KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Massachusetts Struggling To Cope With Opioid Crisis: ‘These Issues Are So Big And Overwhelming’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) surveyed more than 80 organizations that provide prevention, treatment, and recovery services for people with substance use disorders.

Boston Globe: Opioid Agencies Face Dilemmas
Addiction treatment agencies in Massachusetts are struggling to hire and train enough people to care for their patients. These providers also are having difficulty finding the ancillary services — such as housing and transportation — that patients need to sustain their recovery after leaving. (Freyer, 8/29)

In other news on the epidemic —

Georgia Health News: Latest Fake Painkillers Similar To Those In Fatal June Outbreak
The GBI has identified the pills in the recent Houston County overdoses as similar to the synthetic opioid found in the deadly June counterfeit painkiller cases. The pills that resulted in at least seven overdoses recently in Warner Robins contain cyclopropyl fentanyl, an analogue chemically similar to fentanyl, a powerful opiate, according to the GBI Crime Lab. (Miller, 8/28)

Tampa Bay Times: Latvala Asks Scott For $20M More To Fight Opioid Crisis
The budget chairman of the Florida Senate is calling on Gov. Rick Scott to allocate another $20 million from state reserves toward the ongoing opioid crisis. ... Opioids were the direct cause of death of 2,538 Floridians and contributed to an additional 1,358 deaths in 2015, the last year data is available. (Clark, 8/28)

Kaiser Health News: Mayo Pain Expert: Holistic Approach Helps Patients Ditch Opioids
Each year, more than 300 patients with chronic pain take part in a three-week program at the Pain Rehabilitation Center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Their complaints range widely, from specific problems such as intractable lower-back pain to systemic issues such as fibromyalgia. By the time patients enroll, many have tried just about everything to get their chronic pain under control. Half are taking opioids. In this 40-year-old program, that’s a deal breaker. Participants must agree to taper off pain medications during their time at Mayo. (Andrews, 8/29)

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