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07 Oct

HealthDay Now: Fentanyl, Supply Chain Issues, and Isolation Drove Record High Drug Overdoses in 2020

In a HealthDay Now interview, we spoke to Dr. Thomas Stopka, associate professor and epidemiologist who studies opioid use and abuse at Tufts University School of Medicine. Considering the record high number of drug overdoses reported in 2020, Dr. Stopka discussed factors that may be responsible for this increase.

Health News Results - 210

Teens Have Triple the Odds of Misusing Marijuana Compared to Adults

In yet another report that illustrates the dangers pot poses to the young, developing brain, a new British study finds teenagers are much more likely than adults to develop an addiction to marijuana.

"We found that teenagers are three and a half times more likely to have severe cannabis use disorder, whi...

What Drives Doctors to Take Their Own Lives

Doctor burnout and suicide are a growing concern, a new study finds.

“We often overlook the physical health of our health care workers, but poor health can lead to difficulty performing tasks at work, which then leads to job stress and mental health issues,” said corresponding author Dr. Kristen Kim, a resident in psychiatry at UC San Diego Health.

About 1 in 15 doctors experien...

Will Medical Marijuana, CBD Ease Chronic Pain?

Use of medical marijuana has surged across the United States, but a new analysis finds that evidence supporting its use in treating chronic pain remains surprisingly thin.

There have been few well-performed clinical trials focused on pain relief from the sort of products you'd buy at a marijuana dispensary, including smoked cannabis, edibles, extracts and

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • June 7, 2022
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  • Dangerous Prescriptions of Opioids-Plus-Sedatives Plummet in U.S.

    Reacting to the nation's opioid epidemic, doctors in the United States are co-prescribing fewer opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Xanax, federal health officials report.

    When these drugs are taken together, the odds of an overdose, even a fatal overdose, increase sharply.

    However, between 2016 and 2019, co-prescription of the two classes of drugs fell by near...

    Setting Time Limits on Opioid Prescriptions Might Reduce Misuse

    Here's a simple weapon to employ against the opioid epidemic: New research finds that placing time limits on prescriptions for highly addictive narcotic painkillers may reduce the risk of misuse.

    In 2019, 1% of opioid prescriptions from U.S. dentists and surgeons were filled more than 30 days after bei...

    Liver Transplants From Donors Who Overdosed Rose During Pandemic

    Organs from donors who died of drug overdoses helped keep the number of U.S. liver transplants steady during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study finds.

    "When the pandemic began, we saw no decline in liver transplants, which seemed surprising since many surgeries were canceled or postponed," said lead author Peter Lymberopoulos, a fourth-year medical student at St. George'...

    Too Few People Treated for Opioid Use Get Anti-Overdose Med

    A potentially lifesaving drug that reduces overdose risk is prescribed to less than half of Americans treated for opioid addiction, a new study finds.

    This underuse of buprenorphine is "equivalent to giving those with advanced cancer a less aggressive ...

    U.S. Fatal Drug ODs Rose Again in 2021, But Increase Is Slowing

    Drug overdose deaths in the United States continue to climb, but at a slower pace, federal health officials reported Wednesday.

    Early data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that nearly 108,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021.

    "Drug overdose deaths are s...

    Leftover Opioids After Surgery? Mailed Kits Double Rate of Proper Disposal

    Could giving surgery patients ready-to-use mailed disposal kits for unused opioids lower the risk of abuse of the drugs?

    Yes, claims a new study that found patients with unused opioid pain pills are much more likely to d...

    Ohio State Warns of Fake Adderall Pills After Two Students Die

    Ohio State University is warning students to be wary of fake Adderall pills after two students died last week.

    University officials said that Columbus Public Health has warned the community about the counterfeit Adderall, which contain the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl and are fueling increases in overdoses and hospitalizations in the area.

    "Be aware of the possibility of unexpec...

    Smoking Rates Drop for Americans Battling Depression, Substance Abuse

    Folks who struggle with depression and substance use disorders often tend to be smokers, but a new study finds that smoking rates among these vulnerable Americans have fallen significantly.

    "This study shows us that at a population-level,...

    Mental Health Issues Linked to Higher Risk of Breakthrough COVID Infections

    People with substance abuse disorders, depression and other mental health conditions may be at higher risk for COVID-19 -- even when they are fully vaccinated, new research suggests.

    "Individuals with psychiatric disorders, and especially older adults with psychiatric disorders, may be particularly vulnerable to breakthrough infections," said study author Kristen Nishimi, a postdoctoral f...

