State and Local Law Enforcement Officials Protest Cut to Drug Prevention Program


State and local law enforcement officials came to Capitol Hill last week to protest a Trump Administration proposal to move oversight of a drug prevention program from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to the Justice Department. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program sends millions of federal dollars to 28 task forces across the country. The task forces, composed of state, local and federal law enforcement officers, use the funds to combat drug trafficking in their communities, The New York Times reports. Under a draft budget plan from the Office of Management and Budget, the $275 million program would be run by federal law enforcement officers. “In the middle of this huge epidemic, is now the time to start rearranging the deck chairs?” said Chauncey Parker, the director of the program task force in New York City. “ONDCP are the experts and the professionals on this issue, and...

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FDA Calls Kratom an Opioid


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the supplement known as “kratom” is an opioid and has been linked with 44 deaths, The Washington Post reports. Kratom, an unregulated botanical substance, is used by some people to relieve pain, anxiety and depression, as well as symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The FDA recently conducted a scientific analysis that provided even stronger evidence of kratom’s opioid properties, the agency said in a statement. “We have been especially concerned about the use of kratom to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, as there is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder and significant safety issues exist,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. The analysis has “contributed to the FDA’s concerns about kratom’s potential for abuse, addiction, and serious health consequences; including death.”

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Naloxone Administration May Lead to Complications


There seem to be a growing number of cases of high amounts of fluid in the lungs – known as noncardiogenic pulmonary edema – following administration of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, experts said at a recent meeting of the New York Society of Addiction Medicine annual meeting. “The cause of naloxone-associated pulmonary edema is unclear. It may be that it is part of the natural history of opioid overdose, and we are just seeing it more often because we have the ability to save patients using an antidote. It could also be because when we wake people with naloxone, they try to take a deep breath against a closed airway, causing barotraumas – injuries caused by increased air or water pressure,” says Nicholas Nacca, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. There is no hard data to support that this phenomenon...

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New Treatment Guidance Issued For Pregnant Mothers with Opioid Use Disorder


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released new Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women with Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants. SAMHSA’s Clinical Guidance comes at a time of great need for effective opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment. In 2016, over 20,000 pregnant women reported using heroin or misusing pain relievers in the past month. Newborn babies of mothers who used opioids while pregnant are at risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome--a group of physical and neurobehavioral signs of withdrawal. “SAMHSA is filling an urgent need for reliable, useful, and accurate information for healthcare professionals working to treat opioid dependent mothers and their children,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, SAMHSA’s Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. “Ultimately, the steps explained in this guidance will help the mother and her infant safely receive treatment for opioid use disorder and neonatal abstinence syndrome.” The Clinical Guidance offers...

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Getting the Right Help for Opioid Dependence or Withdrawal


Do you know someone seeking treatment for opioid dependence or withdrawal? If so, it’s important to know this: products that promise miracle cures or fast results cancost precious time and money, lead to relapse, and even be dangerous. Dietary supplements — such as herbal blends, vitamins, and minerals — have not been scientifically proven to ease withdrawal or to treat opioid dependence.Products like Kratom, which some claim can help, are actually not proven treatments, and can be addictive and dangerous to your health.Opioid dependence and withdrawal are serious health issues. You can address them with time, hard work, and help. But there are no quick fixes. If you or someone you know is considering treatment for opioid dependence or withdrawal, start here: Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)Get live help from this free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for people and families facing substance...

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Antipsychotic Drugs May Finally Be Poised For a Long-Overdue Makeover


Antipsychotic drugs – which transformed mental health care following their chance discovery in the mid-20th Century – may finally be poised for a long-overdue makeover incorporating structure-based design. Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have achieved a landmark of psychiatric neuropharmacology: deciphering the molecular structure of a widely prescribed antipsychotic docked in its key receptor. They are hopeful that this discovery may hold secrets to designing better treatments for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses. “For the first time, we can understand precisely how atypical antipsychotic drugs bind to their primary molecular target in the human brain,” explained Dr. Laurie Nadler, chief of the neuropharmacology program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which co-funded the study along with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Cancer Institute. “This discovery opens the way for the rational design of a new generation of antipsychotic drugs,...

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Children of Alcoholics Week is Held February 11-17 2018


Children of Alcoholics (COA) Week is a campaign led by Nacoa (The National Association for Children of Alcoholics) to raise awareness of children affected by parental alcohol problems. Imagine coming home from school and dreading what you might find. Imagine having no friends because you’re too embarrassed to bring them home in case mom or dad are drunk, or worse. Imagine living in a home full of fear and having no one to turn to because everyone denies there’s a problem. Together we can increase awareness of this hidden problem and the support available. Find out how you can help children of all ages know they are not alone. This year, under the slogan “All you need is Love”, the Children of Alcoholics week activities of Active – Sobriety, Friendship and Peace reflect on love and safety, as not just feelings that children experience, but also part of children’s rights. Children...

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Fentanyl-Related Substances Temporarily Placed as Schedule I Drugs


It is well known that deaths associated with the abuse of substances structurally related to fentanyl in the United States are on the rise and have already reached alarming levels. While a number of factors appear to be contributing to this public health crisis, chief among the causes is the sharp increase in recent years in the availability of illicitly produced, potent substances structurally related to fentanyl. Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, and the substances structurally related to fentanyl that DEA is temporarily controlling also tend to be potent substances. Typically, these substances are manufactured outside the United States by clandestine manufacturers and then smuggled into the United States. As a result, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a temporary scheduling order to schedule fentanyl-related substances that are not currently listed in any schedule of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and their isomers, esters, ethers,...

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Study of First-Graders Shows Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Prevalent In U.S. Communities


NIH-funded research examined over 6,000 children to determine prevalence of FASD ranged from 1.1 to 5 percent. A study of more than 6,000 first-graders across four U.S. communities has found that a significant number of the children have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), with conservative rates ranging from 1 to 5 percent in community samples. The new findings represent more accurate prevalence estimates of FASD among general U.S. communities than prior research. Previous FASD estimates were based on smaller study populations and did not reflect the overall U.S. population. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. FASD is an umbrella term for a range of health effects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Individuals with FASD may experience growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities, and organ damage, including to the brain. The effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the brain...

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Philadelphia Encourages Development of Sites for Supervised Injection Drug Use


Philadelphia officials are encouraging organizations to open facilities where staff members provide clean needles and guard against overdoses. Advocates for these facilities say they would save lives. Opponents say they sanction an illegal activity, and make it easier for people to use drugs, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Philadelphia facilities would offer a wide range of services, including referrals to treatment and social services, wound care, medically supervised drug consumption, and access to sterile injection equipment and the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, according to a news release. City officials said a scientific review of studies of supervised injection facilities showed they reduce deaths from drug overdose; prevent HIV, hepatitis C and other infections; and help people who use drugs get into treatment. The review estimated that one site in Philadelphia could prevent up to 76 deaths from drug overdose each year.

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