Health Crisis Alert https://healthcrisisalert.com Monitoring the U.S. response to public health edpidemics Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:00:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://healthcrisisalert.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/favicon-120x120.png Health Crisis Alert https://healthcrisisalert.com 32 32 South Carolina firefighters have saved 200 lives from opioid overdose https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22705-south-carolina-firefighters-have-saved-200-lives-from-opioid-overdose/ Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:30:15 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22705 As of Oct. 21, South Carolinian firefighters administered opioid overdose antidotes to 200 people this year. The firefighters administered nasal naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an overdose from heroin, prescription opioids, and fentanyl when administered in time. Fire departments can request training on how to administer naloxone from the Reducing Opioid Loss of […]

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As of Oct. 21, South Carolinian firefighters administered opioid overdose antidotes to 200 people this year.

The firefighters administered nasal naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an overdose from heroin, prescription opioids, and fentanyl when administered in time.

Fire departments can request training on how to administer naloxone from the Reducing Opioid Loss of Life (ROLL) program. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Bureau of Emergency Medical Services administers the program.

Since the program launched in 2017, more than 1,700 firefighters statewide have been trained.

“The expansion of ROLL this year couldn’t have come at a more important time, allowing more first responder fire departments to respond to significant increases in suspected overdoses since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Arnold Alier, DHEC’s Emergency Medical Services director, said. “As more departments have come on board in our state, often in rural areas or counties where EMS resources are already stretched thin, they have become key players in the fight to save lives in the opioid crisis.”

ROLL complements the Law Enforcement Officer Naloxone program that trains police officers on how to prevent opioid overdoses.

Since launching in 2015, the program has trained and equipped more than 10,000 police officers.

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New York providers receive $850,000 in funding for mobile treatment vehicles https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22702-new-york-providers-receive-850000-in-funding-for-mobile-treatment-vehicles/ Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:15:14 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22702 The federal State Opioid Response Grant awarded nearly $853,000 to five New York state providers to purchase and operate mobile treatment vehicles. Two types of mobile treatment vehicles are used in the state. Vans are modified to provide counseling services one-on-one or in a small group, telepractice capability, and fully mobile clinics to provide the […]

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The federal State Opioid Response Grant awarded nearly $853,000 to five New York state providers to purchase and operate mobile treatment vehicles.

Two types of mobile treatment vehicles are used in the state. Vans are modified to provide counseling services one-on-one or in a small group, telepractice capability, and fully mobile clinics to provide the full array of outpatient services.

Outreach Development Corp. in Long Island received $77,800, and Promesa in the Capital Region received $100,000. Three providers received $225,000 each: Bridge Back to Life Center in Mid-Hudson, St. Lawrence County Community Services in Central New York, and Promesa in New York City.

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) administered the funding.

“Meeting people where they are is more important than ever and this new funding to provide mobile treatment services will be invaluable in helping to expand access to life-saving resources for New Yorkers who are dealing with addiction,” OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said. “The opioid crisis coupled with the pandemic presented us with a significant opportunity to look for more ways to expand our reach to underserved communities and to help individuals who are unable to travel distances due to lack of transportation or other personal or geographical reasons.”

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New York Rep. Tonko announces $7.8M in grants to combat addiction https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22698-new-york-rep-tonko-announces-7-8m-in-grants-to-combat-addiction/ Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:00:48 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22698 U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) announced his state would receive more than $7.8 million in federal grant money to combat substance use disorder. The grant awards, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs, would go to Capital Region counties and court systems in New York to expand access to treatment […]

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U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) announced his state would receive more than $7.8 million in federal grant money to combat substance use disorder.

The grant awards, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs, would go to Capital Region counties and court systems in New York to expand access to treatment and recovery support services, as well as to drug court programs.

