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Fatal Drug Overdoses Play a Role in Rise in Accidental Deaths

The rate of accidental deaths in the United States is rising, fueled in part by the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic, according to a new report by the National Safety Council. The report found poisonings, largely from drug overdoses and prescription opioids, are the leading cause of preventable death among adults ages 25 to 64. […]

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Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Linked to 30% Drop in Opioid Prescribing

States that use prescription drug monitoring programs have seen a 30 percent decrease in the rate of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers, a new study finds. “This reduction was seen immediately following the launch of the program and was maintained in the second and third years afterward,” the researchers wrote in the journalHealth Affairs. NBC […]

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Overdose Antidote Naloxone Becoming Easier to Buy in Most States

The overdose antidote naloxone is becoming easier to buy around the country, theAssociated Press reports. Most states have passed laws allowing people to buy naloxone without a prescription. Drugstores and other retailers are also making it more easily available. Until recently, naloxone, sold as Narcan, was available mostly through clinics, hospitals or paramedics and other […]

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Many Hip and Knee Replacement Patients Take Opioid Painkillers Months After Surgery

Many patients who have undergone knee or hip replacement surgery are still taking prescription opioid painkillers up to six months after the operation, a new study finds. Some patients continue to use potentially addictive pain medications even though their hip or knee pain has improved, the findings suggest. The study also suggests persistent opioid use […]

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In Fight Against Opioid Addiction, Congress Focuses on Treatment, Not Restricting Access

Congress is focusing on expanding treatment for opioid addiction instead of restricting access to painkillers in its efforts to address the opioid epidemic, The New York Times reports. Legislators seem to be willing to allow opioid prescriptions to remain widely accessible, the article notes. The U.S. House, after overwhelmingly approving 18 bills last week aimed […]

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Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction Cut Short When People Are Incarcerated

Most jails and prisons do not provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Experts tell NPR that for inmates who are forced to detox from methadone, tolerance for opioids decreases, while cravings increase. This raises their risk of overdose after they are released. The World Health Organization recommends continued methadone treatment for people who are incarcerated. […]

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E-Cigarettes the Most Widely Used Tobacco Product Among Teens

E-cigarettes are now the most widely used tobacco product among teens, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). E-cigarette use rose among middle school and high school students from 2011 to 2015, the report found. Three million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2015, an increase of […]

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FDA Advisory Panel Calls for Requiring Training for Doctors Who Prescribe Opioids

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel on Wednesday voted to recommend requiring doctors who prescribe opioids to receive training. Doctors’ groups have resisted mandatory training. The FDA often follows their advisory panels’ recommendations, but the agency is not required to do so. The Wall Street Journal reports the panel heard evidence on ways […]

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Opioid Abuse Could Be Costing Employers as Much as $8 Billion Annually

Opioid abuse could be costing U.S. employers up to $8 billion annually, according to a report by the benefits firm Castlight Health. Employees who abuse opioids cost employers almost twice as much in healthcare expenses on average, compared with workers who don’t abuse opioids, the report found. The average healthcare cost for employees who abuse […]

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Scientists Warn About Mental Health Consequences of Using Marijuana

A group of scientists in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia is warning about the potential mental health consequences of marijuana use, The Guardian reports. They say frequent use of marijuana increases the risk of psychotic disorders in vulnerable people. The scientists are calling for global public health campaigns to warn the public […]

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