Is opioid treatment available to those who need it most?

The U.S. opioid epidemic is still raging – it’s particularly pronounced in low-income areas and in those where people lack access to health care services, which includes cities in Michigan and across the Rust Belt. But the effectiveness of efforts to provide treatment and recovery options to those who need it most – that is, in locations with the greatest number of deaths from opioid overdose – has been unclear.

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Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Provides Pain Relief and More Effective Opioid Alternative in Animal Study

An international team of researchers has used nanoparticles to deliver a drug—one that previously failed in clinical trials for pain—into specific compartments of nerve cells, dramatically increasing its ability to treat pain in mice and rats. The findings are published Nov. 4 in Nature Nanotechnology.

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National focus on overdose prevention should include alcohol too, study suggests

The need to prevent and rapidly treat opioid overdoses is in the spotlight. But a new study suggests more focus is needed on the risk of alcohol overdoses among people who use opioids of all kinds, and other drugs. Ninety percent of residential recovery center patients surveyed had overdosed on alcohol at least once, and 80 percent of them said that at the time of their overdose, they had also been taking other drugs.

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New Opioid Prescription Dosages Drop 22 Percent in Penn Medicine’s New Jersey Practices Following Changes to State Law and Health Record Alerts

The total amount of opioids dispensed per new opioid prescription decreased by 22 percent in Penn Medicine outpatient practices in New Jersey after the state passed a law limiting prescriptions to a five-day supply for new opioid prescriptions. Penn Medicine implemented an electronic health record (EMR) alert, or “nudge,” to notify clinicians if that limit had been reached. The study, published online today in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, is one of the first evaluations of a state law’s impact on prescribing outcomes, and is the first report of an EMR being used to make compliance with prescribing limits easier. Importantly, after the prescribing limit and alert went into effect there was no evidence to suggest pain control worsened.

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Men Receiving Opioids After Vasectomy at High Risk for Persistent Opioid Use

Routine use of opioids after vasectomy doesn’t improve pain control, but is associated with a substantial rate of persistent opioid use in the months after the procedure, reports a study in the October issue of The Journal of Urology®, Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA). The Journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

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UIC researchers tackle opioid use among kidney disease patients

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received $2.8 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to investigate non-opioid pain management strategies for people with kidney disease, which affects about 15% of adults in the U.S. With the funding, UIC will be one of eight clinical centers studying alternative pain management solutions for adults on maintenance dialysis

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