“Each year, we lose tens of thousands of Americans to the devastating disease of addiction,” Congressman Tonko said. “We have a duty to our family, friends, neighbors, and every individual suffering to act to ensure they have the support and care they need. I am proud to announce these deserving awards that will save lives and help restore hope to countless across our Capital Region and state. I will not stop fighting in Congress to improve access to vital treatment and make sure that every American struggling with substance use disorder has the resources to find and follow the path to recovery.”

The grants include $898,062 for Albany County to expand access to treatment and recover support services and $5,098,431 to the New York State Unified Court System to improve family drug courts, adult drug courts, and veterans’ treatment courts, as well as to enhance access to treatment and recovery services. An additional $1.895,595 was awarded to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for substance abuse treatment programs in state and local correctional facilities and community-based services to combat juvenile delinquency.

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Pandemic or not, NIDA’s HEALing Communities Study ramps up war on opioids https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22693-pandemic-or-not-nidas-healing-communities-study-ramps-up-war-on-opioids/ Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:26:40 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22693 Teleconferencing and regulatory adjustments are allowing a major four-state study on opioid-use disorder (OUD) treatments to continue despite the challenges posed by the stubborn SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic and its resulting restrictions on group activities. The HEALing Communities Study was unveiled in 2019 to test a one-stop strategy for treating patients who are trying to kick […]

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Teleconferencing and regulatory adjustments are allowing a major four-state study on opioid-use disorder (OUD) treatments to continue despite the challenges posed by the stubborn SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic and its resulting restrictions on group activities.

The HEALing Communities Study was unveiled in 2019 to test a one-stop strategy for treating patients who are trying to kick a crippling opioid habit by offering a comprehensive and coordinated regime of evidence-based practices (EBP) tailored to the profiles of the enrolled communities. The goal is to see if using a full range of EBP methods, including medications and counseling, can reduce the number of opioid deaths in the overall study area by 40 percent over a three-year period.

The timing of the HEALing Study is propitious thanks to the COVID-19 black swan, which sent the booming U.S. economy off the rails and unceremoniously shut down the offices of physicians and other healthcare providers that many OUD patients had relied on to stay clean. “COVID-19 continues to be an uncertain, ever-evolving reality, and its impacts are particularly being felt among those with addiction and those in recovery from substance use disorders,” Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA, wrote Sept. 14 in her official blog.

The HEALing Study is a $350 million project administered by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in a partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It will center on 67 communities scattered across New York, Ohio, Kentucky and Massachusetts and will be run out of Columbia University, Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, and Boston Medical Center.

The HEALing Study is the largest implementation study ever funded in the field of addiction research, and it covers a lot of ground involving determining the delivery and effectiveness of multiple EBP strategies in unique communities. Lead researchers in each state have their own priorities:

  • Kentucky: Highest number of annual opioid deaths in the nation. Increasing access to treatment services and uptake. Expanding distribution of naloxone.
  • Ohio: Ranked second in opioid deaths in 2017. Increase engagement with community leaders and state-level officials to improve treatment infrastructure.
  • New York: Opioid deaths nearly tripled between 2010 and 2017. Increase naloxone distribution and expand services linking OUD patients in emergency rooms and other “hot spot” communities to treatment services.
  • Massachusetts: Ranked among the top 10 states for opioid deaths. Increase access to medication among high-risk individual while in detox, jail, or a hospital.

“The study will track communities as they work to increase the number of individuals receiving medication-based treatment for OUD, increase treatment retention beyond six months, provide recovery support services, expand the distribution of naloxone, a medication to reverse opioid overdose, and reduce high-risk opioid prescribing,” NIDA said in a recent statement.

Around 1.6 million people in the United States were considered to be grappling with OUD in 2019, down from 2.1 million the previous year. However, only 18.1 percent of those were receiving medication treatment last year.

This year, the situation has reversed as job losses, school closures and difficulty accessing in-person treatment appeared to be leading to an increase in drug use.

