Author: Pollen Williamson

Post Incarceration Fatal Overdoses Reduced by Providing MAT After Release

According to a study published in a JAMA Psychiatry research letter, the rate of post incarceration fatal overdoses was reduced by 61% (14.5% to 5.7%). This was accomplished through the implementation of a new model of screening and protocol-led treatment with MAT. Individuals arriving at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections were to be maintained on their respective medication regimen without tapering or discontinuing. Upon release, the individuals received assistance with transitions and referrals back into community treatment. This study examines the preliminary association of the program with overall overdose fatalities and deaths from overdose among those individuals who...

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NCMB’s Safe Opioid Prescribing Initiative: What the Data Shows So Far

In 2016, NCMB launched a first-of-its-kind initiative to increase its oversight of opioid prescribing known as the Safe Opioid Prescribing Initiative (SOPI). This program uses data provided by the NC Department of Health and Human Services* to identify prescribers for investigation by the Board. The primary goal is to reduce patient harm and deaths related to prescription opioids by proactively identifying and addressing potentially unsafe prescribing. Data, provided by the state Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, Drug Control Unit, and the NC Office of Chief Medical Examiner, shows that…. View Infographic...

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NIH Study Results Shows Steep Increases in Rates of Alcohol-Related ER Visits

The rate of alcohol-related visits to U.S. emergency departments (ED) increased by nearly 50 percent between 2006 and 2014, especially among females and drinkers who are middle-aged or older, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. The data also show that total annual costs of alcohol-related visits increased from $4.1 billion to $15.3 billion during this time. These findings highlight the growing burden of acute and chronic alcohol misuse on public health and underscore the opportunity for healthcare providers to conduct...

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Tightens Rules on Opioid Prescriptions

Last week, North Carolina Health News reported that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced changes to its opioid prescription policies, in part because the company said it still processes thousands of prescriptions each month that violate limits enacted by the state legislature in 2017. Blue Cross will limit first-time prescriptions of short-acting opioids to seven days. First-time prescriptions for long-acting opioids will require pre-authorization. And the company said it would start to cover Sublocade, an injectable form of buprenorphine used for the treatment of opioid addiction. The new policies will affect the company’s fully insured customers, about...

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Gabapentin and Opioids: A Potentially Deadly Combination

A recent article in Pain Medicine News highlights a Canadian study, published in PLoS Medicine, that reported patients taking prescription opioids and gabapentin concomitantly had a 49% greater risk for opioid-related death than those treated with opioids only. The researcher team used administrative databases to compare opioid users who died of an opioid-related cause with controls who were selected in a 4:1 ratio and matched on age, sex, year of index date, history of chronic kidney disease and a disease risk index (PLoS Med 2017;14:e1002396). The primary exposure was concomitant gabapentin use during the 120 days preceding the index...

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