Many Heroin Users Unprepared for Fentanyl OD

Though they know that nearly all heroin is laced with the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, many Baltimore users aren’t prepared to prevent or treat fentanyl-related overdoses, a new study finds.

Baltimore has a thriving heroin trade and 1,000 opioid overdose deaths a year.

The study, by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, included 316 people who admitted recent illicit opioid use. All had heard of fentanyl and about 56 percent suspect most or all of Baltimore’s heroin is laced with it.

Nearly 75 percent said they were “quite a bit” or “very worried” about acquaintances overdosing on fentanyl, which is 30 to 50 times more potent by weight than heroin. Fentanyl and related synthetic opioids are the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the United States — more than 70,000 in 2017 alone.

Full story at Health Day

Before Teen Is Prescribed Opioids, Look at Family’s Drug Use

Teens and young adults haven’t been spared from the opioid addiction crisis sweeping through America.

And new research shows that when a teen is prescribed an opioid painkiller after minor surgery, his or her odds for long-term abuse nearly doubles if someone living at home already has an opioid use problem.

The study of more than 300,000 people averaging 17 years of age found that after being prescribed an opioid painkiller for post-op pain, 4.1 percent went on to use the drug long-term if another person living in the family home had already been using opioids long-term.

That’s compared to just 2.4 percent of young patients without such histories, said researchers led by Dr. Jennifer Waljee, from the University of Michigan Medical School.

Full story at HealthDay