The Addiction Policy Forum surveyed 1,027 people with OUD nationwide in late April and early May and found that around 20 percent reported that their substance abuse, or abuse by a family member, had increased since the pandemic took hold in March. Volkow wrote that “an analysis of a nationwide sample of 500,000 urine drug test results conducted by Millennium Health also showed steep increases following mid-March for cocaine (up 10 percent), heroin (up 13 percent), methamphetamine (up 20 percent) and non-prescribed fentanyl (up 32 percent).”

Volkow went on to note that timely changes to Medicaid and Medicare along with other government regulations were making it easier for substance-abuse patients to access treatment through teleconferencing and for prescribers to distribute methadone and buprenorphine in larger supplies or without an initial doctor visit.

The adjustments will help the HEALing Study not only generate data that is less influenced by the outlier COVID-19 and also help clinicians manage the real-life patients who are trying to kick their habits by trying multiple EBP ideas on individuals rather than relying on a single strategy. “Implementation research in addiction science has typically focused on designing strategies to implement a single evidence-based prevention or treatment practice into one or more settings,” Volkow and four of her NIDA colleagues said in a paper published in the October issue of “Drug and Alcohol Dependence.” “However, it was clear that isolated interventions would not yield a large-scale, EBP implementation approach capable of substantially reducing opioid overdose deaths in highly impacted communities, nor would they create a model for other large-scale substance abuse implementation studies.”

Volkow said in her blog last month that while hard data on the effect that COVID-19 was having on OUD susceptibility and outcomes, “we need to imagine and implement new ways of facilitating treatment delivery and needed recovery supports under these new circumstances.”

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Researchers find opioid use curbed by team at infectious diseases clinic https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22688-researchers-find-opioid-use-curbed-by-team-at-infectious-diseases-clinic/ Tue, 27 Oct 2020 12:30:52 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22688 Researchers at the University of Kentucky may have developed a multidisciplinary plan to treat those with opioid use disorder, a new study indicates. In 2018, the researchers treated 400 people who had developed endocarditis, a condition where germs enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart where they can damage heart valves. Researchers said 73 […]

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Researchers at the University of Kentucky may have developed a multidisciplinary plan to treat those with opioid use disorder, a new study indicates.

In 2018, the researchers treated 400 people who had developed endocarditis, a condition where germs enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart where they can damage heart valves. Researchers said 73 percent of the infections were associated with injection drug use. Study authors said they were looking for solutions that would also address the addiction.

Using a multi-disciplinary approach, the researchers could curb opioid use disorder in patients by providing the patients at infectious diseases clinics with mental health therapists, relapse prevention services, and medications.

“Our intervention is about linking patients with IV drug use associated infections to outpatient addiction treatment services,” Sarah R. Blevins, PharmD, a pharmacist and the lead on the study, who has also helped treat those with hepatitis C and HIV, said.

The paper was presented this week at IDWeek 2020.

Researchers also said the treatment approach could be a model for other states with large rural populations. In rural areas, access to transportation, poverty, and unemployment are some of the barriers to treatment opioid use disorder patients face. Additionally, limited access to treatment clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted treatment.

“All of this goes back to the addiction problem,” researcher Alice Thornton said. “We have to step back and see the whole person and the root of the problem.”

The research outlined how infectious disease providers can help patients who would otherwise be discharged without follow-up treatment for their addiction. The researchers said they would continue a longitudinal review of patient progress and outcomes, as well as a study to determine the patients’ perception of how the treatment impacted their quality of life.

“We have seen some really good success stories beyond just good health outcomes,” Blevins said. “When we hear about a former patient who has been able to reunite with their family or begin a new career, it’s rewarding.”

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Congress members request briefing on federal control of opioid supply https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22685-congress-members-request-briefing-on-federal-control-of-opioid-supply/ Tue, 27 Oct 2020 12:15:13 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22685 Several Congressional members recently sent a letter to Timothy Shea, acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator, requesting a briefing on the agency’s management of the nation’s supply of opioids. The DEA establishes an annual quota of controlled substances, including opioids, to ensure the supply of prescription medicines. A 2019 DEA report revealed the agency set […]

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Several Congressional members recently sent a letter to Timothy Shea, acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator, requesting a briefing on the agency’s management of the nation’s supply of opioids.

