Category Archives: Addiction

“Pennsylvania sees significant rise in heroin overdoses among people 55 and older” – The Morning Call

older overdoses“More and more older Pennsylvanians are hospitalized for heroin overdoses, according to a state report released Wednesday.” (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

by Binghui Huang, Contact Reporter of The Morning Call

“A survey released Wednesday shows a troubling rise in the number of Pennsylvanians 55 and older being hospitalized for heroin overdoses, an increase that several public health officials linked to the deadly opioid epidemic sweeping the state.

“But, they cautioned, additional study needs to be done to explain why more older adults are resorting to heroin.

“According to the survey by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, the heroin overdose hospitalization rate among those 55 and older increased 36 percent from 2016 to 2017, the greatest increase of any age group.”

Click here to read this Morning Call article in its entirety.

October 01 – Suicide Prevention & Awareness Day at the Capitol

suicide day at the capitol

www.preventsuicide.org

“Child pornography may make a comeback after court ruling guts regulations protecting minors” – The Conversation

court ruling porn“The porn industry has long placed an emphasis on young girls. Reuters/Russell Boyce”

“A federal appeals court judge just made it a lot easier for the pornography industry to abuse and exploit children for profit.

“The Aug. 3 legal decision, which has received far less media attention that it deserves, represents the most significant blow to opponents of child porn in decades. We believe it could lead to a sharp increase in the number of underage performers being exploited due to the removal of legal oversight and penalties for uploading or distributing images that feature minors.

“We’ve been studying the business of porn for years, as scholars, advocates and experts in legal battles. In fact, we provided expert testimony in 2013 in a related court case and endured two hours of grilling from the judge and porn industry lawyers.

“The industry is now celebrating its landmark victory.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at The Conversation.

Friday Wrap-Up, August 10, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

The Secretary opens this week’s Wrap-Up with discussion about grandparents coping with children affected by the opioid crisis … their grandchildren.

She and the Governor the governor met with “several area grandparents who have, quite unexpectedly and very unceremoniously, found themselves parenting for the second time around as a direct result of the opioid epidemic. An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania, and that number is increasing across the commonwealth due to the opioid crisis.”

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

 

“Study links opioid deaths to workplace injuries” – The Boston Globe

opioids workplace“A construction worker atop scaffolding next to the Southeast Expressway.” – JONATHAN WIGGS\GLOBE STAFF

By Felice J. Freyer

“A Massachusetts study released Wednesday sheds light on an overlooked factor driving the opioid crisis: on-the-job injuries.

“The report found that construction workers, farmers, fishermen, and others employed in workplaces where injury is common die of opioid overdoses at rates five or six times greater than the average worker.

“Having little job security or sick pay — as is often the case in high-injury occupations — was also linked to higher rates of overdose deaths, according to the study by the state Department of Public Health.”

Read this article in its entirety at The Boston Globe.

“Is a suicide epidemic hiding under the drug overdose epidemic?”

As the US continues to grapple with a deadly opioid crisis, a growing number of experts are concerned that overdose deaths are masking a larger suicide crisis.

suicide

The background is this: Suicide rates in the US rose 30% between 2000 and 2016, according to estimates. But the real numbers are undoubtedly higher, partly because of the opioid epidemic.

According to a recent study, suicide by drug overdose is “profoundly underreported” in the US. On top of that, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder affect more than half of people with drug use disorders.

Here’s the thing: The official numbers say that less than 4% of the 44,000 fatal opioid overdoses in 2016 were suicides. However, experts say that data from teen deaths points to a much higher suicide rate — perhaps 13.5% of all opioid deaths. One addiction expert put it like this: “We should be very concerned that many overdoses are unrecognized suicide attempts.”

The reason this matters, as a mental health and suicide expert described, is that if people were more aware of the overlap, focusing on treating some drug users for depression would offer them a better chance of getting off drugs and not dying.

SOURCE: BuzzFeedNews

“Opiate addiction and the history of pain and race in the US” – The Conversation

painPain of the sick: ‘Anatomy of Expression,’ by Sir Charles Bell, 1806. Wellcome Collection

“‘I have had little or no sleep, owing to the tooth ache or rather stump ache,’Elizabeth Drinker wrote in her diary one night in 1796. ‘One of my Eye teeth very sore, my face much swelled and painful.’

