Even As Prescription Drug Overdose Death Rates Soar, States Fail To Take Simple Preventive Step
Stateline reports on how states could make it more difficult for doctors to prescribe one of the most dangerous narcotics. In other news, Illinois lawmakers are considering legislation to fight drug abuse and a new study details Americans' heavy alcohol use at a county level. Meanwhile, Alabama continues to address problems associated with a recreational drug known as Spice.
Most States List Deadly Methadone As A 'Preferred Drug'
As prescription drug overdose deaths soar nationwide, most states have failed to take a simple step that would make it harder for doctors to prescribe the deadliest of all narcotics. Methadone overdoses kill about 5,000 people every year, six times as many as in the late 1990s, when it was prescribed almost exclusively for use in hospitals and addiction clinics where it is tightly controlled. It is four times as likely to cause an overdose death as oxycodone, and more than twice as likely as morphine. In addition, experts say it is the most addictive of all opiates. (Vestal, 4/23)
Kaiser Health News:
Americans Are Drinking More Heavily, Especially Women
Whether quaffing artisanal cocktails at hipster bars or knocking back no-name beers on the couch, more Americans are drinking heavily – and engaging in episodes of binge-drinking, concludes a major study of alcohol use. Heavy drinking among Americans rose 17.2 percent between 2005 and 2012, largely due to rising rates among women, according to the study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health. (Feder Ostrov, 4/23)
Illinois Lawmakers Consider Bills To Fight Drug Abuse
What started with a Vicodin prescription to deal with a particularly difficult kidney stone spiraled into a painkiller addiction for Bartlett resident Nicholas Gore, one he said made him so desperate to score pills that he'd raid medicine cabinets at real estate open houses. Ultimately, he started using heroin. After five years in and out of rehab, jail time on drug charges and the loss of family, friends and what was once a promising hockey career, Gore says he's been sober for three years. (Hellmann, 4/23)
The Washington Post:
Inside Alabama’s Deadly Spice Craze
For the small southern city of Anniston, 2011 seemed like a summer of madness. First came the cicadas, woken from their 13-year-slumber by some ineffable urge. Then came the reports of a new drug in town. It was called Spice, and all the kids were trying it. Then came the suicides. (Miller, 4/24)