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

Five million American adults misusing prescription stimulants

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have completed the first comprehensive analysis of the prevalence of prescription stimulant use, misuse, use disorders, and motivations for misuse in the U.S. adult population. Looking at annual averages, approximately 6.6% (or 16 million) of U.S. adults used prescription stimulants in the preceding year; 4.5% (or 11 million) used prescription stimulants appropriately (without misuse); 2.1% (or 5 million) misused prescription stimulants at least once; and 0.2% (or 0.4 million) had prescription stimulant use disorders. The article analyzed data from the 2015 and 2016 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).

Full story at drugabuse.org

Hospitals Retraining Staff to Minimize Opioid Prescriptions


A growing number of hospitals across the country are rewriting protocols and retraining staff in an effort to minimize opioid prescriptions, PBS NewsHour reports. The changes are most pronounced in emergency departments.

At the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, emergency room doctors used to give opioid painkillers right away. Dr. Phillip Chang, the hospital’s chief medical officer, says now doctors, pharmacists and nurses use non-opioid pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol first. They try multiple regimens before considering opioids.

Full story of hospital retraining to minimize opioid prescriptions at drugfree.org

Routine drug screening should be part of primary care settings, study recommends

The misuse of both prescription and illicit drugs is so prevalent in Tijuana and East Los Angeles that community clinics in those areas should routinely, though discreetly, screen for it, according to new UCLA research.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Substance Use and Misuse, found that 19.4 percent of people answering a computerized self-administered survey in East Los Angeles community clinics admitted to moderate-to-high drug use. In Tijuana it was 5.7 percent. Rates of drug use among the participants in the study were much higher than what has been found in household surveys in the two countries.

The researchers also found that Los Angeles patients born in Mexico were twice as likely, and Los Angeles patients born in the United States were six times more likely, of being moderate-to-high drug users compared with Tijuana patients born in Mexico. The findings of high rates of drug use ran counter to assumptions, said Dr. Lillian Gelberg, the study’s lead investigator and a professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Full story of drug screening and primary care settings at Science Daily

More Than 30,000 Americans Died From Opioid Overdoses Last Year

Overdose deaths associated with prescription and illicit opioids increased to 33,091 last year, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That number marks an increase of almost 5,000 deaths from the previous year, The Washington Post reports.

Deaths from heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl were largely responsible for the increase, the article notes.

Full story of opioid overdoses last year at drugfree.org