent. The results also demonstrate that the decrease in heroin consumption went hand in hand with an improved social situation for the patients.

Full story of heroin addiction and alcohol related problems at Science Daily

Researchers Discover Gene Variant Linked With Opioid Addiction in African Americans

The discovery of a gene variant associated with opioid addiction in African Americans may lead to personalized methadone treatment, according to HealthDay.

The gene variant helped identify African Americans who might need higher doses of methadone. Patients receiving methadone treatment for opioid addiction vary widely in their dose requirements, the researchers note. Too high of a dose can cause sedation and dangerous breathing difficulties, while too low of a dose can lead to relapse.

Full story of gene variant linked to opioid addiction at drugfree.org

Senate Passes Bill Providing $1 Billion for Prevention and Treatment of Opioid Addiction

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes $1 billion in new funding to prevent and treat opioid addiction. The House approved the measure last week.

The legislation includes funding for cancer research and mental health treatment, and will help the Food and Drug Administration speed up drug approvals. The measure also aims to improve the use of technology in medicine. The legislation passed 94 to 5, according to The New York Times.

Full story of prevention and treatment of opioid addiction bill at drugfree.org

House Approves Bill Providing $1 Billion in New Funding to Curb Opioid Addiction

The U.S. House on Wednesday approved the21st Century Cures Act, which includes $1 billion in new funding for the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction.

The bill will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to pass by next week, USA Today reports.

Full story of new bill to curb opioid addiction at drugfree.org