Opioids in the News

May 16, 2018


SLO County Law Enforcement Agencies Look to Provide Officers with Drug to Prevent Opioid Overdoses
New Times SLO - 05/10/2018
Pismo Beach is one of eight law enforcement agencies in SLO County either seriously considering or actively pursuing the ability to equip officers with naloxone, allowing them to treat opioid overdoses in the field instead of waiting for firefighters or emergency medical services.

‘The Narcan Lady’ Is on a One-Woman Mission to Distribute the Overdose-Reversal Drug
Voice of San Diego - 05/07/2018
Every week, Beth Herman of Encinitas gives about 75 drug users a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdoses. Herman runs a small nonprofit called All Peoples’ Encinitas Inc. She has a deal with a naloxone supplier, and since last summer she’s been buying the drug herself and setting up next to the region’s only clean syringe exchange program.


Along California’s ‘Rehab Riviera,’ Sober-Living Is Often Anything But
KQED - 05/14/2018
Some officials and former residents claim that many so-called sober living homes are more like party houses. While some homes provide valuable services, many of these operations are unlicensed private residences that are hard to regulate. Now some bills are making their way through the legislature to establish new rules and regulations for sober-living facilities.

Big Pharma Class Action Alleges Opioid Epidemic Caused Insurance Premiums to Rise
Northern California Record - 05/13/2018
A class action lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. district court in Northern California alleging pharmaceutical companies are directly responsible for the opioid epidemic that has, in turn, caused health insurance payments to increase.

Should Opioid Drugmakers, Distributors be Held Accountable for Nationwide Addiction Crisis
KPCC - 05/11/2018
Interview with LA city attorney Mike Feuer on the latest on the suit against the top six manufacturers and three wholesale distributors of prescription painkillers.

California’s Opioid Crisis
KQED - 05/11/2018
Laura Klivans, KQED health reporter, Dr. Scott Steiger, UCSF associate professor of medicine and psychiatry, and Brian Washington, Marin County counsel, discuss California's evolving approaches to combating the opioid crisis.

Drug Makers and Pharmacies Must Pay for Their Role in Opioid Addiction, Counties Argue
Sacramento Bee - 05/09/2018
Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and nine other northern California counties filed suit Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento against more than two dozen defendants including drug makers and national pharmacy chains.

Needle by Needle, a Heroin Crisis Grips California’s Rural North
The New York Times - 05/08/2018
In Humboldt County, the opioid death rate is five times higher than the state average, a problem exacerbated by lack of affordable housing and support programs for drug users. However new services and treatment programs are opening up, opioid prescribing rates are down, and there are many local leaders looking to support progress as discussed in this response in the California Health Care Foundation's blog: https://www.chcf.org/blog/in-humboldt-county-efforts-to-fight-opioid-epidemic-bring-progress/

California Lawmakers Move to Limit Opioids for Minors
Sacramento Bee - 05/07/2018
The CA Assembly voted unanimously to advance a bill to limit doctors from prescribing more than five days' worth of opioid drugs to minors. The bill now goes to the Senate.


Is the Crackdown on Opioids Failing Patients?
KPCC - 05/14/2018
Many chronic pain patients are middle-aged and older adults, who are among the highest users of prescription opioids. There’s not much evidence to suggest opioids are an effective treatment for chronic pain. Still, policies designed to curb abuse have left some feeling stranded.

Opioid Epidemic Leaving Grandparents to Raise Grandchildren
60 Minutes - 05/13/2018
Even communities once relatively unaffected by drug use are now seeing their population of children living with grandparents rise. This includes Utah, which has 21,000 children living with grandparents, a major increase since the start of the opioid epidemic.

We Really do Have a Solution to the Opioid Epidemic — and one State is Showing it Works
VOX - 05/10/2018
While awareness and availability of Buprenorphine and similar treatments vary across the country, many states have made its use central to combating the opioid crisis. Programs in states like Virginia have made Buprenorphine more widely accessible, including by boosting reimbursement rates to addiction treatment providers who accept Medicaid.

