Dayton, Ohio Used To Have One Of Highest Opioid Overdose Rates In U.S. This Year It Cut Deaths By 54 Percent.
Experts there point to multiple factors in the city's success at turning around their overdose rates. Those include Medicaid expansion, the dwindling presence on the streets of the powerful carfentanil, the availability of naloxone, and support for a treatment-based approach for those who are addicted. Meanwhile, nationally, private equity firms see the lucrative potential of addiction treatment centers.
The New York Times:
This City’s Overdose Deaths Have Plunged. Can Others Learn From It?
Overdose deaths in Montgomery County, anchored by Dayton, have plunged this year, after a stretch so bad that the coroner’s office kept running out of space and having to rent refrigerated trailers. The county had 548 overdose deaths by Nov. 30 last year; so far this year there have been 250, a 54 percent decline. Dayton, a hollowed-out manufacturing center at the juncture of two major interstates, had one of the highest opioid overdose death rates in the nation in 2017 and the worst in Ohio. Now, it may be at the leading edge of a waning phase of an epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States over the last decade, including nearly 50,000 last year. (Goodnough, 11/25)
Addiction Treatment Interests Investors, But Quality Questions Remain
In the midst of a nationwide epidemic of drug addiction, the U.S. has a big shortage of high-quality providers offering treatment to people with substance use disorders. So who's rushing in to fill the gap? Not many traditional health systems. It's private equity firms that see it as a way to build lucrative businesses they can sell for large profits a few years down the line, while providing an important public good. But critics say too often the companies they are building are not offering the most cost-effective services for the largest numbers of people. It's too easy to make money by repeatedly treating patients who relapse, without being held accountable for outcomes. (Meyer, 11/24)
In other news on the crisis —
The Washington Post:
Homeless People Are Synthetic Drugs’ Latest Victims. This Activist Has Had Enough.
Robin McKinney wasn’t wearing the right shirt. She also didn’t have all of her supplies. But the night was warm for mid-November, and that had gotten her worried. So she went anyway, pulling up to a Southeast Washington park hit hard by synthetic drugs, trying to make a difference on an issue she believes is usually met with indifference. The District had just seen another spike in K2 overdoses, this one smashing previous levels, with 1,054 overdoses in September alone. And McKinney, whose activism represents the latest chapter in the city’s ongoing struggle against the drug, wanted to get information to the people most in peril. (McCoy, 11/24)
Kaiser Health News:
Overshadowed By Opioids, Meth Is Back And Hospitalizations Surge
The number of people hospitalized because of amphetamine use is skyrocketing in the United States, but the resurgence of the drug largely has been overshadowed by the nation’s intense focus on opioids. Amphetamine-related hospitalizations jumped by about 245 percent from 2008 to 2015, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That dwarfs the rise in hospitalizations from other drugs, such as opioids, which were up by about 46 percent. The most significant increases were in Western states. (Gorman, 11/26)