‘Years of Life Lost’ to unintentional drug overdose in adolescents spikes during pandemic

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a 113% increase in the “Years of Life Lost” among adolescents and young people in the United States due to unintentional drug overdose, according to researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine.

WVU pharmaceutical experts caution ‘one pill can kill’ as new forms of fentanyl become more prevalent

Faculty members with the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy are issuing warnings about the rise of fentanyl in Mountain State communities and elsewhere following the recent seizure of a large amount of “rainbow fentanyl,” potent illegal pills resembling candy, by law enforcement officers in Monongalia County.

Increased overdose and mental health risks persist two years after opioid dose reduction

A new UC Davis Health study suggests that the increased rates of overdose and mental health crisis observed during the first year after opioid dose tapering persist through the second year. The study was published in JAMA Network Open.

Medication that lowers risk of overdose underused

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Saint Louis University found that less than half of Americans who received treatment for opioid use disorder over a five-year period were offered a potentially lifesaving medication. The numbers were even lower for those with what’s known as polysubstance use disorder — when opioid users also misuse other substances.

Emergency department visits related to opioid overdoses up significantly during COVID-19 pandemic

Emergency department visit rates because of an opioid overdose increased by 28.5% across the U.S. in 2020, compared to 2018 and 2019, recent Mayo Clinic research finds. Emergency visits overall decreased by 14% last year, while visits because of an opioid overdose increased by 10.5%. The result: Opioid overdoses were responsible for 0.32 out of 100 visits, or 1 in every 313 visits, which is up from 0.25, or 1 in every 400 visits, the previous two years.

Arkansas Society of Anesthesiologists and American Society of Anesthesiologists Applaud Arkansas Senate Public Health Committee on Passing SB 505 Giving Protection to Patients Prescribed Opioids

The Arkansas Society of Anesthesiologists (ARSA) and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) today applaud bill sponsor Sen. Cecile Bledsoe and the Arkansas Senate Public Health, Labor and Welfare Committee for helping to ensure the safety of patients prescribed opioids. Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane and Jonathan Goree, M.D., a physician anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist, testified for the bill.

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.

Most Youths Surviving Opioid Overdose Not Getting Timely Treatment to Avoid Recurrence

A study of more than 4 million Medicaid claims records during a recent seven-year period concludes that less than a third of the nearly 3,800 U.S. adolescents and young adults who experienced a nonfatal opioid overdose got timely (within 30 days) follow-up addiction treatment to curb or prevent future misuse and reduce the risk of a second overdose.

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.

Study highlights overdose risks of alcohol used with other drugs

Only one in five non-fatal alcohol overdoses results from use of alcohol alone, according to a study of patients in a large addiction treatment facility, with most alcohol overdoses involving concomitant use of other drugs. Alcohol can interact with other drugs ─ including marijuana, central nervous system depressants such as opioids, and stimulants such as cocaine ─ in various ways, and using them together is known to increase the likelihood and severity of overdose. Despite this, there is limited research examining the characteristics of alcohol overdose in the context of concomitant drug use. The new study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, provides a clearer understanding of role of other drug use and its impact on outcomes of alcohol overdose.