Children of the Opioid Epidemic
The New York Times - 05/09/2018
The varying approaches states and counties take to dealing with pregnant women with drug problems, have meant that sometimes a mother will be forced into a treatment facility, or be separated from their child, while other times they may be allowed to go through treatment and continue to raise their children at home.

For Babies Of The Opioid Crisis, Best Care May Be Mom's Recovery
NPR Shots - 05/08/2018
Research indicates that babies exposed to opioids in utero test normally for cognitive, motor, and other skills when their mothers had been in medically-assisted treatment during their pregnancy. Furthermore, some residential treatment programs now pair parenting classes with addiction treatment, to make sure that children exposed to opioids continue to progress.

Reporting on Opioids, Across the Rural-Urban Divide
The New York Times - 05/08/2018
Stories about the effects of drug use, such as in the Bronx and Northern California, are always much more complicated than they first appear. For example, Humboldt county's public health crises, such as homelessness, meth, and opioid use, had collided in such a way as to increase the collateral damage to the community as a whole.

Reversing An Overdose Isn't Complicated, But Getting The Antidote Can Be
NPR Shots - 05/07/2018
Normally a doctor or nurse would have to directly prescribe naloxone for a person at risk of overdosing. And while most states have passed laws allowing for third-parties (not healthcare workers of patients) to use naloxone if someone is overdosing, there are still big variations on the ability of individuals to obtain the drug, including cost and the restrictions a pharmacy must follow to dispense the drug.

How Can U.S. Fight the Opioid Crisis? Try Antidote Patents
Bloomberg - 05/03/2018
By overriding patents for naloxone treatments including Kaleo Inc.’s injectable Evzio and Adapt Pharma Inc.’s Narcan nasal spray, the government could lower the cost and increase the availability of the antidote, Baltimore’s health department and Public Citizen said in a letter to the White House on Thursday.


May 2, 2018


Drug Treatment Centers in Modesto Need Additional Services
Drug Addiction Now - 05.01.18
Government officials are in favor of expanding drug treatment centers that offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services for residents of Modesto and the rest of Stanislaus County.

Grand Jury Says More Should be Spent on Opioid Abuse Prevention
Ventura County Star - 05.01.18
Leaders of Ventura County’s drug and alcohol prevention program should consider spending more on opioid abuse prevention and less on drug treatment services, according to a Ventura County Grand Jury report.

Fresno Doctors Don't Want to Feed the Opioid Crisis. But is Tylenol Enough for Pain?
Fresno Bee - 04.30.2018
Doctors say hospitals have been receptive to reducing opioid medications for surgery patients, but the programs have not been without risk, patient satisfaction scores can be threatened. Still, many hospitals are improving the effectiveness of their non-opioid services rapidly, often successfully reducing pain as much as if they had used opioids.​

McGuire Requests Drug Screening Budget
Lake County Record-Bee - 04.26.2018
CA State Senator Mike McGuire is fighting to secure millions that would allow California to implement a successful enhanced drug screening program, which has been proven to help combat drug addiction in other states. The funding would focus on the screening of opioid and methamphetamine addiction when patients see their doctors.


Fentanyl Blamed for Apparent Overdoses That Killed California Prisoner, Sickened Others
KQED - 05.01.18
Fentanyl is suspected of killing an inmate and sickening 12 other prisoners at Mule Creek State Prison according to tests conducted by the state Attorney General's office. Drug overdoses are the fifth-leading cause of death inside the state prison system and the second-leading cause of non-chronic illnesses as reported by state corrections officials.

Facebook Live: Confronting Opioid Addiction
California Healthline - 04.26.2018
California Healthline columnist Emily Bazar and contributor Brian Rinker discussed the medications used to treat opioid addiction and the challenges of getting access to them.


Questions Raised About Study Of Device To Ease Opioid Withdrawal
NPR - 05.02.18
The Bridge, a medical device worn behind the ear, delivers electronic pulses to ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The Bridge has already received support from multiple state governments, but the lone study supporting the device skirted FDA rules and ethical norms. Despite this, the FDA has now approved for the Bridge to be marketed for opioid withdrawal.