The DEA establishes an annual quota of controlled substances, including opioids, to ensure the supply of prescription medicines. A 2019 DEA report revealed the agency set quotas that were twice the number of sales from the previous year.

“According to (a figure of) the 2019 DTA, over 2016, 2017, and 2018 periods, the DEA approved a combined total quota of about 800 million grams of opioids, and drug companies manufactured about 560 million grams of drug and sold, through retail purchases, about 235 million grams,” the letter said. “This would indicate that during this three-year period, drug companies over-manufactured 325 million grams of drug and had about 235 million grams of finished product in inventory, more than they sold in any year. The DEA quota was 565 million grams over retail purchased and 475 million grams over manufactured product. In sum, although retail purchases declined, industry increased its manufacturing and inventory year-end levels.”

Signing the letter were Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Republican leader; Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Republican leader; Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Health Subcommittee Republican leader; and Morgan Griffith (R-VA).

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Two Illinois counties receive $1.6M to fight opioid abuse https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22681-two-illinois-counties-receive-1-6m-to-fight-opioid-abuse/ Tue, 27 Oct 2020 12:00:18 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22681 The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs recently awarded more than $1.5 million to two Northeastern Illinois counties to combat opioid and stimulant abuse. Kane County received $500,000 through the DOJ’s Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant Program. The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center received $1.1 million […]

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The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs recently awarded more than $1.5 million to two Northeastern Illinois counties to combat opioid and stimulant abuse.

Kane County received $500,000 through the DOJ’s Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant Program. The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center received $1.1 million through the DOJ’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program Grant.

“Too many Illinois families have been devastated by the opioid crisis that is ravaging communities across the country,” U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (R-IL) said. “To fight this public health crisis, strong federal support is necessary, and I’m pleased to see Kane and Lake County have been awarded resources to help support effective, evidence-based substance abuse treatment and prevention programs in our community.”

Underwood has supported several initiatives to fight the drug crisis since being elected to office in 2018. This includes supporting $3.6 billion investments in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for both fiscal years 2020 and 2021 and voting to increase funding for both the Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant Program and the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program in fiscal year 2021 appropriations.

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Manchin: Use Purdue settlement money to help opioid affected communities https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22676-manchin-use-purdue-settlement-money-to-help-opioid-affected-communities/ Mon, 26 Oct 2020 12:30:25 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22676 U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the money paid by Perdue Pharma to settle cases against it by the federal government should go to communities most affected by the opioid crisis. In a statement released after Perdue agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of defrauding the government and conspiring to violate federal anti-kickback legislation, […]

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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the money paid by Perdue Pharma to settle cases against it by the federal government should go to communities most affected by the opioid crisis.

In a statement released after Perdue agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of defrauding the government and conspiring to violate federal anti-kickback legislation, as well as to pay $8 billion in fines and penalties for the company’s role in the opioid epidemic, Manchin advocated forcing the company to pay the settlement instead of its executives.

“The opioid epidemic has ravaged West Virginia and much of America, claiming innocent lives and hurting our friends, family, and neighbors. Purdue Pharma produced and sold opioids, knowing they were highly addictive and harmful without caring about the consequences. They lied to the American people for a profit. There is no amount of money that can bring back the West Virginians whose lives were lost because of Purdue Pharma,” Manchin said. “However, we can ensure that the settlement is used to address the opioid epidemic in West Virginia and other states hit hard by this crisis. Purdue should be required to pay their settlements in full, and there should not be one dollar going to bonuses for their executives. These settlements will never heal the hearts of those who lost loved ones, but we can do everything possible to help those impacted by this terrible epidemic.”

Last month, Manchin and five other Senators urged Judge Robert D. Drain to reject Purdue’s proposal to provide its President and CEO Craig Landau with a bonus of up to $3.5 million, a notion opposed by Attorneys General from 24 states across the country as well.

