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Drug News: December 31, 2015

DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT – USA
What the Legislature’s drug addiction bill is missing – Bangor Daily News

Republican and Democratic legislative leaders have come together to propose spending nearly $5 million over the next 18 months on a Bangor-area detox center, added treatment capacity, prevention and education efforts and 10 new drug enforcement agents. The bill, however, is heavy on changes that will take a long time to implement — hiring one new drug enforcement agent can take months, for example — when it also should include changes that could help struggling Mainers sooner.

DRUG TREATMENT – USA
Medication-assisted addiction treatment faces cost and payment concerns – Modern Health Care

Described by officials as a “public health crisis,” efforts to better address the problem have focused on medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, which use the drugs methadone and buprenorphine in conjunction with patient counseling. While insurers are required to cover addiction treatment as one of 10 essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, recent proposed rules looking to expand that coverage have been met with opposition by insurers, who have said that losing the right to select what therapies they cover would result in higher drug costs.

ALCOHOL / DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT – USA
Is it smart to be stingy about covering addiction treatment? – Modern Health Care

The conflict between health plans and providers over coverage of medication-assisted treatment for patients with opioid addiction highlights the ongoing tensions over government regulation of insurance benefit packages. And it raises questions about whether current benefit designs of private health plans are necessarily consistent with the broader public health goals.

DRUG ADDICTION REHAB – USA
3 steps to getting your drug-addicted teenager help – KSL

Once children become teenagers they begin figuring out who they are. That process involves a lot of experimentation, from trying out things as innocent as new music and different hairstyles to dangerous behavior such as experimenting with drugs.

ALCOHOL – INDIA
Of Love and Broken Lives: Alcohol Addiction in the State – The Northeast Today

If lack of love can turn a person into an alcoholic, then it’s only love which could bring an alcoholic back. “They are not bad people, they are good people. It’s the circumstances that have got them hooked to alcohol. But there is a way out and that depends on the attitudes the family members’ shows towards an alcoholic.

DRUG ADDICTION – USA
Drug overdose deaths hit record numbers in 2014 – CDC

Opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, hit record levels in 2014, with an alarming 14 percent increase in just one year, according to new data published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, those classified as natural or semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS – USA
New California Database to Help Doctors Spot Prescription Drug Abuse – KQED

California regulators have been preoccupied for years with doctor shoppers. “We had a single patient go to 116 prescribers over four years, and went to 58 pharmacies and got 45,000 dosage units of controlled substances worth at least $850,000 on the street,” said Virginia Herold, executive officer of the state Board of Pharmacy.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS / HEROIN – USA
Spiral of addiction: From prescription drugs to heroin – Outer Banks Voice

Five years ago, Amie and Jason Ballance of Wanchese were about to lose everything. A successful fisherman, Jason was bringing home more than $100,000 a year, but the couple was blowing through it — on prescription painkillers and eventually heroin. “No amount of money is ever enough,” Amie says of feeding a heroin addiction. “Once you are on it for long enough, you are no longer trying to get high. You are just trying to stay well enough not to be sick.”

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