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    The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that substance use disorders, comprising illicit drugs and alcohol use as well as smoking, cost the United States more than $740 billion per year. This includes the cost of crime, incarceration, lost productivity, and medical care. A recent study considered the economic consequences of heroin use specifically, finding […]

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    In response to the growing opioid epidemic in the United States there is an increased focus on expanding evidence-based treatment using medications prescribed for substance use disorder, especially medications that can be prescribed in outpatient settings including buprenorphine and naltrexone. The Surgeon General’s report on facing addiction in America describes substance use disorders as chronic […]

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    The opioid epidemic is a national problem, but solutions may be local. In Philadelphia, the Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic recently released a reportwith 18 recommendations for a “comprehensive and coordinated plan to reduce opioid use disorder and its associated morbidity and mortality.” The report focuses on Philadelphia, but draws on data […]

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    In a recent report, the CDC tracks drug overdose deaths in the US between 1999-2015.  The trends are not exactly what you might expect. Yes, given the recent press attention to the US opioid epidemic, the rates are predictable in that they are unacceptably high and increasing at a shocking rate. Age-adjusted drug overdose rates […]

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    In 2015, over 20,000 Americans died of an overdose related to prescription pain relievers; approximately 1 person every 26 minutes. A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights the correlation between emergency department prescribing practices and long-term prescription pain reliever use in Medicare patients. The research team from the Harvard T. […]

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    Evidence supports mandating registration To address the crisis of opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose, every state but Missouri has implemented a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) that collects data from retail pharmacies on all dispensed controlled substances. PDMPs can help prescribers identify patients who might misuse or divert controlled substances, as well as patients who […]

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