Are Restrictions on Opioids a Threat to Human Rights?
The Washington Post - 04.30.2018
A new investigation by the New York-based nonprofit Human Rights Watch is seeking evidence that the CDC guidelines and other efforts to modulate opioid prescribing result in patients being cut off from vital medication, in violation of their right to appropriate health care.

In Rural Areas Hit Hard by Opioids, a New Source of Hope
Pew Charitable Trusts - 04.30.2018
Withdrawal management centers and treatment centers in rural areas, like The Harrington project in Delaware, are examples of the type of work the USDA wants to support more strongly. A provision in the US House version of the 2018 farm bill would allow the secretary of agriculture to declare a rural health emergency, allowing the agency to move more quickly than usual and requiring it to reserve money to address the problem.

Doctors Receive Opioid Training. Big Pharma Funds It. What Could Go Wrong
Mother Jones - 04.27.2018
Many of the mandated continuing education courses that inform doctors of the benefits and risks of opioids are funded by the conglomerates who manufacture opioids, as required by the FDA. Critics see these courses as insidious forms of pharmaceutical promotion and point to evidence that the trainings promote practices that the CDC found little or no evidence supporting.

Common Pain Relievers Beat Opioids for Dental Pain Relief
The New York Times - 04.25.2018
Over-the-counter pain pills are safer and more effective than prescription opioids for controlling the pain following dental procedures, a review of the evidence has found.

LEAs Get Creative in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse
K-12 Daily - 04.24.2018
In places like Snohomish County, WA, opioid prevention outreach expanding in many directions, but especially for high-risk communities. Many counties have gotten creative in educating youth through sporting and other events, and creating programs to educate teachers and school staff such as bus drivers.

America’s Fentanyl Problem Is Reaching a Whole New Group of Users
Mother Jones - 04.23.2018
Big rises in fentanyl caused overdoses in major cities across the US are prompting officials to issue warnings, especially for users of cocaine who may be unaware of the presence of fentanyl in their drug supply.

April 24, 2018


Pain Management Rarely Means Opioids for San Diego Jail Inmates
The San Diego Union-Tribune - 04/23/18
Opioid painkillers have been largely swapped out for Tylenol and ibuprofen as part of a program to stem the cycle of opioid addiction in San Diego County jails.

San Francisco's Newest Tool to Prevent Opioid Overdoses Tests Drugs, Starts Conversations
KQED - 04/18/18
At the 6th Street Harm Reduction Center in San Francisco staffers give out more than just syringes, including Narcan, a rescue drug that can reverse an opioid overdose and save a life, as well as easy-to-use test strips that can detect the presence of fentanyl in other drugs or substances.

Opioid Treatment Center Coming to Eureka? Yes, Please! (Opinion)
Eureka Times-Standard - 04/16/18
Even as opioid overdose rates continue to rise in Humboldt County, some citizens are concerned about a plan to open up a treatment center in Eureka. However, some of the most vocal critics of the plan have already changed their minds.

Study: Ventura County Prescriber Shortage Creates Opioid Treatment Barrier
Ventura County Star - 04/14/18
Data presented by the Urban Institute and the California Health Care Foundation claims a shortage of prescribing doctors and treatment programs creates a care gap across California and in Ventura County.

Opioid Coalition Comes Together to Fight the Crisis in Mendocino County
Ukiah Daily Journal - 04/06/18
A community group called the Safe RX Mendocino Opioid Safety Coalition is coming together to try and provide solutions to the opioid crisis. Most of their work brings together patients, law enforcement and physicians to foster education and safe practices in dealing with opioids.


Marin Health Officials Test New Way to Track Opioid Overdoses
San Francisco Chronicle - 04/21/18
Marin County is rolling out a six-month pilot project, backed by a $20,000 grant from the California Department of Public Health, designed to give public health officials access to the identifying information of people who were treated by emergency medical services for an opioid overdose in the previous week. Officials plan to use this information to help individuals access treatment or naloxone.

Ralphs Grocery Company Commits to Creating Safer Communities by Joining Effort to Combat Opioid Abuse
The Daily Meal - 04/19/18
Ralphs currently stocks naloxone in its 79 pharmacies in Southern California. All Ralphs Pharmacies dispense naloxone without the need for a prescription in order to make it easier for at-risk individuals to have the drug on hand if needed to save a life.

