AMA Says Opioid Crisis Worsened By COVID-19

The American Medical Association put out an article this week about the opioid epidemic. Just like other public health crises, opioid addiction seems to be on the backburner. Yet people who are addicted to opioids are more vulnerable to COVID-19. In many places, both the COVID-19 crisis and the opioid epidemic are currently both causing casualties. In the state of Illinois, DuPage County has suffered 315 deaths so far this year from the novel coronavirus. But the agency also reports that there have been 303 overdoses reported in the Emergency Room this year. Last year, 96 people overdosed on opioids. But the numbers are growing for 2020. For three weeks between April and May, the county experienced 22 fatal overdoses. Fewer Resources For Addicted During COVID-19 Many of the people who overdosed in Dupage County were alone and practicing social isolation. They found that the people who overdosed had family problems, mental health issues, or a history of addiction. Isolation appeared to make things worse for the people who…

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Research Proves Opioid Agonists Prevent OD’s and Relapse

  Using Medication-Assisted Treatment once carried stigma in the recovery community. However, recent research has shown how much these aspects of treatment can save lives. Opioid agonists keep people from relapse and overdose death. Many people have a lack of understanding about why the drug is useful or how it helps people begin the path to recovery. This stigma can keep people from getting the help they need to stay clean and sober. This is a big gap in the recovery world, unfortunately. A lack of MAT options could mean the difference in recovery versus relapse. Researchers say that one group of MAT options, opioid antagonists, are especially effective when used by people new to recovery. What Are Opioid Agonists? Opioid agonists help people with heroin or prescription opioid use disorder abstain from those drugs. In recovery, doctors may prescribe these drugs to reduce the negative effects of withdrawal and cravings. Contrary to popular belief, these drugs can be used without producing the euphoria of heroin or other opioids…

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New Class Action Suit Lawsuit Launched on Behalf of Opioid Babies

In Philadelphia, a law firm is taking action to file a class-action lawsuit against some opioid manufacturers on behalf of babies born addicted to opioids or otherwise affected medically by their exposure to drugs in the womb. John Weston, an attorney from Sacks Weston Diamond, brought the suit Friday on behalf of an anonymous baby boy and his mother. Similar to other lawsuits filed by states, counties, and municipalities, he believes that this case is the first of its kind, at least in the state of Pennsylvania. Other states have chosen to file lawsuits sometimes, usually on behalf of babies diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Many of these babies suffer severe withdrawal effects from the lack of opioids in their system, as well as birth defects, racing heartbeats, and other medical symptoms. Most lawsuits are merely seeking monetary help from the pharmaceutical manufacturers for the treatment and study of the long-term effects. Weston admits the lawsuits are similar to others filed against opioid manufacturers and distributors in recent…

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Rural Opioid Epidemic Leads to Use of Telemedicine

According to a recent survey of rural farming and ranch families, nearly 45% of rural families say they have been affected by opioid addiction. When it comes to farmworkers that number goes up to 75%. Farmers agree that people can quickly get ahold of opioids, but treatment options are few and far between. There is a lot of frustration and grief in these rural communities—few people know where to turn for themselves or a loved one, and not all of them even have access to insurance that would help them get access to treatment programs. Created and funded by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union, the October 2017 poll also helped resolve some of the problems people have had when seeking help for loved ones. The answers and skepticism from the local communities have helped create a broader conversation on the importance of decreasing the stigma of addiction in farming communities. People need to get help when they ask for it. So many levels of government…

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Chinese Surgeons Treat Opiate Addiction by Removing Brain’s Pleasure Center

Doctors in China are experimenting with an extreme treatment for addiction. The experimental procedure consists of destroying portions of the brain's pleasure center in an attempt to stop cravings for opiate drugs like heroin. Possible side effects including permanently disabling an addict's ability to experience the entire range of human emotions, including the capacity to feel joy. Attempts to Ban Controversial Procedure The controversial procedure was banned by the Chinese Ministry of Health in 2004, due in part to pressure from Western media related to ethical concerns. There are also suspicions that researchers have not been truthful about results of the procedure and have exaggerated the benefits in order to be published in leading medical journals. The Ministry of Health's decision was also reported to be based on the lack of long term data about effects of the procedure. The ban on the procedure was not complete, however. Some physicians have been allowed to continue their research on the use of brain surgery to treat addiction. In 2007, the…

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Treatment Admissions for Painkillers is Up 400%

Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment for Prescription Painkillers Increases 400% An increase in the misuse of prescription painkillers has led to a dramatic increase in the number of admissions for substance abuse treatment due to abuse of the drugs. The proportion of all substance abuse treatment admissions involving abuse of prescription painkillers increased by more than 400 percent between 1998 and 2008, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Admissions to a substance abuse treatment facility increased from 2.2 percent in 1998 to 9.8 percent in 2008, according to SAMHSA. Increases in admissions associated with abuse of painkillers were found among all segments of the population, regardless of gender, age, race, educational level and employment status. The study determined the following about admissions due to prescription painkiller abuse: Men: The proportion of admissions to treatment due to prescription misuse increased from 1.8 percent in 1998 to 8.1 percent in 2008. Women: The proportion of admissions to treatment due to prescription misuse increased from 3.5 percent…

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