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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 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
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
By Shara Park Chances are you or someone you know is being affected by prescription drug abuse. Hundreds of Utahns die each year from prescription drug overdose, and some of them are children who are too young to even know what they're getting into.
Prescription pain medications are the most frequently abused substances in the state. And it's the addicting power of opioids, found in prescriptions like OxyContin and Lortab that takes even the youngest users down a dark and sometimes unforgiving path.
Angela Watson cherishes the mementos and memories of her son Connor. He died last year of a prescription drug overdose. He was 13.» More
Poisoning, including from pain medications, overtakes traffic accidents.
By Tim Darragh, Of The Morning Call
Huddled at a table at the Allentown drug rehabilitation center Keenan House, Jeremy Pahula waved a hand to indicate the dozens of men and women like him who were working to stay out of the grip of drugs.
The vast majority of them — Pahula estimated 80 percent — had abused pain medications.
"They're so easy to get," he said.
The widespread availability and abuse of pain medications, particularly opioids, is a major reason why poisonings, largely from pain pills, have for the first time become the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania and the United States.» More
By Rob Ollikainen A state Department of Health study found Clallam County to have the highest per capita rate of opiate-related deaths from 2008 to 2010, while neighboring Jefferson County ranked No. 8.
According to the study, Clallam County had 25 deaths attributed to opiate-based painkillers — methadone, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Percocet and others — or street heroin from 2008 to 2010.
Jefferson County had seven opiate-related deaths during that span, according to the study.
The Clallam County death rate was 11.7 per 100,000 people, and the Jefferson County death rate was 7.9 per 100,000.
King County had the most deaths in the state with 324 deaths but a per capita death rate of 5.6 per 100,000, placing it 16th in the state.» More
By Abby Callard In April 2011, the Office of National Drug Control Policy declared the American opioid abuse problem an epidemic. Robert Saenz, CEO of Tulsa Pain Consultants, president of VIP Medical Consulting and former Federal agent, says physicians need to be more vigilant than ever because they are going to be held more accountable.
"Because of this epidemic, doctors need to be aware that there's a crisis," he says. "The federal government is looking at this, and they're going to hold physicians a lot more accountable than before because there's going to be more resources to do that."» More