    Pandemic Brought Surge in Fatal Drug Overdoses in U.S. Teens

    Drug overdose deaths among America's teens have skyrocketed during the pandemic, and not because drug use is more common, researchers report.

    In 2020, overdose deaths among adolescents nearly doubled, compared with 10 years before the pandemic. They rose another 20% in the first six months of 2021, a new study finds.

    "Teen drug use rates are at historic lows, so this is really becau...

    Teens Who Misuse Drugs Rarely Shake the Issue as Adults: Study

    Does youthful experimentation with drugs and alcohol always fade with age? Not necessarily, a long-term study warns.

    Researchers found that more than 60% of teens who report heavy use of alcohol, marijuana, and/or other drugs continue to have a drug problem as adults, often involving misuse of p...

    Police Records Show Use of Illegal Fentanyl-Laced Pills Soaring

    Dovetailing with a surge in overdose deaths, the United States has seen a sharp rise in seizures of illicit fentanyl, according to a new report.

    Law enforcement seizures of pills containing illicit fen...

    Too Few People With Opioid Disorder Receive Best Treatments

    Even though medication is considered the most effective therapy for opioid addiction, many Americans who need it don't receive it, a new study finds.

    "Evidence supporting the effectiveness of medication for opioid use disorder — such as methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone — is unequivocal, but most people who needed [opioid addiction] treatment in the U.S. did not receive this gold...

    Arthritis? Back Pain? Medical Pot May Help You Avoid Opioid Painkillers

    Medical marijuana could be a viable alternative to opioid painkillers for people dealing with arthritis or chronic back pain, two new studies show.

    Many patients prescribed opioids for their chronic pain wound up taking fewer painkillers -- or stopping them altogether -- after doctors ce...

    Could the Party Drug Ecstasy Help Treat PTSD?

    The party drug "ecstasy" might be the key to helping people heal from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), new clinical trial results indicate.

    In a small study, PTSD patients treated with a powerful combination of the psychedelic drug, also known as MDMA, and talk therapy were much more likely to...

    Medical Marijuana Rx Ups Odds for Overuse, With No Benefit to Health: Study

    Using medical marijuana to treat pain, anxiety or depression may quickly lead to dependence, without relieving symptoms, a new study suggests.

    Those most at risk for misusing medical marijuana are patients using it to treat anxiety and depression, the researchers found. Based on these findings, the b...

    Some Teens Are Overdosing With Meds Prescribed for ADHD, Anxiety

    Taken correctly, prescription drugs used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can help teens and young adults navigate their condition, but a new study finds many are dying from overdosing on these medications.

    In 2019,

    J&J Finalizes $26 Billion Opioid Settlement

    Settlements totaling $26 billion have been finalized between drugmaker Johnson & Johnson plus three major pharmaceutical distributors and state and local governments, over the companies' role in America's opioid crisis.

    The

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  • February 28, 2022
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  • A Hotter Climate Could Trigger More Mental Health Crises

    Extreme heat from climate change is making it harder for people with mental illness and drug addiction to cope and adding to pressure on pandemic-stretched U.S. emergency rooms.

    During these severe summer temperature spikes, Americans with depression, anxiety, mood disorders and drug addiction are increasingly flocking to hospital ERs for help, a

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  • February 24, 2022
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  • FDA Warns of Rising Dangers of Unapproved Drug Tianeptine

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued another pointed warning about the dangers posed by tianeptine, an antidepressant that is not approved for any type of medical treatment in the United States.

    Topping the list of possible risks from ta...

    Microdosing LSD: Can It Help or Harm Mental Health?

    Microdosing has become trendy in the era of drug legalization, with TV shows like "Nine Perfect Strangers" promoting the potential positives of regularly taking tiny amounts of psychedelics.

    But a new study finds that short-term microdosing of one hippy-era psychedelic, LSD, doesn't appear to cause any lasting or dramatic improvements to a person's disposition or brainpower, researchers r...

    Millions of Americans Are Taking Risky Opioid/Sedative Combo

    Millions of American adults take a potentially deadly duo of prescription opioid painkillers and sedatives at the same time, researchers warn.

    The side effects of concurrent use of opioids and sedatives such as

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  • February 23, 2022
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  • Stopped Early, Teen Drug Abuse Won't Harm Life Success

    If they quit early on, there's a good chance that teenage drug abusers can still succeed in life, researchers say.

