KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Drug, Heroin Abuse Epidemic Draw Presidential Attention In SOTU Address

President Barack Obama listed this issue among those that could gain bipartisan attention in the year ahead. Also, a Food and Drug Administration panel recommended approval for an implant designed to help people recover from these addictions.

The Associated Press: FDA Panel Favors Approval For Drug-Oozing Addiction Implant
Federal health advisers recommended approval Tuesday for an experimental implant designed to treat patients recovering from heroin and painkiller addiction. Despite shortcomings in company studies, a majority of Food and Drug Administration advisers said the implant offers important benefits not currently available. The drug-oozing device is intended to be a safer, more reliable approach to controlling cravings and withdrawal symptoms. (Perrone, 1/12)

In other news, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie an increase in reimbursement rates for mental health and drug treatment facilities while Stateline examines efforts by states to break the cycle of addiction among prison inmates —

The Associated Press: Christie Plans Drug Treatment Rate Increases, New Facility
Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday announced plans to turn a recently closed prison into a drug treatment facility for inmates and said the state will invest $100 million to raise reimbursement rates for drug and mental health facilities, something that providers have long sought to help address the state's opioid epidemic. Christie, who has made drug treatment a priority in New Jersey and as part of his Republican presidential campaign, used his State of the State address to unveil the changes. (Cornfield, 1/13)

Stateline: Helping Drug-Addicted Inmates Break The Cycle
A week before 22-year-old Joe White was slated for release from the Barnstable County Correctional Facility, 26 law enforcement officials and social workers huddled around a table to discuss his prospects on the outside. For substance abusers like White, they aren’t good. In the first two weeks after a drug user is released from jail, the risk of a fatal overdose is much higher than at any other time in his addiction. After months or years in confinement, theoretically without access to illicit drugs, an addict’s tolerance for drugs is low but his craving to get high can be as strong as ever. (Vestal, 1/13)

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