Safety Violations Compound Pain Of Painkiller Shortages
California Healthline - 04/13/18
Safety violations at a major compounding pharmacy are exacerbating hospital shortages of key painkillers, particularly in California where health officials have taken the “extraordinary” step of prohibiting sales from one of its plants.

California Lawmakers Advance Measures To Curb Opioid Crisis
Capital Public Radio - 04/10/18
California lawmakers advanced 10 opioid-related bills in an effort to address the drug abuse crisis in the state, including a proposal that would let California share prescription records with other states.


An Opioid Crisis Foretold
The New York Times - 04/21/18
The history of opioid addiction, which stretches back centuries, has either been forgotten or willfully ignored by many in the medical and political establishments.

She's Spent Years Keeping Her Mom Alive. Now a State Lawmaker, She's Fighting the Opioid Crisis
Los Angeles Times - 04/18/18
Colorado state Rep. Brittany Pettersen remains committed to her state's response to the opioid crisis after spending decades helping her mother fight her way out of addiction.

Senators Push HHS to Negotiate Lower Prices on Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug
The Hill - 04/18/18
A group of senators is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to take measures to reduce the price of a potentially life-saving medication reversing the effects of an opioid overdose.

Indian Tribes Fear Being Killed Off by Opioid Epidemic
The Washington Times - 04/16/18
Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin says that, beyond the community damage addiction has caused, another danger is the sheer size of the problem: Many children are being born to addicted parents and go through opioid withdrawal, and there aren’t enough local homes to take care of them, forcing them to be displaced from the tribe.

How France Cut Heroin Overdoses by 79 Percent in 4 Years
The Atlantic - 04/16/18
In 1995, France made it so any doctor could prescribe buprenorphine without any special licensing or training. With that policy change the majority of buprenorphine prescribers in France became primary-care doctors, rather than addiction specialists or psychiatrists, and soon about 10 times as many patients began to receive medication-assisted treatment.

Trump Builds on Obama Opioid Policy
ABC News - 04/16/18
President Trump is expanding funding for an Obama-era plan to expand medication-assisted therapy.

Why Doctors Don’t Use Alternatives to Opioids
The Washington Post - 04/12/18
Why do so few doctors recommend non-opioid pain treatments? Some reason that doctors do not get enough training on using pain medicines.

Surgeon General Urges More Americans To Carry Opioid Antidote
NPR - 04/05/18
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory that encouraged more people to routinely carry naloxone, NPR's Rachel Martin asked Surgeon General Adams about the advisory and the administration's broader plan for addressing the opioid epidemic.

There’s No Such Thing as an ‘Opioid-Addicted’ Newborn
The Washington Post - 04/03/18
News stories that describe any baby as “born addicted” not only misunderstand addiction but also foster hysteria that can have unintended negative consequences.


Americans Recognize the Growing Problem of Opioid Addiction
AP/NORC - 04/05/18
More Americans see opioid addiction as a significant issue for their community today than in 2016, yet most Americans are still wary of associating closely with someone who is addicted and forty-four percent say opioid addiction indicates a lack of willpower or discipline.

April 3, 2018


McGuire, Bass Host Second Opioid Town Hall
Eureka Times-Standard - 03/29/2018
Humboldt County Supervisor Virginia Bass and state Sen. Mike McGuire held their second opioid town hall meeting in Eureka to hear about progress being made to fight the local crisis.

County to Triple Spending on Opioid, Substance Abuse Disorders
NBC San Diego - 03/26/2018
A $179.6 million Substance Use Disorders treatment plan was unveiled by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to combat opioid and other substance abuse disorders.

San Diego DA Joins in on Opioid Dealer Crackdown
Fox 5 San Diego - 03/21/2018
The U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego has filed 53 criminal opioid cases after they enacted a 45-day surge in opioid-related enforcement.



Prescription Database Could Help Prevent Opioid Abuse, But State System Still Lags
Capitol Public Radio - 03/30/2018
California Department of Justice has acknowledged the new CURES system won’t be ready until this summer, and the mandate for doctors to check the database before prescribing opioids won’t take effect until six months after that, a timeline which critics say is disappointing.

