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 Settlement Signals Protections for Addiction Medicine

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Tennessee correctional officer will receive $160,000 in back pay and damages after he was forced to resign for taking Suboxone to treat his opioid use disorder, if a judge approves a landmark consent decree filed in federal court in Nashville on Wednesday. It is the first time the US … Read more

Chronic Pain Patients Swapping Opioids for Medical Cannabis

Almost one third of patients with chronic pain report using medical cannabis to manage that pain, with more than half of them decreasing use of other pain medications, including opioids, new research shows. “That patients report substituting cannabis for pain medicines so much really underscores the need for research on the benefits and risks of … Read more

Screen All Patients for Cannabis Use Before Surgery: Guideline

If you smoke, vape, or ingest cannabis, your anesthesiologist should know before you undergo a surgical procedure, according to new medical guidelines. All patients who undergo procedures that require regional or general anesthesia should be asked if, how often, and in what forms they use the drug, according to recommendations from the American Society of … 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

Endocarditis Tied to Drug Use on the Rise, Spiked During COVID

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Centre. A new study provides more evidence that endocarditis associated with drug use is a significant and growing health concern, and further demonstrates that this risk has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate of infective endocarditis among individuals in the … Read more

Black Women Have Lost Nearly 750,000 Years of Life to Overdoses

Black women lost an estimated 748,300 years of life to drug overdoses between 2015 and 2021, researchers have found. Overdoses are now the fourth-leading cause of death in this group, behind cancer, heart disease, and COVID-19, according to the study, which was published online December 14 in JAMA Psychiatry. “This study is an attempt to … Read more

Overdose Deaths up 81% in Pregnant, Postpartum Women

Drug overdose deaths in pregnant and postpartum women rose by about 81% from 2017 to 2020, researchers report in a JAMA research letter published online Dec. 6. Pregnancy-associated overdose deaths were highest in 2020 as the COVID pandemic began, according to the researchers, Emilie Bruzelius, MPH, and Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD, with the department … Read more

Higher Potency of Fentanyl Affects Addiction Treatment, Screening

As fentanyl-related overdose deaths continue to increase, clinicians should take note of the important differences that set the drug apart from the other drugs of misuse — and the troubling reality that fentanyl now contaminates most of them. “It would be fair to tell patients, if you’re buying any illegal drugs — pills, powder, liquid, … Read more

Pioneering Addiction Psychiatrist Mitchell Rosenthal Dead at 87

Dr. Mitchell Rosenthal Mitchell Rosenthal, MD, the founder and long-time president and CEO of Phoenix House, a nonprofit substance use disorder treatment organization, died on November 17 at the age of 87. The psychiatrist died at a Manhattan hospital from complications of pneumonia, The New York Times reports. Rosenthal was a dedicated advocate of ensuring … Read more