With opioid prescribing regulations being updated, national policy announcements, state guidelines as well as daily commentary regarding the opioid epidemic flooding news outlets; the AffirmHealth Weekend Round Up looks at the top headlines that caught our team’s eye. From controlled substance protocols to research focusing on pain management, addiction medicine, the ER and more...provided to you in an easy to access summary. News you can use. Welcome to the Weekend Round Up.
March 30, 2018
CDC Director Pledges to Bring Opioid Epidemic “To Its Knees”
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: The new director of the top U.S. public health agency on Thursday pledged to work to bring the nation's opioid epidemic "to its knees" and said he believes the AIDS epidemic could be ended in three to seven years. Dr. Robert Redfield Jr. made the comments at a staff meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Redfield started the job Monday, less than a week after his appointment was announced.
Find the Full Article Here: CDC Director Pledges to Bring Opioid Epidemic to its Knees
March 30, 2018
Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, Cocaine and Psychostimulants – United States, 2015-2016
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: From 1999 to 2015, the drug overdose epidemic resulted in approximately 568,699 deaths. In 2015, 52,404 drug overdose deaths occurred; 63.1% (33,091) involved an opioid. From 2014 to 2015, the age-adjusted opioid-involved death rate increased by 15.6%; the rapid increase in deaths was driven in large part by synthetic opioids other than methadone (e.g., fentanyl).
Find the Full Article Here: CDC: MMWR: Overdose Deaths Including Opioids, Cocaine and Psychostimulants - United States, 2015-2016
March 30, 2018
Opioid Manufacturers to Pay New York $100m a year
Democrat & Chronicle, Part of the USA Today Network
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: Opioid manufacturers will be forced to pay a combined $100 million annually to help cover New York's costs for state-funded drug and alcohol treatment programs. The surcharge on pharmaceutical companies was included in a portion of the $168 billion state budget approved Friday afternoon by the state Legislature. The measure requires all companies who manufacture or distribute opioids in New York state to split the $100 million annual surcharge based on their share of the market in New York.
Find the full article here: Opioid Manufacturers To Pay New York 100 Million a Year
March 21, 2018
Study: College Education Linked to Opioid Misuse Among Baby Boomers
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York: Newsroom
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: The more educated a member of the baby boomer generation, the more likely they are to misuse prescription opioids, according to new research from the University at Buffalo. The study, which surveyed 130 participants in Western New York, investigated the risk factors for prescription opioid misuse in adults with chronic pain older than 50. The research concluded that those who attended at least some college were 2.5 times more likely to misuse opioids than those who did not. The study also found that the risk for opioid misuse in older adults was nearly 13 times greater for illicit drug users than non-users, and almost 6 times greater for individuals with moderate depression. Understanding these factors can aid health care professionals in identifying high-risk older adults, a population that is more sensitive to opioids due to the effects of aging on the body, says Yu-Ping Chang, PhD, author and Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Endowed Professor in the UB School of Nursing. Of U.S. adults 50 or older who visited the emergency room for drug toxicity, opioid pain relievers were involved in nearly 44 percent of cases, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Find the Full Article Here: Baby Boomers, Education and Opioid Misuse
Find the Full Study Here: Factors Associated with Prescribed Opioid Misue in Adults Aged 50 or Older
OPIOID EPIDEMIC: OVERDOSE
March 26, 2018
Study Suggests That the Likeliest Witness/Responders to Overdose Include Fellow Users Who Use in a Range of Settings Outside the Home
Source: John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: In response to America’s opioid crisis, public health departments and community organizations across the country have started to train opioid users to reverse overdoses in other users with the opioid-blocker naloxone. The most frequent and public opioid users may be the best available candidates for naloxone training, according to a new study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The scientists interviewed 450 Baltimore drug users—the vast majority with histories of opioid abuse—and found that users who had witnessed more drug overdoses tended to be those who engaged in riskier drug use and used drugs in more places. “A user can’t administer naloxone to himself when he’s overdosing, so from a public health standpoint we need to figure out which users are most likely to witness other users’ overdoses and thus be in position to revive them,” says senior author Carl A. Latkin, PhD, professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society. “Our results indicate that the likeliest overdose witnesses are the heavier users who use in a wider range of settings.”
