A looming recession threatens Americans’ already precarious mental health
Story at a glance When the economy takes a turn for the worse, deaths of despair — or overdoses, suicides, and substance abuse-related deaths — tend to rise. As the nation struggles to meet increased demand for mental health care resulting from the pandemic, a potential recession could exacerbate these challenges. But improving communication and…Now, as the nation already grapples with heightened inflation, the threat of a recession, and any lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States’ mental health care system finds itself understaffed and poorly positioned to meet any additional demand.
New research predicts a fourth wave of opioid-related deaths is likely to occur in the U.S.
It’s expected to be deadlier than ever before due to the increasing use of synthetic opioids with other illicit substances.
More than 1 million Americans have died from drug overdose in the U.S. over the past two decades.
More than 1 million Americans have died from drug overdoses in the U.S. over two decades, and researchers predict a looming fourth wave of opioid overdoses will be deadlier than ever.
Researchers from Northwestern University studied opioid-involved overdose deaths from the past 21 years, which included three separate waves involving opioid painkillers, heroin and illicit synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Congress must close Medicare gaps in access to non-drug pain management
As our population ages and the opioid crisis continues to ravage our communities, increasing access to high-value, non-pharmacologic options for managing pain and chronic disease must be a top priority for Congress. Current Medicare coverage does not reflect the current guidelines for treatment of pain, and a straight-forward first step is to improve coverage for…Bipartisan solutions have already been introduced, but with the midterm elections approaching, the window for Congress to address current limitations within the Medicare program through reconciliation is closing.
Their results showed the impending fourth wave is expected to hit all areas of the country from rural to urban cities. The spike in overdoses is the result of people combining synthetic and semisynthetic opioids with stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines — a lethal combination that’s hard to reverse during an overdose.
Near the end of 2020, overdose deaths in the U.S. were escalating faster in rural areas than urban ones. Researchers found that in a theorized fourth wave opioid-involved overdoses deaths converge for the first time across six types of rural and urban counties.
A separate study from earlier this year found that from 2016 to 2020, about 363,000 people died by overdose in the U.S., and 25 percent of those deaths occurred in 2020. A year later, a record 107,622 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. — the largest number ever recorded in a calendar year.
Teva reaches $4.25B deal to settle opioid lawsuits
The pharmaceutical company Teva has reached a $4.25 billion nationwide settlement, potentially resolving thousands of lawsuits over its role in the U.S. opioid crisis. The money will go primarily to state and local governments, pending agreement from all involved parties. The dollar amount also includes $1.2 billion worth of generic Narcan, a drug that can…The money will go primarily to state and local governments, pending agreement from all involved parties. The dollar amount also includes $1.2 billion worth of generic Narcan, a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, over the next 10 years, Teva confirmed in a report shared with The Hill.
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“We have the highest escalation rate for the first time in America, and this fourth wave will be worse than it’s ever been before,” Lori Post, lead author of the study, in a statement.
Video: Opioids are the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia since 2013 (WUSA-TV Washington, D.C.)
“It’s going to mean mass death.”
Post’s team examined geographic trends in fatal opioid overdoses by applying methods used to identify where COVID-19 outbreaks were occurring and applied them to opioid misuse. Their modeling indicates that all forms of opioids — pills, heroin, fentanyl and stimulants — are set to dramatically rise beyond 2020.
Opioid use in the U.S. has evolved significantly, with doctors overprescribing opioid painkillers in the beginning of the century, leading to mass addiction. By 2007, heroin use increased, and the drug caused more overdose deaths than prescription opioids by 2015.
We created scorching 'heat islands' in East Coast cities. Now they're becoming unlivable
The heat radiating from the concrete and pavement in these sunbaked neighborhoods is as invisible, and insidious, as the practices that created them.On a blazing summer day, she began gasping for air inside her Petersburg, Virginia, apartment, and was forced to call 911. If she’d been able to look out her window to see the ambulance pull up at Carriage House, an income-based complex for the elderly, she wouldn’t have been able to see a single tree. Just the other side of the sprawling brick building.
Around 2013 is when illicit fentanyl use began growing in the U.S. The illicit synthetic opioid is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Fentanyl was originally developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients and applied as a patch on the skin, but it was eventually diverted for abuse. Many people add fentanyl to heroin to increase its potency, and often heroin users purchase heroin not knowing it can be laced with fentanyl.
Mixing lethal drugs together can have deadly consequences, as researchers explained the combinations can evade help from overdose-reversing drugs like naloxone.
“It appears that those who have died from opioid overdoses had been playing pharmacist and trying to manage their own dosing,” Post said.
“This is a bigger problem because you have people misusing cocaine and methamphetamines along with an opioid, so you have to treat two things at once, and the fentanyl is horribly volatile.”
Post said there are steps that can be taken to prevent overdose deaths, like offering medication-assisted anti-addiction treatments to those who suffer from heroin and synthetic opioid addiction.
“The only path forward is to increase awareness to prevent opioid use disorders and to provide medication-assisted treatment that is culturally appropriate and non-stigmatizing in rural communities,” Post said.
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Enough Fentanyl to Kill Over 50,000 People Intercepted in U.S. .
"This is a dangerous opioid, and our officers were able to prevent this deadly drug from reaching its destination," the CBP Louisville port director said.According to a press release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the seizure occurred on Thursday, August 4, when CBP officers in Louisville, Kentucky, encountered a shipment arriving from India.