California is Reshaping Addiction Treatment, One County at a Time
California Health Report - 03/27/2018
So far 10 California counties have launched pilot programs to massively expand coverage of comprehensive, long-term addiction treatment for low-income patients. Another 30 counties are expected to follow suit this year.



Opioid Abuse Isn't 'Victimless.' What About the Kids? (Opinion)
Bloomberg - 03/30/2018
When a parent with an open child welfare case is misusing opioids the negative effects of their use can make setting up safety plans or reunifying them with their children difficult. However, treatment programs and family drug courts have been shown to improve these outcomes.

Staying Alive: How To Fight an Opioid Addiction
California Healthline - 03/30/2018
Addiction specialists share what tactics, including having Naloxone on hand at all times, can keep a patient alive and progressing as they fight an opioid addiction.

Medicare Is Cracking Down on Opioids. Doctors Fear Pain Patients Will Suffer.
The New York Times - 03/27/2018
Medicare's proposal to refuse payments for high-dose prescriptions has caused blowback from patients and doctors alike who say the new requirements would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and could throw patients who lost access to the drugs into withdrawal or even provoke them to buy dangerous street drugs. (Also covered on KQED Forum on April 3.)

Graphic: Opioid Painkiller is Top Prescription in 10 States
California Healthline - 03/22/2018
In 10 states, the top prescriptions are mixtures of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, those drugs appear to be on the decline nationally, but are still strongly prescribed in the South. However, Geoffrey Joyce of USC warns that the data represented in the map could give a misleading picture of prescription drug patterns

The U.S. Has Two Opioid Epidemics: The Federal Response Should Consider Both.
The Commonwealth Fund - 03/22/2018
The authors argue that the highly visible prescription-drug epidemic, which originated in predominantly rural areas, is distinct from a second, more recently emerging epidemic, affecting younger adults who are victims of illegally produced opioids such as fentanyl. These epidemics are affecting distinct populations, but so far policymakers have done little to address each epidemic’s unique attributes. 

Feds Work With Drugmakers to Boost Research Into Non-Opioid Painkillers, Treatments
USA Today - 03/21/2018
Federal officials said they are pushing to get new non-opioid painkillers onto the market, and lawmakers in the House of Representatives are considering new proposals to address the opioid crisis, including one that would encourage research on new non-addictive pain medications.



Drug-Related Mortality Rates Are Not Randomly Distributed Across the US
Science Daily - 03/26/2018
Evidence from the first national study of county-level differences suggests that addressing economic and social conditions will be key to reversing the rising tide of drug deaths.

Yale study: Methadone Treatment in Prison Improves Inmates' Behavior, Likelihood of Staying Clean Post-Release
Yale School of Medicine - 01/23/2018
Inmates who were given methadone in jail were less likely to be disciplined for bad behavior and more apt to continue their treatment after release, according to a state-funded evaluation of data by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

March 20, 2018


California Hospitals Grapple With Shortage Of Powerful Opioid Painkillers
California Healthline - Mar. 20, 2018
Hospitals across California are facing a shortage of the opioids needed to treat patients facing acute pain, such as those undergoing surgery. “Just about every hospital in California is dealing with the shortage," says Dr. Shalini Shah, head of pain medicine at UC-Irvine Health.
Good News on Opioid Usage for a Change – it’s Down in California Workers’ Comp
Insurance Journal - Mar. 14, 2018
New research shows that opioids now account for less than a quarter of all workers’ comp prescriptions in the state, down from nearly a third a decade ago.
A Battered Doctor, a Slain Patient and a Family’s Quest for Answers
Kaiser Health News – Mar. 13, 2018
In California, demand for buprenorphine has grown and recent changes to Medi-Cal have made it easier and faster for low-income people to get the drug. However, some doctors are seeing far more patients than their offices can handle.
Tribal Lands To Get Funding Boost To Curb Opioid Crisis
Capitol Public Radio – Mar. 09, 2018
American Indian and Native Alaskan people die from unintentional drug poisoning at almost twice the rate of the overall population. A new state program focused on medically-assisted treatment for Native Americans in rural Northern California offers hope, with caveats.