Find the Full Article Here: Frequent, Public Drug Users May Be Good Candidates for Overdoes-Treatment Training
CLINICAL DRUG TESTING
March 22, 2018
Breakthrough Test Detects Heroin and Cocaine From a Fingerprint
American Academy of Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: A fingerprint test published today in AACC’s Clinical Chemistry journal can tell whether someone has taken heroin or cocaine, and accurately distinguishes between drug users versus individuals who were exposed to drug residue in the environment. This breakthrough study brings fingerprint drug testing one step closer to clinical adoption, which could revolutionize drug testing by making it both simpler and nearly impossible to cheat. Heroin is the second leading cause of deadly overdoses in the U.S., while cocaine has caused more drug-related fatalities than any other non-opioid.
Find the Full Press Release Here: Breakthrough Test Detects Heroin and Cocaine From a Fingerprint
March 23, 2018
Effective Addiction Treatment Requires Good Health Coverage
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: The most profound effect of Medicaid expansion on the opioid epidemic is increased access to addiction treatment. Our analysis finds that per-enrollee rates of buprenorphine and naltrexone, two medications used to treat opioid use disorders, increased by more than 200 percent after states expanded Medicaid eligibility. By contrast, prescribing rates increased by less than 50 percent in the states that did not expand eligibility. Coupled with the finding that opioid prescribing increased no more in expansion states than non-expansion states, this reveals that the expansion successfully opened up access to treatment for people with opioid use disorder. Trump himself acknowledged the importance of Medicaid in addressing the opioid epidemic by taking aim at the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion, which prohibits federal Medicaid funding from reimbursing large residential treatment facilities, in his recent opioid plan. Americans do not experience substance use disorders in a vacuum. Nearly 40 percent of people with opioid addictions are also experiencing mental health disorders. Injecting drugs increases the chances that people will acquire infective endocarditis, HIV, or viral hepatitis. For those who developed an addiction through the misuse of drugs prescribed for chronic pain, injury, cancer, or other illnesses, those same underlying health conditions may require ongoing health care.
Find the Full Article Here: Does Effective Addiction Treatment Requires Good Health Coverage?
HEALTHCARE: PAYER POLICIES
March 29, 2018
Blue Cross Blue Shield Adopts New Opioid Standard: 3 Things to Know
Becker’s Spine Review
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association National Council of Physician and Pharmacist Executives adopted a standard that opioids should not be prescribed as first or second lines of pain therapy in most situations.
Here are three things to know.
1. The NCPE, a committee of medical officers and pharmacy experts from BCBS companies nationwide, unanimously supported the standard, which aligns with recent CDC guidelines. It is intended to reduce unnecessary harm for 106 million members served by BCBS companies.
"Due to the lack of evidence combined with significant potential for harm, we believe professional standards require that BCBS members are given alternative options to opioids in most clinical situations," said Dr. Trent Haywood, MD, CMO for BCBSA. "We will work with medical professionals to ensure BCBS members are routinely provided alternatives to opioids through a mutual decision made inside the doctor’s office."
2. According to a BCBSA study, 21 percent of commercially insured BCBSA members filled at least one opioid prescription in 2015. The number of members with an opioid use disorder diagnosis spiked 493 percent over a seven-year study period.
3. According to Dr. Haywood, BCBS companies represent one-third of Americans. BCBS companies cover non-opioid pain treatments, as well as medication-assisted treatments, and BCBS companies are providing training for physicians and pharmacists, customized coaching services for people with chronic pain and support for families in addiction recovery.
Find the Full Article Here: Blue Cross Blue Shield Adopts New Opioid Standard: 3 Things To Know
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