According to Purdue’s own filings, the senators argued that Landau’s incentive package was similar to the plan Perdue implemented during its illegal and deceptive marketing campaign. That opioid campaign is thought to be part of the spark that exploded the opioid epidemic and has, thus far, taken nearly 400,000 lives while making nearly $35 billion in revenue for Purdue.

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CVS Health expands opioid misuse prevention programs https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22672-cvs-health-expands-opioid-misuse-prevention-programs/ Mon, 26 Oct 2020 12:20:02 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22672 CVS Health announced Thursday that they would be expanding their programs designed to prevent opioid misuse, a growing problem during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to reach young people, CVS Health has launched a suite of no-cost digital resources for educators. The digital campaign provides educators with prevention education program materials for use in […]

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CVS Health announced Thursday that they would be expanding their programs designed to prevent opioid misuse, a growing problem during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to reach young people, CVS Health has launched a suite of no-cost digital resources for educators. The digital campaign provides educators with prevention education program materials for use in either a classroom or virtual learning setting. The standards-based curriculum, called Dose of Knowledge, features Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, and U.S. Women’s National Soccer goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, as well as several CVS pharmacists.

“The pandemic has brought new complexities to the way in which prevention and treatment services are provided, but early intervention remains as important as ever,” said Troyen Brennan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. “Our work with Discovery Education accounts for the new definition of a ‘classroom’ and delivers the same impactful resources to students regardless of their circumstances.”

Additionally, the CVS Health Foundation, a private charitable organization created by CVS Health, has awarded nearly $3 million in grants for treatment services in local communities. The foundation provided more than $1 million to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to support addiction treatment and other patient services in 17 states, $1 million to America’s Essential Hospitals to support office-based addiction treatment, $500,000 to Easterseals in support of mental health and addiction recovery services for veterans and nearly $100,000 to Young People In Recovery for a digital life-skills curriculum to help recovering young people rebuild their lives.

Lastly, the pharmacy company will increase access to naloxone by offering free delivery of the opioid overdose reversal nasal spray in all 30 states where that is permitted. The company said that it would also participate in National Prescription Take Back Day on Oct. 24. By the end of the year, the company said it will have installed more than 2,900 medication disposal units in its stores.

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Opioid overdoses increase in Oregon https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22668-opioid-overdoses-increase-in-oregon/ Mon, 26 Oct 2020 12:10:52 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22668 Opioid overdose deaths in Oregon spiked nearly 70 percent during April and May compared to the same period last year. In addition, overdose deaths during the first quarter of the year increased by nearly 8 percent. The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division’s Injury and Violence Prevention Section analyzed data from the State Unintentional Drug […]

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Opioid overdose deaths in Oregon spiked nearly 70 percent during April and May compared to the same period last year.

In addition, overdose deaths during the first quarter of the year increased by nearly 8 percent.

The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division’s Injury and Violence Prevention Section analyzed data from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System. The data includes information from medical examiners and death certificates.

The analysts found total overdose deaths in March and April increased by more than 15 percent while increasing 28 percent between April and May. Of these, nearly 73 percent were from opioids.

In May, fentanyl accounted for nearly 40 percent of the opioid deaths, while methamphetamine/amphetamine accounted for more than 40 percent of all overdose deaths.

“Until more data become available, it is premature to say how much of the spike in overdose deaths is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Tom Jeanne, Public Health Division deputy state health officer and deputy state epidemiologist. “However, the realization that we will be dealing with COVID-19 for some time, and other stressors related to jobs, school, and social isolation, may increase feelings of anxiety and depression, and that can lead to a harmful level of alcohol or other drug use.”

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Legislation addresses mental health care in Pennsylvania https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22663-legislation-addresses-mental-health-care-in-pennsylvania/ Mon, 26 Oct 2020 12:00:22 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22663 Two bills addressing mental health care in Pennsylvania recently were sent to Gov. Tom Wolf to be signed into law. House Bill 1439 amends The Insurance Company Law of 1921 to assure that residents purchasing health insurance plans have coverage for addiction treatment. “People who try to access mental health and substance abuse issues face […]

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Two bills addressing mental health care in Pennsylvania recently were sent to Gov. Tom Wolf to be signed into law.

