New vaccine could someday fight the effects of opioid combinations

Substance abuse is a continuing problem in the U.S., particularly with heroin and other opioids, to the point of being an epidemic. Treatments exist, but far too often patients relapse with devastating impacts on themselves and those around them. Now, scientists report that they have made progress toward a vaccine against the effects of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, in combination with heroin.

The researchers are presenting their work today at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“There is an urgent need to discover effective medications to treat substance use disorders. Increasingly, drug users are turning to opioids and powerful synthetic versions of these drugs that can sometimes be as much as 100 times more potent than heroin,” says Kim D. Janda, Ph.D., who led the research into the vaccines. “Moreover, many patients receiving treatment relapse.”

Full story at Science Daily

Opioids and obesity, not ‘despair deaths,’ raising mortality rates for white Americans

Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according to new CU Boulder research.

The study, published online today in the International Journal of Epidemiology, also found that, contrary to widely reported research findings, suicide and alcohol-related deaths are not to blame for increasing mortality rates among middle-aged whites.

The results call into question recent reports suggesting that what have become known collectively as “despair deaths” — by suicide, alcohol and drugs — are on the rise among white Americans, particularly men, facing a lack of economic opportunity and an increase in chronic pain.

Full story of opioids and obesity at Science Daily

States Report Resurgence of Meth in Rural Areas

Officials in a number of states are reporting a resurgence of meth, particularly in rural areas, NBC News reports.

Ohio, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota have seen an increase in meth use. Law enforcement officials and health workers say meth doesn’t get as much attention as opioids, because it kills slowly and at lower rates.

Full story of meth resurgence in some states at drugfree.org

Addiction Experts Warn Republican Health Care Plan Will Deepen Opioid Crisis

The Republican health care plan, which would roll back the Affordable Care Act and reduce or terminate health coverage for millions of Americans, will deepen the nation’s opioid crisis, addiction experts tell the Los Angeles Times.

“It would essentially write off a generation,” said Dr. Shawn Ryan, President of BrightView Health, a network of drug treatment clinics in Cincinnati. “It would be catastrophic.”

Full story of Republican health care plan and opioid crisis at drugfree.org

‘Alarmingly high’ risk of death for people with opioid use disorder in general medical care

Almost one-fifth of patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) in a large healthcare system died during a four-year follow-up period, reports a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

The results suggest very high rates of serious illness and death among patients with OUD in general medical care settings — much higher than for those in addiction specialty clinics, according to by Yih-Ing Hser, PhD, of University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues. They write, “The alarmingly high morbidity and mortality among OUD patients revealed in the present study challenge healthcare systems to find new and innovative ways to expand evidence-based strategies for OUD in a variety of settings.”

Full story of death risk for opioid users in general medical care at Science Daily