“Drinker, a white woman from a prominent family in Philadelphia, filled her diary with comments like this. Disease was rampant in those days, and injuries often didn’t heal properly. Food was frequently spoiled, leading to painful stomach problems. Cavities and severe gum disease were common. These and other problems meant that pain – severe, intractable pain – was an ordinary part of daily life.

“Of course, many people suffered far more than Elizabeth Drinker. Slaves, in particular, were forced to perform long hours of grueling work, and their injuries and illnesses were often left untreated. They also suffered from brutal physical punishment.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The Conversation.

 

SAMHSA announces $930 million funding opportunity to combat the opioid crisis

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is now accepting applications for $930 million in State Opioid Response Grants. SAMHSA will distribute funds to states and territories in support of their ongoing efforts to provide prevention, treatment and recovery support services to individuals with opioid use disorder.

The State Opioid Response Grants aim to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to evidence-based medication-assisted treatment, reducing unmet treatment need and reducing opioid-related overdose deaths. “This large new grant program reflects President Trump’s deep commitment to fighting the opioid crisis, and will provide extra support for the hardest-hit states,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “It demonstrates the emphasis we place on expanding access to treatment that works, especially medication-assisted treatment with appropriate social supports.”

The grants will be awarded to the states and territories using a formula specified in the funding announcement. Fifteen percent of the total funds will be set aside to provide extra support to states that have been hardest hit by the crisis. States and territories will use the grants to design plans and conduct activities across the spectrum of prevention, treatment, and recovery.

These prevention, treatment, and recovery activities represent a comprehensive response to the opioid crisis and include action at the federal, state and local levels. “The State Opioid Response Grants were designed to meet the specific needs of communities within each state and territory,” explained Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz. “The grants will expand capacity to provide much needed evidence-based care to people who haven’t yet been reached.”

Under President Trump, in April 2017, HHS unveiled a new five-point Opioid Strategy. The Strategy prioritizes efforts in five areas: 1) Improving access to prevention, treatment and recovery support services, including medication-assisted treatment; 2) Promoting the targeted availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs; 3) Strengthening public health data reporting and collection; 4) Supporting cutting-edge research on addiction and pain and 5) Advancing the practice of pain management. Over fiscal years 2017 and 2018, HHS will invest over $4 billion in opioid-specific funding, including funds to state and local governments as well as tribal, public, and nonprofit organizations to support treatment and recovery services, target availability of overdose-reversing drugs, train first responders and more.

 

For more information on how to apply, see https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/ti-18-015.

New Center of Excellence drives change to improve diagnosis

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Creates the Center of Excellence for Improving Diagnosis

pa center for excellence

According to the National Academy of Medicine, most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, sometimes with fatal outcomes. The toll of diagnostic error in the United States is estimated at 40,000 to 80,000 deaths a year.

Through its Center of Excellence, the Authority will provide leadership, guidance, and support for health care facilities and systems, providers, patients, and all interested stakeholders to improve diagnosis throughout the Commonwealth.

The Center of Excellence will focus on the following key objectives while working toward its vision of accurate and timely diagnoses communicated to all patients:

  • Gathering, synthesizing, and sharing information to broaden awareness and knowledge about this complex topic
  • Building partnerships and creating new networks between organizations to accelerate and scale improvements
  • Facilitating the development and implementation of novel solutions and inspiring healthcare providers and patients to work together to strengthen the diagnostic process

For more information about the Center of Excellence for Improving Diagnosis, visit the Center’s website or email PSA-ImprovingDiagnosis@pa.gov.

 

 

Perspective| “Unseen face of the opioid epidemic: drug abuse among the elderly grows” – The Washington Post

older person

by Joe Davidson

“The face of the nation’s opioid epidemic increasingly is gray and wrinkled.

“But that face often is overlooked in a crisis that frequently focuses on the young.

“Consider this: While opioid abuse declined in younger groups between 2002 and 2014, even sharply among those 18 to 25 years old, the epidemic almost doubled among Americans over age 50, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.”

Read this Washington Post column in its entirety, click here.