    The findings show the importance of stopping drug use by early adulthood in order to protect future health and well-being, according to Jake Najman, a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia, and co-author of a new study.

    "Adolescent behavior proble...

    Sackler Family Sweetens Opioid Settlement Offer

    The wealthy Sackler family upped its cash offer to settle thousands of opioid-related lawsuits against the family and their company, Purdue Pharma.

    Instead of paying out $4.5 billion, the company is now offering $6 billion to settle the slew of lawsuits.

    But the family still wants all civil claims against them related to Purdue and opioids ended, and a ban on future such claims, acc...

    As Fentanyl Overdoses Rise, So Does Use of 'Party Drug' Test Strips

    Potent and poisonous, the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl has infiltrated nearly every corner of the U.S. illegal street drug market, experts warn.

    In the process, it's killing addicts and recreational "party drug" users alike.

    "This is the time of fentanyl, a drug that's 50 to 100 times more powerful than mo...

    Autism, ADHD Raise the Odds for Early Death

    Young people with autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher risk of dying early from a range of causes, a new research review suggests.

    Researchers found that before middle-age, people with autism face higher-than-average rates of death from both "natural" causes, like heart disease, and "unnatural" ones, including accidents and suicide.

    Meanwhile, unna...

    Psychosis Risk Rises When People Abuse 'Speed'

    Amphetamines can pull people into a vicious cycle of addiction, but new research now shows that people who abuse these stimulants are also five times more likely to develop psychosis than non-users.

    The effect of "speed" on neurotransmitter signaling in the brain often causes psychosis symptoms such as paranoia, voices and hallucinations. These typically resolve after a few days, but may ...

    Young Americans Lost Almost 1.5 Million Years of Life to Opioids Between 2015 and 2019

    The U.S. drug epidemic continues its death march, with new research showing American teens and young adults have lost nearly 1.5 million years of life due to drug overdose deaths in recent years.

    For the study, the researchers examined years of life lost -- the difference between a person's e...

    Opioid Misuse Keeps Rising Among Older Americans

    The opioid addict you know might not be the college kid who has always dabbled in alcohol and drugs.

    It could be your grandparent.

    Opioid misuse doesn't discriminate by age -- and rates are rising steadily among adults aged 55 and up, new research shows.

    "You can still use recrea...

    ERs Can Boost Efforts to Stamp Out Opioid Addiction

    A program meant to encourage the use of a drug that can help people overcome opioid addiction led to dramatic increases in its use in emergency rooms, researchers report.

    Buprenorphine is a medication that stabilizes opioid withdrawal and soothes cravi...

    NYC's Overdose Prevention Centers Already Saving Lives

    At least 59 overdoses were prevented in the first three weeks that two overdose prevention centers have been open in New York City, the city's health department said Tuesday.

    During that time, there were more than 2,000 visits to the centers that are operated by OnPoint NYC and are the first publicly recognized overdose prevention sites to open in the United States. The city first

    Did Pandemic Lockdowns Worsen the Epidemic of Opioid Abuse?

    Pandemic lockdowns may have led fewer Americans to seek pain treatment last year, but folks who did seek help had higher-than-usual odds of receiving dangerous opioid painkillers, a new study says.

    And that could lead to a worsening of the opioid epidemic, researchers suggest.

    "It is likely that more patients may have become addicted to opioids than would have been the case absent t...

    Getting a Pacemaker Can Raise Odds for Opioid Abuse

    People who are prescribed opioid painkillers after receiving a heart pacemaker or defibrillator may be at risk for opioid abuse -- and the higher the initial dose, the greater the risk, according to a new study.

    “The significance of this study is to make other electrophysiologists aware that even a low-risk procedure like a pacemaker or a defibrillator can lead to chronic opioid use and...

    Wearable Device Spots, Reverses Opioid Overdoses

    A wearable device that could inject a lifesaving antidote for an opioid overdose might be on the horizon.

    A new study shows that the device, worn on the stomach like an insulin pump, can detect when someone stops breathing from an overdose and inject the drug naloxone to restore breathing.

    "Fatal drug overdoses in the United States are at an all-time high, and opioid overdoses accou...

    Over 100,000 Americans Died From Drug Overdoses in One Year: Report

    New government data confirms what many have suspected: The pandemic has prompted a record number of drug overdose deaths, with more than 100,000 Americans succumbing to addiction as COVID-19 raged across the country.

    That figure is almost 30% higher than the previous year, when 78,000 overdose deaths were reported, according to provisional figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control...

