Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
President Trump, speaking Monday, called for a tough-on-crime federal approach. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, legislative strategies to combat this pressing public health problem are gaining momentum, but experts are not certain these approaches will make a difference.
A nationwide shortage of injectable opioid painkillers has left hospitals scrambling to find alternatives — in some cases leading to dosage mistakes that may harm patients.
Purdue Pharma, whose signature product helped fuel the opioid epidemic, now wants to help treat it — or at least salvage its own reputation.
An addiction-treatment physician fatally shot a troubled ex-Marine after the man pummeled him inside his California office, police records show. The tragedy illustrates how the limited number of clinics available to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that all but erases opioid withdrawal, can become crowded, chaotic and dangerous.
A new study followed patients with severe chronic pain for a year and found that opioids relieved pain and increased function no better than common drugs like acetaminophen and lidocaine. But the opioids carry the risk of more serious side effects, including addiction and death.
The Trump administration has talked about prioritizing the opioid crisis, but states have seen little in the way of new resources. And, in some states, getting into treatment is becoming even harder.
The collaboration known as ALTO, Alternatives to Opioids, set out to reduce opioid doses in the emergency room by 15 percent. It managed a 36 percent reduction instead.
Fentanyl, a significant cause of overdoses and deaths across the country, has begun showing up in California street drugs. State health officials have responded with a bold but controversial policy: paying for test strips so users can check their stash.
Andrey Ostrovsky, who until last month was chief medical officer for Medicaid, quit his job so he could more directly fight the stigma of drug addiction.
“We really do have a lot of responsibility and culpability,” says one hospital official who is part of a working group trying to address the opioid epidemic. Patients have to expect more pain after surgery and understand the risk of addiction, says another doctor.
Studies show promising results for a treatment approach that tackles chronic pain and addiction together, but obstacles stand in the way of this integrated care.
Fatalities are climbing in states that have been flooded by the deadly opioid fentanyl, but are remaining flat — or even falling — in many Western states, where the drug has not yet been as common as other parts of the country.
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Even though voters in Maine decided to expand Medicaid through a ballot measure, the law’s fate is still unclear. Gov. Paul LePage says the Legislature must find funds for it without raising taxes. Advocates say the law is on their side and expansion must be implemented.
Vietnam veterans’ wartime experiences — and their lasting psychological toll — can make it harder to treat their physical and emotional pain as they approach death.
Laws in California and most other states allow pharmacists to provide naloxone to patients or their friends without a doctor’s prescription. But many don’t do so, citing lack of demand and awareness among patients, their own fears of insufficient compensation and the challenges of treating opioid users.
Arizona is one of a few states that have declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. There’s no uniformity in what that means from state to state, though, and even within Arizona, there’s a wide divergence of opinion on how best to tackle the problem.
One Indiana addiction specialist doesn’t shy away from telemedicine, but he still requires in-person visits to begin and maintain his patients’ Suboxone prescriptions.
Doctors prescribed powerful opioids for a patient after back surgery but gave her little guidance on how to take them safely. Then, she says, they misdiagnosed her withdrawal symptoms. Some experts say this situation is akin to a hospital-acquired condition.
One Northern California physician is a foot soldier in the fight against a surge of hepatitis C, mainly among young drug users who share infected needles.