Hundreds of Millions in State Opioid Cash Left Unspent
Politico – Mar. 19, 2018
Mixed signals from the Trump administration on how to use the money and challenges in ramping up efforts have left more than three-quarters of the $500 million Congress set aside untouched.
How Many Opioid Overdoses Are Suicides?
NPR - Mar. 15, 2018
The opioid epidemic is occurring at the same time suicides have hit a 30-year high. Physicians, researchers and public health officials are trying to understand how many of the overdoses, particularly among women, may be intentional.
Emergency Rooms Share Records to Catch Patients Who Bounce From One to Another
WBUR - Mar. 15, 2018
A new pilot program in Massachusetts will alert hospitals across the state to patients who are in and out of emergency rooms on a regular basis.
How America’s Prisons are Fueling the Opioid Epidemic
VOX – Mar. 13, 2018
Rhode Island's program to treat opioid addiction in prisons and jails is the only one in the nation that offers buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone.
Measuring the Toll of the Opioid Epidemic is Tougher Than it Seems
ProPublica – Mar. 13, 2018
A reporter from ProPublica takes a close and illuminating look at the different data sources that are being used to understand the nature and severity of the opioid crisis.
Opioid Protest at Met Museum Targets Donors Connected to OxyContin
The New York Times – Mar. 10, 2018
Anti-opioid activists unfurled banners and scattered pill bottles on Saturday inside the Sackler Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which is named for a family connected to the powerful painkilling drug OxyContin.
The Opioid Crisis Is Surging In Black, Urban Communities
NPR – Mar. 08, 2018
Blacks in urban areas have seen the sharpest rise in the drug death rate.
Questions and Answers About Opioids and Chronic Pain
NPR – Mar. 08, 2018
A recent JAMA study shows nonopioids to be as effective as opioids for treating pain. NPR asked listeners on Facebook and Twitter to share their questions about treating chronic pain. Responses here come from Dr. Ajay Wasan, vice chair for pain medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

March 7, 2018

 A weekly news summary thanks to our partners at i.e. communications.




Methadone May be Shedding its Stigma in Light of Nation's Opioid Epidemic

San Diego Union-Tribune – Mar. 4, 2018

In San Diego County, many publicly-funded drug treatment programs have not accepted methadone patients, but new Medi-Cal rules mean this will soon change. The change will be a cultural shift for many treatment programs, which have favored abstinence-based methods over medication.


9 Students Hospitalized in Possible Opioid Overdose During a Party in California

Business Insider – Mar. 02, 2018

Nine students from UC Santa Barbara suffered an apparent mass overdose of prescription opioids at a party and were taken to a local hospital.




Opioid Crisis Spurs Medicaid Funds Push

The Hill – Mar. 7, 2018

Lifting a decades-old rule that greatly restricts Medicaid from being used to fund care for opioid addiction could help thousands of people get treatment, but GOP lawmakers are concerned about new costs associated with lifting the rule.


One State Forces Opioid Abusers to Get Help. Will Others Follow?

Pew Charitable Trusts – Mar. 7, 2018

In Florida, police, health care professionals and families have a powerful legal tool known as the Marchman Act. Families and health care professionals can use the state law to “marchman,” or involuntarily commit people into substance abuse treatment when they are deemed a danger to themselves or others.


Finally, Proof: Opioids Are No Better Than Other Medications for Some Chronic Pain

VOX - Mar. 6, 2018

In a newly published JAMA study, researchers did a long-term comparison of chronic pain patients on prescription opioids to patients on non-opioid painkillers and found that the patients on opioids did no better than those taking the opioid alternatives.


Emergency Room Data Shows the Opioid Crisis Continues to Accelerate

The Washington Post - Mar. 6, 2018

New CDC data shows a nearly 30 percent increase in overdose emergency room visits from fall 2016 to the end of 2017. In 16 states that have suffered high rates of overdose deaths, the jump was even higher, at 34.5 percent.


