Treating Addiction as a Crime Doesn’t Work. What Oregon Is Doing Just Might.

The New York Times opinion piece shines a spotlight on the experiences of Morgan Godvin, Oregon state council member and proponent of drug possession decriminalization. Godvin’s experiences with opioid use disorder- including being barred from MAT within the criminal justice system- have motivated her advocacy for treating addiction as a medical condition instead of a crime. The article addresses the importance of destigmatizing addiction by amending policies that have served as harmful barriers to treatment, while also reflecting on the devastating impact of the War on Drugs.

Read the article here.

There is life after addiction. Most people recover

Amidst saddening reports concerning the public health crisis related to drugs, NPR‘s article shares the prominence of recovery among individuals experiencing substance use disorders. Dr. John Kelly, co-author on a peer-reviewed study from 2021, discusses the hopeful findings of his and colleagues’ research. The findings are further supported by a separate study published by the CDC and the NIH, which indicated that approximately 75% of individuals with SUDs recover. The article highlights the cultural perceptions about addiction that such findings help overcome, and follows personal accounts of recovery.

For more information, read the article here.
For more information about the study conducted, read here.

Overdose deaths hit a historic high in 2020. Frustrated experts say these strategies could save lives

The PBS article discusses patterns in U.S. policy regarding evidence-based substance use treatment access, including critiques on federal policy and funding that simply are not yet sufficient for the degree of interventions needed to reduce incidence of overdose. With references of the American Rescue Plan Act, and two additional initiatives from SAMHSA and the model legislation from the Office of National Drug Policy, the article rationalizes reasons why not enough is being done. Nonetheless, the authors highlight community and state efforts towards distributing life-saving tools, Naloxone and fentanyl testing strips, and improving the availability of safe syringe injection sites.

For more information, read the article here.

CDC: Nearly 92,000 Drug Overdose Deaths in 2020

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released a breakdown of statistics on Thursday, revealing trends in substance use and fatalities throughout 2020. The statistics account for rates of overdose-related deaths in men and women over the age of 15. The data breaks down the overall trends in use and mortalities across all racial and ethnic populations. Acting upon discussed policies and practices that expand access to treatment and harm reduction for all individuals remain vital, especially as barriers to care remain an obstacle for many.

To read the U.S. New’s article on the CDC’s findings, click here.

For more information, read the CDC’s article here.

Half of all drinkers risk exceeding legal driving limit by underestimating how drunk they are, study suggests

The Harm Reduction Journal has published a study by researchers from Witten-Herdecke University and the University of Cambridge on self-perceptions of one’s fitness to drive following alcohol consumption. The study’s findings have revealed just how impaired one’s judgement may be upon making the call to drive after drinking, underestimating impairment even upon considerations of the maximum legal BrAC. The magnitude of the consequences that accompany such decisions have severely impacted rates of alcohol-related traffic incidents and their death rates.

In consideration for the upcoming holidays and New Year celebrations, responsible drinking and planning for transportation are essential!

To read Science Daily’s summary of the article click here.

To read the full scientific article in the Harm Reduction Journal click here.

Pandemic Saw Big Declines in Kids’ Use of Drugs, Alcohol, Vaping

While adolescent (8th-12th grade) marijuana and tobacco use starkly increased in 2017-2019, studies have demonstrated an unprecedented reduction in adolescent tobacco, alcohol, and drug utilization as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. News article explores the pervading factors that have influenced the shift in statistics among certain age groups.

To read the full article, click here.

How to Handle It When a Loved One Relapses After Getting Sober

In Vice’s article, author Missy Wilkinson gets personal about her struggles with relapse and family relationships. She uses illustrations of her experience to pivot into a conversation on how to support a loved one struggling with unhealthy substance use, using the advice of addiction and mental health professionals to elaborate upon the complexities of substance use disorders.

To read the full article, click here.

Methadone Take-Home Program Extended Through 2022

The PsychiatryAdvisor article elaborated on the futures of two government programs that may help in reducing stigma and barriers to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders. While SAMHSA has decided to extend their methadone take-home flexibility program for another year, evidence of increased engagement in treatment and patient satisfaction has encouraged the discussion to make the program permanent. The second topic covered in the article addresses developments regarding the Build Back Better Act, which intends to “increase equitable access to comprehensive, high-quality addiction care”.

For more information, click here.

Veterans Data Show Surge in Stimulant-Involved Deaths

As cocaine- and methamphetamine- involved death rates increase, especially in lieu of the pandemic, recent studies have revealed a spike in overdoses among military veterans. Death rates among this demographic, due to stimulant use, have tripped in the last six years. The article, by FilterMag, confronts the statistics behind the study, published in the journal, Addiction. The article particularly emphasizes the need for harm reduction strategies geared towards the individual risk factors of different populations.

To read FilterMag‘s article click here.

DEA takes aggressive stance toward pharmacies trying to dispense addiction medicine

The NPR article is keenly addresses the Drug Enforcement Administration’s questionable stance on buprenorphine. The article explores the issue through Martin Njoku’s personal anecdote entailing his experience of the DEA’s raid on his local pharmacy in West Virginia, ultimately resulting in the revocation of his registration to dispense controlled substances. What’s devastating is that the article confronts the existing barriers for addiction treatment as government agencies implement roadblocks founded upon stigma and a lack of understanding for substance use disorders. These roadblocks are affecting pharmacy operations in regards to the dispensation of MAT, such as Suboxone.

To read NPR‘s article click here.