No Spike in Overdose Deaths From Relaxed Buprenorphine Regs

Measures enacted in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase access to buprenorphine did not lead to an increase in the proportion of overdose deaths involving the drug, new research suggests. Researchers say the data add weight to the argument for permanently adopting the pandemic-era prescribing regulations for buprenorphine, a treatment for opioid … Read more

US Ketamine Poisonings Up 81%

Ketamine poisonings in the United States increased 81% between 2019 and 2021, according to a new analysis of calls to poison control centers. Although the overall ketamine exposures were low, researchers say the findings add to a growing body of research that suggests recreational ketamine use may be on the rise. “Ketamine is by no … Read more

Letter About Patient’s Fatal Overdose Lowers Opioid Prescribing

In January 2017, during the height of the opioid crisis, nearly 400 clinicians in California received “Dear Doctor” letters from the San Diego County Medical Examiner notifying them that a patient to whom they had prescribed an opioid or other controlled substance had died from an overdose. Dr. Jason Doctor The goal of the letter … Read more

SUD History Tied to Increased Risk of Death From Other Illnesses

Patients hospitalized for substance use disorder (SUD) are significantly more likely to die from other medical conditions later in life, a new study suggests. Researchers looked at mortality following a diagnosis of 28 different medical conditions, including heart failure, cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and stroke, and found patients with a history of alcohol or drug … Read more

Doctors Less Open to New Patients With Opioid Use Disorder

Family physicians are almost three times less likely to offer a new patient appointment to a patient with opioid use disorder (OUD), compared with a patient with diabetes, new data from Ontario, Canada suggest. In a randomized clinical trial that included almost 400 family physicians, those with more than 20 years’ experience were almost 13 … Read more

Homelessness Overrepresented in Canadian Overdose Deaths

People experiencing homelessness were overrepresented among those who died of substance-related acute toxicity in Canada in 2016 and 2017, according to a new report. Among those who were homeless at the time of their death, at least 1 in 10 were released from a correctional or healthcare institution in the month before their death. In … Read more

Judge Rules in Favor of 3 Drug Distributors in Opioid Lawsuit

A federal judge ruled in favor of three major US drug distributors on Monday in a landmark opioid case, which accused the companies of causing a health crisis by distributing 81 million pills in 8 years in certain parts of West Virginia. Nearly a year after closing arguments, US District Judge David Faber gave the … Read more

Synthetic Opioid Use Up Almost 800% Nationwide

Synthetic opioid use increased by almost 800% over 7 years, new research shows The results of a national urine drug test (UDT) study come as the US is reporting a record-high number of drug overdose deaths — more than 80% of which involved fentanyl or other synthetic opioids and prompting a push for better surveillance … Read more

Docs Check Mail for Ways to Return — and Ruin — Extra Opioids

Mail carriers could play a key role in reducing opioid misuse, according to researchers and regulators. One strategy under consideration by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would require that opioid analgesics be dispensed with prepaid mail-back envelopes so patients can return leftover medication. Another approach — which is not part of the FDA … Read more

Nursing Board Discriminates Against Those Seeking Opioid Help: DOJ

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) says the Indiana State Nursing Board discriminates against nurses with opioid use disorder (OUD), according to findings of a recently released investigation. Specifically, the board “violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by prohibiting nurses who take medication to treat OUD from participating in the Indiana State Nursing Assistance … Read more