At Least 2.2 Million U.S. Children Affected by Opioid Crisis: Report

A new report estimates at least 2.2 million children had been affected by the opioid crisis in the United States by 2017.

That number is likely to increase, according to the report by the United Hospital Fund, a health policy nonprofit. Many of the children are living with a parent addicted to opioids or have been removed from their home, according to U.S. News & World Report. The report found 170,000 children had opioid use disorder themselves, or had accidentally ingested opioids.

There could be 4.3 million children affected by the opioid crisis by 2030, at a cost of $400 billion, the report estimated.

Full story at Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Doctors more likely to prescribe opioids later in the day

A vast array of known factors play a role in the current opioid crisis, and a recent study may have identified yet another. The authors conclude that doctors are more likely to prescribe opioids later in the day and when appointments are running late.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid-related drug deaths increased by 88% each year from 2013 to 2016.

Each day, more than 130 people in the United States died from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2017–2018.

Full story at Medical News Today

Deaths Due to Alcohol, Drugs and Suicide Have Soared Among Young Adults

Deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide have soared among young adults ages 18 to 34, according to a new analysis.

The number of drug deaths among young adults has risen by 400% in the past two decades, according to the non-profit Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust. These deaths were fueled in large part by the opioid crisis, USA Today reports.

Alcohol-related deaths for young adults rose 68% between 2007 and 2017, while suicide deaths increased 35%. Rates for “deaths of despair” from alcohol, drugs and suicide were higher among young adults than among Baby Boomers and senior citizens.

Full story at drugfree.org

Featured News: The Continuing Gaps in Coverage for Addiction Treatment

Certain insurance plans are legally required to cover benefits for addiction treatment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A new report by Center on Addiction shows that ACA Plans sold in many states in 2017 did not comply with these requirements. The report, Uncovering Coverage Gaps II: A Review and Comparison of Addiction Benefits in ACA Plans, demonstrates the need for policymakers to better implement and enforce laws that are meant to prohibit discriminatory insurance practices and ensure patients and families are able to obtain lifesaving care that is affordable.

“Most patients and their families cannot afford or receive care if it is not covered by their insurance plan. Improving insurance coverage for addiction treatment is essential to resolve the opioid crisis and move toward an approach where we finally treat addiction as the disease it is,” said the report’s author, Lindsey Vuolo, Director of Health Law and Policy at Center on Addiction.

In this Q&A, Vuolo explains how the report was compiled, what it found and what it means for families.

Full story at drugfree.org

Journal commentary addresses role of dentists in opioid crisis

Addressing the vital role of dentists in helping to alleviate the opioid crisis is the subject of a commentary, publishing today in the Journal of the American Dental Association. The commentary, authored by Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Dr. Martha Somerman, director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, both parts of the National Institutes of Health, highlights how the Institutes are working together to support scientific research for those in clinical practice.

In the late 1990s, dentists were the top specialty prescribers of opioids. Due to a number of initiatives, prescriptions by dentists dropped more than 50 percent by 2012.  However, the authors argue that more needs to be done to continue to reduce opioid misuse and abuse. The commentary discusses several ways scientific evidence can help guide clinical care decisions.

Full story at drugabuse.org