Large Percentage of Deaths by Drug Overdose May be Suicides


Between 25 and 45 percent of deaths by overdose may be suicides, according to the immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Maria Oquendo told NBC News the opioid epidemic is occurring at the same time suicides have risen to a 30-year high. One study of overdoses from prescription opioids found almost 54 percent were unintentional. The rest were either suicide attempts or undetermined, the article notes. Few doctors are looking for a connection between opioid addiction and suicides, Dr. Oquendo said. “They are not monitoring it,” she said. “They are probably not assessing it in the kinds of depths they would need to prevent some of the deaths.”

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St. Louis Police Saving Fewer Lives with Heroin Antidote Amid Stronger Opiates


The number of people that police in St. Louis have been able to save using the heroin overdose antidote naloxone, or Narcan, has declined by approximately 30 percent this year, compared to last year, according to the Associated Press. The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that nearly 90 percent of 121 overdose deaths through July of this year involved the drug fentanyl. Sometimes mixed with or sold as heroin, fentanyl is a powerful opiate that is considered stronger than heroin, making reversing an overdose from fentanyl more difficult. “The toxicity level of fentanyl is so potent, it might not be reversible,” said Spring Schmidt, director of health promotion and public health research for St. Louis County. “The potential for death is faster, and that impacts our ability to reverse an overdose.” Health officials noted that fentanyl overdoses may require more than one dose of Narcan to successfully revive patients....

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F**k you, Opioids


The following is posted with permission from by Peter Kulbacki, Owner and Licensed Manager at Brunswick Memorial, Inc. What am I supposed to say when we get a call from someone telling me that a loved one has passed from an overdose? I’m sorry? Please accept my condolences? Yeah, that’s what I say, but you know what? My visceral response when I hang up the phone is F**K you opioids. Those who know me know I’m not prone to profanity, and as the consummate professional, I cannot say this to the parents, children, siblings, friends, and neighbors that we serve in the aftermath of opioid addiction. But I want to scream it out loud. F**K you heroin. I write this as a son, spouse, parent, brother, grandfather, neighbor, friend, and funeral director. Folks, we have a problem, a very real problem right here in our backyard, in every town. Every month...

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DEA Takes Action Against Doctors for Prescribing Opioids to Patients who Overdose


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is taking action against an increasing number of doctors for prescribing opioids to patients who overdose, according to CNN. The DEA took action against 479 doctors in 2016, compared with 88 doctors in 2011. Most people who misuse prescription opioids get them for free from a friend or relative, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Those who are at highest risk of overdose (using prescription opioids nonmedically 200 or more days a year) get them in ways that are different from those who use them less frequently,” the CDC notes on its website. Among those at highest risk of overdose, 27 percent get opioids using their own prescriptions. A study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found 91 percent of people who survived an opioid overdose were able to get another prescription for opioids.

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International Overdose Awareness Day Coming August 31st


International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. An overdose means having too much of a drug (or combination of drugs) for your body to be able to cope with. There are a number of signs and symptoms that show someone has overdosed, and these differ with the type of drug used. All drugs can cause an overdose, including prescription medication prescribed by a doctor. It is important to know your correct dosage, what drugs definitely should not be mixed, and know to seek help if you feel you are not in control of your drug use. Globally, there is an estimated minimum of 190,000 – in most cases avoidable – premature deaths from drugs, the majority attributable to the use of opioids. The United States accounts for approximately...

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Police Officer Accidentally Overdoses on Fentanyl While on the Job


A police officer in Ohio accidentally overdosed on fentanyl while on the job, NBC News reports. He was recovering, but reportedly “still miserable” several days later. Patrolman Chris Green was at the police station after having searched the car of two suspected drug dealers. A colleague pointed out some white powder on Green’s shirt. Green brushed it off with his bare hand. About an hour later, he passed out. It took four doses of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone (Narcan) to revive him, the article notes. According to East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane, Green had used gloves and a mask to search the car, but had taken them off before he brushed the powder off. “He did this without thinking,” Lane said. “I’m not sure he even realized this was drugs.”

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Addressing America’s Fentanyl Crisis

Addressing America’s Fentanyl Crisis

Every day, 91 Americans fatally overdose on an opioid drug. It may be a prescription analgesic or heroin—4-8 percent of people who misuse painkillers transition to heroin—but increasingly it is likely to be heroin’s much more potent synthetic cousin fentanyl. In the space of only two years, fentanyl has tragically escalated the opioid crisis. This drug is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and able to enter the brain especially quickly because of its high fat solubility; just 2 milligrams can kill a person, and emergency personnel who touch or breathe it may even be put in danger. Unfortunately, many people addicted to opioids as well as other drugs like cocaine are accidentally being poisoned by fentanyl-laced products. Although fentanyl is a medicine prescribed for post-surgical pain and palliative care, most of the fentanyl responsible for this surge of deaths is made illicitly in China and imported to the U.S. via...

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CDC: Fentanyl Sold as Cocaine Led to 12 Overdoses in 8 Hours

CDC: Fentanyl Sold as Cocaine Led to 12 Overdoses in 8 Hours

A hospital in New Haven, Connecticut treated 12 people who overdosed last June when they used fentanyl that had been sold as cocaine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Three of the people died. Fentanyl is an opioid that can be 50 times as strong as heroin, ABC News reports. Many fentanyl overdoses occur when the drug is sold as heroin, oxycodone or other opioids. A rapid response from public health officials and police may have saved lives, the CDC noted. Paramedics were equipped with additional naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote. Officials traced back the source of the drugs, issued a public service announcement and gave out naloxone to families and friends of people known to use opioids.

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Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse and Dependence Costs $78.5 Billion Annually & Misused by Almost 19 Million Americans

Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse and Dependence Costs $78.5 Billion Annually & Misused by Almost 19 Million Americans

A new study estimates prescription opioid overdose, abuse and dependence costs $78.5 billion annually in the United States. Researchers from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control said healthcare accounts for about one-third of costs attributable to the prescription opioid epidemic, Newswise reports. An additional one-fourth of costs are borne by the public sector, they wrote in the journal Medical Care. Those costs include public insurance (Medicaid, Medicare and veterans’ programs), as well as other government sources for addiction treatment. State and local governments also pay $7.7 billion annually in criminal justice costs related to the opioid epidemic. Almost 19 Million Americans Misused Prescription Drugs Last Year A new government survey finds 18.9 million people ages 12 and older—7.1 percent—misused prescription drugs such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives last year. The survey found 45 percent of Americans take one or more of these drugs, NPR reports. The widespread...

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U.S. Senator Proposes Banning 22 Synthetic Drugs After Rash of Overdoses in New York

U.S. Senator Proposes Banning 22 Synthetic Drugs After Rash of Overdoses in New York

Following reports of 130 suspected overdoses linked to synthetic drugs in New York last week, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer introduced a bill that would ban 22 synthetic drugs. While some synthetic cannibinoids are banned under federal law, people who make the drugs continually change the chemical compound to stay one step ahead of authorities, CNN reports. Schumer’s bill would outlaw variants of “K2” and “Spice,” as well as variants of the opioid fentanyl. “New York’s most recent K2 binge that left our ER’s bulging and streets strewn with stupefied users with zombie-like symptoms are a sign of what’s to come if Congress doesn’t act quickly,” Schumer said in a news release.

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