Changing Opioid Patterns: Misuse Of Prescriptions Holds Steady While Illicit Drug Abuse Rises Sharply
The results of Quest Diagnostics' analysis of nearly 4 million lab reports also had evidence of patients combining a prescribed medicine with one or more other drugs, including ones that are illicit. Other news on the epidemic includes insurers dropping coverage of OxyContin, schools stocking antidotes, and technology to fight opioid use.
Many Americans Still Misuse Prescription Drugs, But Abuse Patterns 'Changing'
Although more than half of Americans misuse prescription drugs, the percentage that did so has held steady for four consecutive years, according to a new analysis. Meanwhile, though, there has also been a surge in the use of illicit drugs and medicines obtained without a prescription among patients being treated for substance use disorders. The overall rate at which drugs were misused was 52 percent last year, according to an analysis of approximately 3.9 million laboratory test results that were stripped of identifying patient information. (Silverman, 9/12)
Kaiser Health News:
Insurers Are Starting To Deny Coverage Of Opioid OxyContin
The largest insurer in Tennessee has announced it will no longer cover prescriptions for what was once a blockbuster pain reliever. It's the latest insurance company to turn against OxyContin, whose maker, Purdue Pharma, faces dozens of lawsuits related to its high-pressure sales tactics around the country and contribution to the opioid crisis. Last fall, Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida both dropped coverage of the drug. (Farmer, 9/12)
The Associated Press:
Some Virginia Schools To Stock Opioid Overdose Antidote
A southwest Virginia school district plans to start stocking the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. The Roanoke Times reports Roanoke’s school board voted 6-0 this week in favor of providing the drug, often referred to by the brand name Narcan, in each school. (9/13)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
University Hospitals Wins State Money For Anti-Opioid Addiction Technology
Ohio - University Hospitals in Cleveland is one of a dozen recipients of a state grant to develop technology aimed at combating Ohio's opioid addiction epidemic, a state commission announced Wednesday. Eric Beck and a University Hospitals team received $200,000 to work on a real-time opioid surveillance and tracking tool. (Hancock, 9/12)