Overdose Risk More Than Tripled from 2014-2019 among NJ Medicaid Users

A rise in heroin and fentanyl in New Jersey between 2014-2019 led to the tripling of medically treated opioid overdoses despite the state’s strict limiting of prescription opioids for pain and substantial state initiatives to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorder, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Co-locating Contraceptive Services & Opioid Treatment Programs May Help Prevent Unintended Pregnancy

More than 75% of women with Opioid Use Disorder report having had an unintended pregnancy, but they are less likely to use effective contraception compared to women who do not use drugs. Results from a multi-year trial found that a two-part intervention featuring co-located contraceptive services in opioid treatment programs and financial incentives could offer an effective solution.

Patients on Chronic Opioids Likely to Live in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods, Have Worse Anxiety and Depression

People treated with chronic opioid therapy for pain are more likely to live in socially disadvantaged areas and self-report worse anxiety, depression and pain that interferes in their lives, according to a new study presented this week at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting.

Real-time opioid overdose tracking system shows rise in the time of COVID-19

An epidemic that was already raging before COVID-19 arrived has flared up in recent months, according to a real-time tracking system in Michigan. It shows a 15 percent rise in suspected opioid overdose deaths since March, compared with the same time last year, and a 29% rise in first responders’ use of the rescue drug naloxone.

University of Miami Miller School Researcher Wins NIH Avenir Award to Pursue Innovative Opioid Addiction Research

Luis M. Tuesta, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been awarded the Avenir Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, to study the epigenetic mechanisms of microglial activation and their role in shaping the behavioral course of opioid use disorder.

Negative side effects of opioids could be coming from users’ own immune systems (video)

Opioid users can develop chronic inflammation and heightened pain sensitivity. These side effects might stem from the body’s own immune system, which can make antibodies against the drugs. The researchers will present their results at the American Chemical Society Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo.

Opioid Risk Reduction Program Helps Reduce Suicide Rate at VHA Facility

A reduction in suicides among patients at a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facility may be due to a multispecialty opioid risk reduction program that included addiction management treatment, according to a new study presented this week at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting in Orlando.

When Automotive Assembly Plants Close, Deaths from Opioid Overdoses Rise

Closing of local automotive assembly plants may lead to increases in deaths from opioid overdose, according to a study led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts General Hospital. The findings highlight fading economic opportunity as a driving factor in the ongoing national opioid epidemic, and build on previous research that links declining participation in the labor force to increased opioid use in the U.S. The findings are published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Regional trends in overdose deaths reveal multiple opioid epidemics, according to new study

A recently published study shows the United States in the grip of several simultaneously occurring opioid epidemics, rather than just a single crisis. The epidemics came to light after the researchers analyzed county-level data on drug overdose deaths. The study highlights the importance of different policy responses to the epidemics rather than a single set of policies.

Designing a new class of drugs to treat chronic pain

A UC Davis research team, led by Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy and Heike Wulff, will receive a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a novel class of peptides that are better at treating pain and don’t have the side effects of opioids. The grant is part of the NIH initiative Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL Initiative).