    Trauma in Childhood Can Harm Health for a Lifetime: Study

    As if suffering through a childhood trauma weren't enough, new research suggests it might raise the risk of poor mental and physical health later in life.

    Researchers analyzed nearly 2,900 responses to the 2019 New Zealand Family Violence Survey and found that about 45% of respondents said they had no adverse childhood events, a majority experienced at least one, and one-third reported mo...

    Oklahoma Supreme Courts Overturns $465 Million J & J Opioid Ruling

    A previous court ruling that ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay Oklahoma $465 million for the company's role in the opioid epidemic was tossed out by the state's highest court on Tuesday.

    In a 5-1 vote, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected the state's argument that Johnson & Johnson violated "public nuisance" laws by overstating the benefits of its prescription opioid painkillers and minimiz...

    California Judge Sides With Drug Companies in Opioid Lawsuit

    A California judge has ruled against local governments that sued drug companies for billions of dollars to recover their costs of dealing with the opioid epidemic.

    In a tentative ruling issued Monday, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson rejected the plaintiffs' claims the companies used deceptive marketing to increase unnecessary prescriptions of opioid painkillers, the As...

    Number of Teens Who Vape Marijuana Doubled in 7 Years

    Teenagers have followed the vaping trend into marijuana use, with recent studies chronicling a boom in pot vaping among adolescents in the United States and Canada, researchers report.

    The percentage of teens who've experimented with vaped pot has more than doubled in recent years, and vaping among frequent marijuana users has quadrupled, according to the study.

    Currently about 1 in...

    Scientists Develop Quick Test for Marijuana Use

    Researchers may be one step closer to developing the equivalent of a Breathalyzer for detecting marijuana use.

    In an early study, scientists found that their rapid test was able to reliably detect THC in people's saliva in under 5 minutes. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active ingredient in marijuana.

    Right now, the "gold standard" for detecting marijuana use is to meas...

    CDC Reports Record High 12-Month Drug Overdose Death Toll

    Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit a new record for the 12-month period ending March 2021, new government data shows.

    A record high 96,779 drug overdose deaths occurred between March 2020 and March 2021, representing a 29.6% rise, new statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics found. The numbers are provisional, ...

    Many Addicts Turned to Telemedicine During Pandemic, But Does It Beat In-Person Care?

    The coronavirus pandemic forced a significant shift to telemedicine treatment for addiction, but it's not clear whether that approach is better than in-person care, a new study finds.

    Before the pandemic, addiction treatment services in the United States had many restrictions on telemedicine use, so only about 27% of addiction facilities offered telehealth services, while telehealth was u...

    'Breakthrough' COVID More Likely in People With Problem Drug, Alcohol Use

    Drug and alcohol abuse increase the risk of breakthrough COVID-19 infection as well as severe illness and death among fully vaccinated people, a new study shows.

    "First and foremost, vaccination is highly effective for people with substance use disorders, and the overall risk of COVID-19 among vaccinated people with substance use disorders is very low," study co-author Dr. Nora Volkow, di...

    How the COVID Pandemic Made the Opioid Epidemic Worse, Even as Telehealth Helped

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the U.S. opioid crisis in ways bad and good, increasing the risk of use and overdose but also spurring innovative approaches to treatment.

    The pandemic has definitely been linked to an increase in opioid use and overdose deaths, Tufts University's Thomas Stopka said during a HealthDay Now video interview.

    "We've been seeing increases in o...

    U.S. Meth Overdose Deaths Tripled in Recent Years

    Deaths from methamphetamine overdoses in the United States nearly tripled between 2015 and 2019, health officials report in a new study.

    While the number of methamphetamine users did not increase as steeply, researchers said frequent use of methamphetamine, and using other drugs at the same time, may have contributed to the increase in overdose deaths. Meth users have also become more div...

    Animal Sedative Is Driving Rise in Fatal Drug ODs

    An animal tranquilizer, xylazine, is increasingly linked to drug overdose deaths across the United States, health officials say.

    According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, xylazine has turned up in overdose deaths in 25 of 38 states examined. In 2019, xylazine contributed to death in 64% of cases and almost always also involved fentanyl.

    The ...

    Opioid Use Disorder Is as Deadly as Heart Attack: Study

    Hospitalized opioid addicts die at a rate similar to people who have a heart attack after leaving the hospital.

    Nearly 8% of patients addicted to opioids died within 12 months of hospital discharge, according to researchers from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

    "We need systems that can address comprehensive needs of people with substance use disorder and serious medical i...

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