Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Opioid Abuse

The Obama administration is making it easier for doctors to use anti-addiction drugs in the fight against an exploding epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse.
It's part of a package of new initiatives that includes additional efforts to expand addiction treatment and increase coverage for mental health and substance abuse services.
Unintentional overdose deaths from opioids increased 14 percent from 2013 to 2014.  Every 19 minutes someone dies from an opioid overdose.  Opioids include heroin as well as prescription drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone.  Medication-assisted treatment with drugs like methadone and buprenorphine is a key component of this administration's attack on the opioid epidemic.  These drugs are used in conjunction with behavioral treatment to help manage an addict's recovery and ease withdrawal from opioid drugs.
Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policies reports: "Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid-use disorders has been a top priority for this administration.  Research shows that this approach, when combined with behavioral therapies, is more effective at sustaining recovery and preventing overdose."
There is concern that drugs like methadone or buprenorphine could lead to further addiction.  However, Caleb Banta-Green, a senior research scientist at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington insists: "Buprenorphine and methadone cuts mortality rates (of addicts) in half.”
Currently, physicians are limited by law to prescribing buprenorphine to just 100 patients per doctor.  The White House is increasing that cap to 200 patients per doctor.
There's a limited number of doctors around the country eligible to prescribe the drug.  States and private sector groups proposed doubling the number of buprenorphine prescribing physicians over the next three years.
Reportedly, 2,200 additional physicians have committed to complete training in buprenorphine prescribing.  The number of doctors is key in the fight against an epidemic that is hitting more in rural and suburban areas, where access to treatment is limited.
It’s also been announced an additional $11 million will go toward state efforts to expand medication-assisted treatment programs, as well as another $94 million in new funding for treatment services to 271 community health centers across the country.
Other initiatives include providing an additional $11 million to increase access to naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, and a $7 million initiative by the Department of Justice toward policing and investigating heroin distribution.


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