Postsurgical Opioid Refills Risky for Entire Household

Postsurgical opioid refills are associated with an increased risk for opioid misuse among family members — and the more refills, the higher the risk, new research suggests. Further results showed that if a surgical patient became a chronic opioid user, the likelihood of a family member misusing these drugs increased 2.5 times. “Patients requiring ongoing … Read more

First US Sanctioned Safe Injection Sites Curb Overdose Risk

Overdose prevention centers (OPCs) decrease overdose risk and curb public use of illicit drugs, according to early data from the first two federally sanctioned centers in the United States — both in New York City (NYC). In 2020, 2062 people died of a drug overdose in NYC — the deadliest year on record for the … Read more

Antidepressants May Curb Opioid Overdose

Patients with a history of depression who are also being treated with opioid analgesics have a lower risk for overdose and self-harm after taking antidepressants, new research suggests. Investigators analyzed insurance claims for more than 200,000 adults with a history of depression. Of these, 8200 experienced adverse events (AEs) during the year after initiation of … 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

Prosecutors Must Prove Ill Intent in ‘Pill Mill’ Cases

In an unanimous decision, the US Supreme Court set aside the convictions of two physicians accused of violating the Controlled Substances Act (1970) and running “pill mills.” The cases were sent back to their respective jurisdictions to be reheard in order to consider whether the juries were properly instructed. If they were not, said the … Read more

Study Sees Surge in Use of Medical Cannabis

In 2020 nearly 3 million people in the United States sought out medical cannabis, in marijuana or other forms, more than four times the number who did so in 2016, a new study has found. Much of the increase involved people seeking medical cannabis for chronic pain, which remains the leading reason Americans say they … 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

Opioid Use in the Elderly a Dementia Risk Factor?

Opioid use in the elderly is associated with an almost 40% increased risk of dementia, in new findings that suggest exposure to these drugs may be another modifiable risk factor for dementia. “Clinicians and others may want to consider that opioid exposure in those aged 75-80 increases dementia risk, and to balance the potential benefits … Read more

Cannabis on Par With Opioids for Pain Relief, Study Suggests

Cannabis-based products may control chronic pain as effectively as opioids, but adverse effects are common, and long-term safety remains unknown, according to a new study. Several other systematic reviews have recently evaluated cannabinoids for treating chronic pain, but the new study’s methodology was “distinct” in “important ways,” leading to “conclusions that differ from other reviews,” … Read more