NIDA director outlines potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic

The precarious intersection of the COVID-19 national health emergency and the concurrent epidemic of drug overdose deaths is outlined in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Volkow discusses how the serious health risks of COVID-19 pose unique challenges to people who smoke or vape, are already struggling with substance use disorders (SUD), or are in recovery from addiction.
 
People recovering from addiction now face new challenges. Physical distancing measures, while critical to COVID-19 mitigation, eliminate the important element of social support needed for addiction recovery. Additionally, people with opioid use disorder may face barriers to obtaining medications (i.e., buprenorphine or methadone) or obtaining services from syringe services programs. Social distancing will also decrease the likelihood of observed overdoses; administration of naloxone to reverse overdose may be less likely, potentially resulting in more fatalities.

> Read the announcement

NIDA. (2020, April 2). NIDA Director outlines potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2020/04/nida-director-outlines-potential-risks-to-people-who-smoke-use-drugs-during-covid-19-pandemic on 2020, April 2

COVID-19 promotes life-saving policy change for opioid addiction

Facing the US pandemic COVID-19. USA, The US Administration of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. USA (SAMHSA) has announced new policy changes regarding home treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). Last week, the agency issued a directive to allow some patients in opioid treatment (OTP) programs to take their medications home, announcing that states may request "general exceptions" for all stable patients in an OTP to receive a 28-day supply of home-dose medications such as methadone and buprenorphine, for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). The agency also said states can now request up to 14 days of take-home medications for patients who are less stable but who, in OTP doctors' opinion, can safely handle this level of take-home medications. "SAMHSA recognizes the evolving problems surrounding COVID-19 and the emerging needs that OTPs continue to face," the agency writes.

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Source: NewsDio is a website intended to deliver news related to Business, Tech, Finance, and Sports networks, March 21, 2020
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration https://www.samhsa.gov/coronavirus

COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders

As people across the U.S. and the rest of the world contend with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the research community should be alert to the possibility that it could hit some populations with substance use disorders (SUDs) particularly hard. People with opioid use disorder (OUD) and methamphetamine use disorder may also be vulnerable due to those drugs’ effects on respiratory and pulmonary health. 

> Read the article.

Source: NIDA. (2020, March 12). COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/03/covid-19-potential-implications-individuals-substance-use-disorders on 2020, March 20

Findings from the 2019 Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey

Findings from the 2019 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey demonstrate the appeal of vaping to teens, as seen in the increased prevalence of marijuana use as well as nicotine vaping. Results from the annual MTF survey, a nationally representative sample of eighth, 10th and 12th graders in hundreds of U.S. schools, were announced today by the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, along with the University of Michigan scientist who leads the research team. "We are heartened to see the continuing decline in the use of many drugs, particularly non-medical use of prescription opioids; however, teens are clearly attracted to vaping products, which are often concentrated amounts of drugs disguised as electronic gadgets," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow.

Prescription Drugs:

  • Past year rates of misuse of the opioid pain reliever Oxycontin dropped significantly among 12th graders over the past five years, with only 1.7% reporting in 2019–the lowest level of use since it was first measured in 2002 (at 4.0%).
  • Past year rates of misuse of the opioid pain reliever Vicodin is now at 1.1% for both 12th graders and 10th graders. For 12th graders, it is a significant drop from 2018 and the lowest rate since it was first measured in 2002 (at 9.6%). These rates represent a significant five-year decline in these two grades.
  • Past year misuse of the ADHD medication Adderall saw a significant decline over the past five years among 10th and 12th graders–from 4.6% to 3.1% for 10th graders and from 6.8% to 3.9%, for 12th graders. However, there was a significant increase among eighth graders⸺now reported to be 2.5%, up from 1.3% in 2014.

NIDA. (2019, December 18). Vaping of marijuana on the rise among teens.

NIH launches HEAL Initiative

At the 2018 National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the launch of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. “Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids,” said Dr. Collins. “That is a four-fold increase since 2000, and the numbers continue to climb. Read more at NIH



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