Category Archives: Addiction

Friday Wrap-Up, May 19, 2017 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

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.

NOTE: See this notice in the newsletter about a “seed grant of $15,000 and ongoing technical assistance to create or expand support services to grandparents and other relatives raising children. Any not-for-profit organization can apply for the program, including aging service providers, county agencies, and health care providers. June 15 application due date.”

Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

“A Day in the Life of Older Adults: Substance Use Facts” – SAMHSA

This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report is important to read.

older adults drug use

“Illicit drug use generally declines as individuals move through young adulthood and into middle adulthood. Although the percentage of people with substance use disorder (SUD) reflects the decline in use as people age, more than 1 million individuals aged 65 or older (“older adults”) had an SUD in 2014, including 978,000 older adults with an alcohol use disorder and 161,000 with an illicit drug use disorder.

Research suggests that substance use is an emerging public health issue among the nation’s older adults. Illicit drug use among adults aged 50 or older is projected to increase from 2.2 percent to 3.1 percent between 2001 and 2020. For example, the number of older Americans with SUD is expected to rise from 2.8 million in 2002–2006 to 5.7 million by 2020. The emergence of SUD as a public health concern among older adults reflects, in part, the relatively higher drug use rates of the baby boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) compared with previous generations. Thus, there is a cohort of older adults who may experience the negative consequences of substance use, including physical and mental health issues, social and family problems, involvement with the criminal justice system, and death from drug overdose. Older adults are more likely than people in other age groups to have chronic health conditions and to take prescription medication, which may further complicate adverse effects of substance use.

Click here to continue reading this Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) Report.

“CDC spearheads a new effort to slash opioid abuse” – STATNews Morning Rounds

cdc opoid

“Determined to rein in the opioid epidemic, CDC director Dr. Anne Schuchat is introducing a new campaign to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse in America. The ads feature the stories of patients and families impacted by prescription drug overdoses. ‘A lot of times, [opioids] are prescribed without the patient asking or recognizing the harm,’ Schuchat tells STAT. Health officials are trying to encourage patients to talk to their doctors from the get-go when they’re prescribed opioids. ‘We want the public to be comfortable asking questions. And we don’t want it to be too late by the time that you’re hooked,’ Schuchat says. The videos will be initially be released in four states hit hard by prescription drug overdoses: West Virginia, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Ohio.

“The agency also updated its data this week on the rate of prescription drug overdose deaths in recent years. Take a look at the shift above —the darker the color, the higher the rate of prescription drug overdose deaths — and find the full data here.”

“How 30 opioid pills for surgery turn into a habit” – Futurity.org

opioids

“A small number of people—about 6 percent—who had not been taking opioids before an operation, but got them to ease post-surgery pain, are still taking painkillers three to six months later. That’s long after what is considered normal for surgical recovery.

“Smokers and those who had a history of alcohol or drug issues were about 30 percent more likely to keep filling prescriptions. People with arthritis were more than 50 percent more likely to do so.

“A new study suggests that certain factors make these “opioid-naïve” surgery patients more likely …  ”

Click here to continue reading this article at Futurity.org.

“Harvard to offer free online class on the opioid crisis” – STATnews: Morning Rounds

“Harvard is launching a free online course designed to educate people about the opioid epidemic in the US. Instructors will cover the medical basics, such as how opioids are used to treat pain and how pathways in the brain can play a part in addiction. They’ll also touch on the epidemic’s legal aspects — including how law enforcement and public health experts are combatting overdose deaths — and social aspects, such as what the path to recovery might look like, as told by recovering addicts themselves.

“The class gets underway March 27; you can find more info here.”

“Sharp Rise Reported in Older Americans’ Use of Multiple Psychotropic Drugs” – The New York Times

psychdrugs1“Tablets of the antidepressants Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. A new analysis, based on data from doctors’ office visits, suggests that inappropriate prescribing to older people is more common than previously thought.” Credit Jonathan Nourok/Getty Images – SOURCE: The New York Times

by Benedict Carey

“The number of retirement-age Americans taking at least three psychiatric drugs more than doubled between 2004 and 2013, even though almost half of them had no mental health diagnosis on record, researchers reported on Monday.

“The new analysis, based on data from doctors’ office visits, suggests that inappropriate prescribing to older people is more common than previously thought. Office visits are a close, if not exact, estimate of underlying patient numbers. The paper appears in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Geriatric medical organizations have long warned against overprescribing to older people, who are more susceptible to common side effects of psychotropic drugs, such as dizziness and confusion.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at The New York Times

newly released | The Surgeon General’s report on alcohol, drugs and health.

The first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health reviews what we know about substance misuse and how you can use that knowledge to address substance misuse and related consequences.

addiction-in-america

In 2015, over 27 million people in the United States reported current use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, and over 66 million people (nearly a quarter of the adult and adolescent population) reported bingei drinking in the past month.1 Alcohol and drug misuse and related disorders are major public health challenges that are taking an enormous toll on individuals, families, and society. Neighborhoods and communities as a whole are also suffering as a result of alcohol- and drug-related crime and violence, abuse and neglect of children, and the increased costs of health care associated with substance misuse. It is estimated that the yearly economic impact of substance misuse is $249 billion for alcohol misuse and $193 billion for illicit drug use.2,3

Despite the social and economic costs, this is a time of great opportunity. Ongoing health care and criminal justice reform efforts, as well as advances in clinical, research, and information technologies are creating new opportunities for increased access to effective prevention and treatment services. This Report reflects our commitment to leverage these opportunities to drive improvements in individual and public health related to substance misuse, use disorder, and related health consequences.

Most Americans know someone with a substance use disorder, and many know someone who has lost or nearly lost a family member as a consequence of substance misuse. Yet, at the same time, few other medical conditions are surrounded by as much shame and misunderstanding as substance use disorders. Historically, our society has treated addiction and misuse of alcohol and drugs as symptoms of moral weakness or as a willful rejection of societal norms, and these problems have been addressed primarily through the criminal justice system. Our health care system has not given the same level of attention to substance use disorders as it has to other health concerns that affect similar numbers of people. Substance use disorder treatment in the United States remains largely segregated from the rest of health care and serves only a fraction of those in need of treatment. Only about 10 percent of people with a substance use disorder receive any type of specialty treatment.1 Further, over 40 percent of people with a substance use disorder also have a mental health condition, yet fewer than half (48.0 percent) receive treatment for either disorder.1

Many factors contribute to this “treatment gap,” including the inability to access or afford care, fear of shame and discrimination, and lack of screening for substance misuse and substance use disorders in general health care settings. Further, about 40 percent of individuals who know they have an alcohol or drug problem are not ready to stop using, and many others simply feel they do not have a problem or a need for treatment1—which may partly be a consequence of the neurobiological changes that profoundly affect the judgment, motivation, and priorities of a person with a substance use disorder.