McConnell Touts Measure Aimed At Helping Ease Transition From Opioid Treatment Back Into Workforce
The proposal is part of an opioids legislative package that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says lawmakers are crafting. In other news: former Eli Lilly head Kurt Rasmussen is tapped to oversee the National Institute on Drug Abuse's unit that studies the efficacy and safety of devices and drugs used to treat substance use disorders; Kentucky struggles to handle the autopsies related to the crisis; a VA study offers clues on how hospitals can reduce prescriptions; and more.
The Associated Press:
McConnell: Senate Likely To Consider Anti-Opioid Package
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the U.S. Senate is working on crafting a comprehensive package to combat the nation's opioid addiction problems and ease the transition from treatment to the workforce. The Kentucky Republican attended discussions Monday in Louisville that included business representatives and executives on the front lines of treating people battling drug addiction. McConnell emerged to promote his recently introduced measure aimed at helping people make the successful journey from treatment to the workplace. (Schreiner, 4/30)
Former Lilly Researcher Will Lead Government Agency Studying Addiction Treatments
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has hired a former drug industry researcher to oversee research into therapeutics, it announced on Monday. Kurt Rasmussen, formerly the head of Eli Lilly’s (LLY) neuroscience division, will lead NIDA’s Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences, overseeing a unit that studies the efficacy and safety of devices and drugs used to treat substance use disorders. (Facher, 4/30)
The Associated Press:
Kentucky Seeks Relief As Autopsy Requests Surge
As the opioid epidemic rages across Appalachia, one grim consequence has played out in Kentucky's medical examiner's office: A staggering increase in autopsy requests. Autopsy requests for overdose deaths have jumped more than 26 percent since 2013. The increase has overwhelmed the State Medical Examiner's Office, which consists of nine doctors for the entire state. And it comes amid a national shortage of forensic pathologists. (Beam, 4/30)
How Should Hospitals Reduce Opioid Prescriptions? A Major New VA Study Offers Some Clues.
Which government hospital a veteran in chronic pain walks into greatly determines whether that veteran will walk out the door with a prescription for opioids, according to a new study that provides valuable insight for hospitals looking to reduce their prescriptions of addictive painkillers. ... Because the VA is a national health system, the hospitals might be assumed to have uniform prescribing patterns. But, when looking at the treatment of more than 1 million veterans with chronic pain, the study found wide disparities in how often the veterans were started on long-term opioid therapy, depending on the hospital. (Ingold, 4/30)
The Baltimore Sun:
Baltimore Hospitals To Play A Bigger Role In Opioid Epidemic Under City Initiative
Baltimore’s 11 hospitals have committed to a new city initiative aimed at increasing their role in fighting the opioid epidemic. Executives from each hospital joined Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Health Commissioner Dr. Leana S. Wen Monday in announcing the efforts to screen patients for addiction, connect them to rehabilitation services and distribute the overdose reversal drug naloxone, among other ways to better help people dealing with substance abuse. (McDaniels, 4/30)