KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Addiction Hijacks The Brain, Creating Vicious Cycle Of Relapse For Those Trying To Recover

“We have to realize they are unable to maintain abstinence not for lack of desire but because their brain is damaged,” said Eric Nestler, a professor of neuroscience. Meanwhile, in the race to combat the raging opioid epidemic, some people are looking at possible security measures for the containers holding the pills.

Stat: How Drug Use Changes The Brain — And Makes Relapse All Too Common
The opioid epidemic ravaging the United States has brought new impetus to understanding how addiction hijacks the brain. More and more, scientists are shifting their focus to what’s going on in the brain after people like Mooney go off drugs. Their quest has unveiled a troubling picture: Repeated drug use leads to long-term changes to the brain. Some of those changes, new research suggests, might be hard to reverse and might even intensify right after withdrawal, explaining why it is so hard to stay off drugs. (Wesphal, 4/19)

Stat: Deterring Drug Abuse, Starting With The Vial
In a summit full of addiction experts, each looking for the next big solution to curb opioid abuse, everything from treatment policies to the containers holding prescription pills are being considered. Owners of several drug supply companies say prescription vials holding drugs have done little to slow the nation’s epidemic. With seven out of 10 people who abuse prescription opioids getting drugs from a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet, some medical entrepreneurs are pushing security measures from locks to iPhone alerts as a way to deter drug abuse. (Blau, 4/19)

And in the states —

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio's Heroin Epidemic To Be Addressed In Churches Across The State April 23
As an outgrowth of the parish's Greater Than Heroin outreach effort - which includes the www.greaterthanheroin.com website - a clearinghouse of community resources, advocacy and news related to heroin addiction - [Bob] Stec has asked more than 300 religious leaders [to] speak about the issue to their congregations on April 23. The Easter season, with its message of renewal, provides a perfect opportunity to speak on the growing epidemic of opioid addiction, Stec said. (Lisik, 4/18)

Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Expands Program To Help Kids Hurt By Parents' Drug Abuse
Adams, Brown, Lawrence and Scioto counties are to receive money to bring the pilot program — called Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma) — to their communities, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Tuesday. That makes 18 counties, all of them hard-hit by the state’s heroin and opioid-medication crisis, participating in the program. (Price, 4/18)

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