Child Opioid Overdoses Have Nearly Doubled in 10 Years. Here's What You Can Do About It

Fortune – Mar. 05, 2018

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that the number of children admitted to hospitals in the U.S. because of opioid overdose nearly doubled between 2004 and 2015 to 1,504 patients. The authors offer advice on preventing child overdoses.


While Talk About Opioids Continues In DC, Addiction Treatment Is In Peril In States

California Healthline – Mar. 05, 2018

In Colorado, Oklahoma, and other states, budgets for addiction treatment services are in flux. Even with national efforts ramping up, state budgets are often reduced year to year. In Oklahoma, just 10 percent of the population in need of addiction treatment are able to obtain it.


Texas College Students Teach Each Other to Reverse Overdoses

Houston Chronicle – Mar. 04, 2018

With faculty support, students are organizing themselves to train other students to use Narcan.


White House Opioid Summit Ignores People of Color

Think Progress – Mar. 01, 2018

The lack of racial diversity is a continuing trend in the Trump administration. But it is especially important that public officials elevate Black and brown voices because of the country’s past regressive drug policies that have negatively impacted people of color.

February 27, 2018

 A weekly news summary thanks to our partners at i.e. communications.



Legislation to Combat Opioid Crisis

Fox 40 – Feb. 21, 2018

Assemblyman Evan Low and Assemblywoman Marie Waldron talk about the introduction of a new package of legislation to combat the opioid crisis. The bills would tighten prescription regulations, expand access to alternative treatments, increase prescriber training, and enhance the tools available to health professionals and law enforcement.


Siskiyou supervisors hear update from opioid safety coalition

The Siskiyou Daily News – Feb. 21, 2018

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from Maggie Shepard, facilitator for Siskiyou Against Rx Addiction (SARA) – an opioid safety coalition established in 2016. Shepard discussed the group’s activities and progress since it began.


Police officers take on a bigger role in the fight against opioid deaths

Sacramento Bee – Feb. 19, 2018

Sacramento County officials hope police will play a bigger role in combating opioid overdoses after receiving a grant from the California Department of Public Health last year. The grant supplies the county with 2,900 doses of naloxone. Those doses will be dispersed among eight law enforcement agencies in the county and two community groups that focus on drug use.


These strips detect a deadly drug. But users still shoot up

The Sacramento Bee – Feb. 16, 2018

Safer Alternatives through Networking and Education, a South Sacramento organization, has been handing out strips that detect the deadly drug Fentanyl to drug users since late last year. Still, for most drug users, the presence of fentanyl in their stash is not a deterrent to using, though it may help them prevent an overdose.




Is the Secret to Solving the Opioid Crisis More Opioids?

Pacific Standard – Feb. 26, 2018

Medication-assisted treatment in Rhode Island's prisons is preventing overdose deaths among the recently incarcerated. Since 2016, Rhode Island jails and prisons have offered medication to treat addiction to any inmate with an opioid abuse disorder. At the same time, a network of 12 community clinics were established around the state to continue providing MAT to inmates upon their release.


Opioid deaths mounting, lawmakers hit gas on new legislative push

The Hill – Feb. 25, 2018

Congress is moving to take a second crack at opioid legislation, including new bills from the House of Representatives. The House’s legislation will craft new policies, some of which are likely to need a slice of newly approved dollars from Congress' newly approved spending deal.


Let Cities Open Safe Injection Sites (Opinion)

The New York Times – Feb. 24, 2018

If lawmakers are serious about ending the opioid crisis, American cities and states should follow the lead of other countries where such sites have proved incredibly effective in slashing overdose deaths. At safe injection sites, trained staff provide clean needles, administer naloxone when there are overdoses and offer long-term treatment options.


These 10 ERs Sharply Reduced Opioid Use And Still Eased Pain

NPR - Feb. 23, 2018

Ten Colorado hospitals participated in a six-month pilot project designed to cut opioid use, the Colorado Opioid Safety Collaborative. Launched by the Colorado Hospital Association, it is billed as the first of its kind in the nation to include this number of hospitals in the effort.


