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Substance dependence drives significant health care costs for payors through a combination of factors that include acute inpatient utilization and unaddressed co-morbidities. The Substance Dependence problem is pervasive, largely untreated and costly. Stay informed on these topics by visiting our blog periodically. You can also sign up for the Catasys On Healthcare Newsletter to receive the latest in health care news. » Sign Up for Newsletter
By ReduceYourWorkersComp The hottest workers’ compensation topic currently is the run-away cost of opioids, which are very strong narcotics, in the treatment of employee injuries. Key findings from the recent WCRI conference state that most injured workers received opioids for pain relief, over 80% in some states. In addition, the amount of opioids received per claim has been unusually high in some states with fewer longer-term users of opioids receiving services for monitoring and management. » More
By Joanna Lyford, Senior medwireNews Reporter The number of deaths from drug overdoses in the United States in 2010 rose for the 11th consecutive year, show data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The majority of these deaths involved pharmaceuticals, particularly opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines; worryingly, most deaths were unintended.
"Tools such as prescription drug monitoring programs and electronic health records can help clinicians to identify risky medication use and inform treatment decisions, especially for opioids and benzodiazepines," suggest Christopher Jones (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA) and co-authors.» More
By Mark Hoffman There is now solid research based on official data about the recreational use of prescription opioids, which is part of the epidemic rise in deaths from prescription drug overdoses, now one of the major causes of death in the US. Researchers at Columbia University found that the rate of drug overdose from prescription opioids increased seven-fold in New York City over a 16-year period and was concentrated especially among white residents of the city, in one of the earliest and most comprehensive studies of how the opioid epidemic has affected an urban area.
Analysing data from the city's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the period 1990-2006, the researchers examined the factors associated with death from prescription opioids versus heroin, which historically has been the most common type of opioid fatality in urban areas.» More
From Workers Comp Forum The commission released a draft report that assesses screening for higher-risk prescribing practices in the workers' comp system and information on opioid prescribing that can be used to develop screening criteria for assessing opioid prescribing risk. An additional memo summarizes the evaluation of guidelines for using opioids to treat pain among injured workers.
"Opioids can be an appropriate means of treating patients with chronic pain, particularly those with moderate to severe pain," the report says. "Nevertheless, the increasing use of opioids has been accompanied by real risks of substance misuse, addiction, diversion, overdose, and death."» More
By Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer Prescription painkillers, even in small doses, can significantly increase the chances of injury or death behind the wheel, a provincial study says.
Researchers with the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES) found people taking daily doses of opioids, equivalent to 20 mg of morphine, increased their risk of collisions by 21% to 42%.
“What's key is making sure the people who are being prescribed the opioids are aware of some of the safety concerns surrounding these drugs,” said Tara Gomes, lead author of the first-of-its-kind study: Opioid dose and risk of trauma in Canada: A population-based study.
The study looked at nearly 550,000 cases where patients — ages 18-64 — used opioids via a publicly-funded prescription between 2003 and 2011.» More
By: MARY ELLEN SCHNEIDER, Clinical Psychiatry News Digital Network Methadone was involved in more than 30% of opioid-related deaths in the United States in 2009, second only to the painkiller oxycodone, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The high rate of overdose deaths from methadone occurred even though the drug accounted for less than 2% of opioid prescriptions in 2009. Part of problem is that methadone is more likely than other opioids to cause an overdose, according to the CDC. For example, a toxic level of methadone can accumulate in the body, leading to severe respiratory depression. Methadone can also cause major disturbances in cardiac rhythm.
"It acts differently in different people’s bodies," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said during a press conference to announce the new data. "So it’s possible that someone can take just a small amount, but it may last for days in their system and cause serious health problems."» More