Is Kratom an Opioid? The FDA Says Yes

The Food and Drug Administration put out new warnings about kratom, saying that the drug is best classified as a substance with “opioid properties” and linking it to 44 deaths. Previously, the DEA took steps to outlaw the drug altogether but halted their actions as Kratom advocates led campaigns against the agency involving petitions and phone calls. Kratom has become popular among people with opioid use disorder trying to get clean from heroin and other potent, addictive drugs. People with chronic pain, depression, and a myriad of other diseases. Often, sellers of Kratom market the drug in capsule, powder, and tea form. People claim it helps ease the symptoms of a wealth of diseases. While these benefits sound great, there are many people in the addiction community that believe that replacing opioids with Kratom is a dangerous and unsustainable practice. For years, people in Southeast Asia similarly used Kratom – as a substitute for opioid drugs and to ward off symptoms of opiate withdrawal. However, once a person has…

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Massachusetts Bill Takes Aim At Opiate Abuse Prevention In Teens

The Massachusetts State Senate passed a bill last week aimed at combating opiate-related substance abuse problems before they even begin, especially for at-risk teens. "The Senate unanimously passed the second bill to address the opioid epidemic," state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, told The Daily News of Newburyport. "The prior bill focused on expanding treatment options and went into effect this week. This bill is focused on prevention and intervention in an effort to curb the serious health crisis." According to recent statistics from the state, unintentional deaths from opiate overdoses have increased 90% in the state of Massachusetts within the past 12 years. In Massachusetts, like many states in the US, a growing heroin overdoes have been claiming lives in epidemic proportions. The bill takes aim at the origins of opiate addiction, which is increasingly a result of addiction o powerful prescription drugs such as oxycontin. Senate Bill 2020 focuses on alternatives to the powerful narcotic, and includes an emphasis on responsible pain management, expanded manufacturer drug take-back…

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Older Americans and Prescription Drug Abuse

New research is sounding the alarm about prescription painkiller abuse among older Americans. The research, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), reports that roughly 20% of Americans over age 65 take analgesic medication for chronic pain several times per week. Among that group, the rate of prescription drug abuse or addiction is 18%. There are currently 38 million adults over age 65 represent in the U.S, representing 13% of the total population. One third of all prescriptions are written for this group. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), 2.8 million seniors abuse prescription drugs. By 2020, seniors will represent 20% of the population and SAMHSA estimates that 4.4 million will abuse drugs. Many experts believe that aging Baby Boomers are more likely than their parents to turn to drugs for pain relief. Members of the World War II generation showed a tendency to be stoic about pain and to be careful about their use of drugs.…

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Survey Finds Illegal Drug Use on the Rise

A new U.S. government survey has found that the abuse of illegal and prescription drugs is currently on the rise.  About 22.6 million people over the age of 12 used illegal drugs in 2010, representing a staggering 9% of the nation's population.  This is up from 8% in 2008. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health included 67,500 American aged 12 and above and covered the use of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens and some types of commonly abused prescription drugs. These findings were released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): •    Marijuana tops the list of frequently used illicit drugs with a reported 17 million users.  This is an increase of 3 million users since 2007. •    The nonmedical use of prescription drugs (including painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives) was reported by 7 million people. •    Cocaine use was reported by 1.5 million people.  This is a decrease of about 1 million users since 2006. •    Use of hallucinogens was reported by 1.2…

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