First-In-The-Nation Plan Would Taper Oregon’s Chronic Pain Patients’ Opioid Prescriptions Down To Zero
Officials say it's reducing the patients' exposure to harmful overprescribing practices, but critics warn that it will cause people to seek out opioids by any means necessary. In other news on the epidemic: the dangers of overdose for postpartum women who have been addicted to opioids; a look at grieving families on the frontlines of the crisis; how the issue could be a winning topic for Democrats; and more.
Oregon Medicaid Program Could Cut Off Chronic Pain Patients From Opioids
These days, [Laura] Dolph has another concern on her mind. State officials are considering a first-in-the-nation proposal that would end coverage of opioids for many chronic pain patients who, like her, are enrolled in Oregon’s Medicaid program. Over just 12 months, beginning in 2020, they would see their opioid doses tapered to zero. The state declined to provide an estimate of how many pain patients the policy could affect. But nearly 1 million Oregonians are enrolled in Medicaid. More than 10 percent of adults nationwide have experienced pain every day for the previous three months. (Facher, 8/15)
For Addicted Women, The Year After Childbirth Is The Deadliest
In a study published this month, co-authored by [Mishka] Terplan, researchers tracked more than 4,000 Massachusetts women with an opioid addiction for a year before and a year after delivery. The results confirmed for the first time what many practitioners had observed: Opioid overdose deaths decline during pregnancy and peak in the seven to 12 months postpartum. Since the study only included Massachusetts residents, lack of insurance following childbirth was not a contributing factor. Even so, postpartum gaps in opioid treatment, such as the discontinuation of addiction medications, may have contributed to some overdose deaths, according to the study. (Vestal, 8/14)
A Festering Opioid Crisis, Worn-Out Families And ‘So Much Pain To Process’
In “Dopesick,” journalist and author Beth Macy takes readers to the front lines of the opioid epidemic in Roanoke, Virginia, and other nearby communities, telling the story of grieving families, exhausted medical workers and convicted heroin dealers. (Brown, 8/14)
Democrats Seek Election Wins By Focusing On Opioid Epidemic
Vulnerable red state Democrats are highlighting their work to address the opioid crisis in an effort to hold on to their congressional seats, even as it remains unclear whether the Senate will take key action before the midterm elections. While the opioid epidemic is a priority for much of Congress, candidates in especially hard hit states, such as West Virginia, have made it a core issue in their re-election bids. (Raman, 8/14)
The New York Times:
Fentanyl Used To Execute Nebraska Inmate, In A First For U.S.
Prison officials in Nebraska used the powerful opioid fentanyl to help execute a convicted murderer on Tuesday, the first such use of the drug in the United States and the first execution in the state since voters overturned a death penalty ban in 2016. The use of fentanyl, an opioid at the heart of the nation’s overdose crisis, as part of a previously untested four-drug cocktail drew concern from death penalty experts who questioned how the execution unfolded. And here in Nebraska, a state that last killed a prisoner in 1997, the lethal injection represented a stark political turnabout from when legislators outlawed capital punishment three years ago. (Smith, 8/14)
San Jose Mercury News:
Report: Demi Lovato's Overdose Likely Caused By Fentanyl
Demi Lovato’s near-death overdose in July was likely caused by free-basing Oxycodone laced with fentanyl, the same high-powered opioid implicated in the deaths of Prince and Lil Peep, TMZ reported. The 25-year-old singer had been on a downward spiral for several months after admitting she had relapsed after six years of sobriety. On the morning of July 24, she returned to her Los Angeles home after being at a birthday party at a West Hollywood club on the Sunset Strip, TMZ reported. (Ross, 8/14)
Opioid Law Is A 'Blueprint' For The Nation, Gov. Baker Says At Ceremonial Signing
After launching his re-election campaign over the weekend, Gov. Charlie Baker drew attention Tuesday to legislation that aims to expand treatment for opioid addiction across the state. The law, which Baker signed last week, is one of the success stories to come out of the Legislature in the closing, harried days of formal sessions in July, when some initiatives, including health care and education funding reforms, fell apart. (Triunfo, 8/14)
Concord (N.H.) Monitor:
Public Gives Input On Federal Grant To Combat Opioids In N.H.
Patty Crooker of Nashua says there needs to be more education and better mobile services for people battling addiction. Corienne Dodge would like to see more sober housing in New Hampshire that would remain under the watchful eye of heightened government oversight. Cathy Thompson of UNH’s Northeast Passage program, which promotes recreation opportunities for individuals with disabilities, wants the state to support more therapy options for people in treatment and recovery. (Dawson, 8/14)