The states taking the opioid epidemic seriously (and not), in one map

VOX - Feb. 22, 2018

Some states have made an effort to build serious infrastructure around opioid addiction treatments like Buprenorphine, while others have not. This map shows how states are doing in providing a key frontline treatment for opioid addiction, compared to the number of opioid overdose deaths.


Medicaid, Marijuana And Me: An Ex-Opioid Addict's Take On American Drug Denial

Forbes – Feb. 18, 2018

"I learned that our laws for protecting people from dangerous drugs seem to have far less to do with safety and efficacy than you would hope," says Janet Burns who is in recovery. Burns believes the US needs to do more a lot more talking about opioids, and other drugs, and look at some basic ways to prevent overdose and death.

February 15, 2018

A weekly news summary thanks to our partners at i.e. communications.


Bill calls for increased education about opioid addiction and overdose
The San Diego Union-Tribune – Feb. 13, 2018
Senate Bill 1109, introduced by state Sen. Patricia Bates, would require warning labels on opioid prescription bottles and require doctors and sports programs to provide more information to youths and their parents about the risk of addiction and overdose.

Opioid epidemic rages, but California drug database lags
The Sacramento Bee – Feb. 12, 2018
Under Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the CA Department of Justice has not yet certified a database designed to prevent doctors from overprescribing the drugs, angering consumer and law enforcement groups that say it hurts efforts to prevent opioid abuse. The current timeline means doctors will not have to check the database until at least January 2019.

Two federal prosecutors appointed to target opioid crisis in San Diego, Imperial counties
The San Diego Union-Tribune – Feb. 08, 2018
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego has named two prosecutors who will use criminal and civil law to help coordinate the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Opioid abuse in California has a new adversary
The Sacramento Bee – Feb. 06, 2018
Evan Low, the chairman of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, will hold a hearing to explore ways the state can leverage its status as the cradle of technology to take on the opioid addiction crisis. Low and his colleagues have offered a slate of proposals to address physician over-prescribing and other culprits.

SF safe injection sites expected to be first in nation, open around July 1
The San Francisco Chronicle – Feb. 05, 2018
San Francisco is on track to open its first two safe injection sites this July, a milestone that will likely make the city the first in the country to embrace the controversial model of allowing drug users to shoot up under supervision.


How a Police Chief, a Governor and a Sociologist Would Spend $100 Billion to Solve the Opioid Crisis
The New York Times - Feb. 14, 2018
30 experts were asked, "if there was $100 billion to spend over five years [to solve the opioid crisis], where would you put that money?" The consensus of the experts was that any effective strategy should include funding for four major areas: treatment, harm reduction, and both demand- and supply-focused solutions, but there was disagreement on how to divide up the money.

U.S. budget deal grants $1.5 billion for drug-affected babies, families
Reuters - Feb. 13, 2018
A U.S. budget deal adopted by Congress on Friday includes what advocates call a landmark compromise to provide an estimated $1.5 billion over 10 years to try to keep struggling families together, including those with babies born dependent on opioids.

Economic Toll Of Opioid Crisis In U.S. Exceeded $1 Trillion Since 2001
NPR - Feb. 13, 2018
The cost of the country’s opioid crisis is estimated to have exceeded $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017 and is projected to cost an additional $500 billion by 2020, according to an analysis released today by Altarum, a nonprofit health research institute.

 Drugmakers Spent Millions Promoting Opioids To Patient Groups, Senate Report Says
NPR - Feb. 13, 2018
Drugmakers gave millions of dollars to pain-treatment advocacy groups over a five-year period beginning in 2012, in effect promoting opioids to individuals most vulnerable to addiction, according to a new report released Monday by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.

OxyContin maker stops promoting opioids, cuts sales staff
CNBC – Feb. 11, 2018
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has announced that it has cut its sales force in half and will stop promoting opioids to physicians, following widespread criticism of the ways that drugmakers market addictive painkillers.

Naloxone, the medicine helping fight the opioid crisis, explained
VOX – Feb. 5, 2018
Recently, a woman overdosing on a plane was not able to be helped until the plane made an emergency landing in which the woman was quickly taken to an ambulance and given naloxone. Scenarios like this illustrate how naloxone access is still limited across the country by its prescription requirement.