House Bill 1439 amends The Insurance Company Law of 1921 to assure that residents purchasing health insurance plans have coverage for addiction treatment.

“People who try to access mental health and substance abuse issues face many obstacles to access the coverage they already have,” Rep. Aaron Kaufer’s (R-Luzerne), who introduced the bill, said. “This legislation, when it is signed into law, will help streamline the assistance available to the most vulnerable. This is a major step to ensure that those struggling with mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse issues will receive the support they have already paid for and be able to access these programs.”

House Bill 1696 amends the insurance statues to require insurance companies to file an annual report with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance detailing how they offer mental health coverage at the same level as medical and surgical benefits.

The bill also requires insurance carriers that cover behavioral health to submit an annual report to the Department of Insurance. This is to ensure the carrier is compliant with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

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Psychiatry organization awarded $32M to fight opioids https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22660-psychiatry-organization-awarded-32m-to-fight-opioids/ Fri, 23 Oct 2020 12:30:50 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22660 The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently awarded the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) $32 million over two years to address opioid-use disorders and stimulant-use disorders. Funding will be used for the Opioid Response Network initiative, which has provided more than 3 million people with education and training to mitigate opioid […]

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently awarded the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) $32 million over two years to address opioid-use disorders and stimulant-use disorders.

Funding will be used for the Opioid Response Network initiative, which has provided more than 3 million people with education and training to mitigate opioid use since its founding in 2018.

Individuals, organizations, and governments can request education and training tailored specifically to meet their needs.

The initiative is a coalition of AAAP and 40 national professional organizations. The coalition is lead by the Columbia University Division on Substance Use Disorders and the Addiction Technology Transfer Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“Funding to address the opioid epidemic through localized, evidence-based approaches in the prevention, treatment, and recovery of opioid use disorders, stimulant use, and other substance use disorders is critical to real change,” Kathryn Cates-Wessel, Opioid Response Network principal investigator and AAAP CEO, said. “Opioid use disorder remains a serious public health concern and appears to have been exacerbated during the current COVID-19 crisis, which is believed to have caused increases in substance use, overdose, depression, anxiety, and suicide.”

SAMHSA requires the network to expand its resources to provide more educational services on stimulant use.

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Sen. Durbin urges FDA to follow its own rules on e-cigarettes https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22657-sen-durbin-urges-fda-to-follow-its-own-rules-on-e-cigarettes/ Fri, 23 Oct 2020 12:20:10 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22657 U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn urging the Food and Drug Administration to enforce its own regulations regarding e-cigarettes and youth. In January, the FDA committed to removing all new tobacco products that did not submit premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) by Sept. 9. The FDA stated […]

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U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn urging the Food and Drug Administration to enforce its own regulations regarding e-cigarettes and youth.

In January, the FDA committed to removing all new tobacco products that did not submit premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) by Sept. 9.

The FDA stated it would publicly make available a list of the new products on the market as of Aug. 8, 2016, and submitted a PMTA by the deadline. Any e-cigarette company wanting to keep or put a device or flavor product onto the market was required to submit an application.

Durbin said he was concerned more than a month had passed, yet the FDA had yet to publish its list.

“Thousands of the products that FDA will begin regulating have been on the market for years, including those responsible for fueling the current epidemic of youth e-cigarette use—which has resulted in nearly four million children vaping, including one in five high school students. Many of these products were illegally introduced to the market after August 8, 2016, without an FDA marketing order,” Durbin said. “For years, I have been troubled by FDA’s inadequate enforcement of this deeming rule requirement, stemming from the fact that the agency never maintained a list of which products were on the market by August 8, 2016.”

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Perdue Pharma pleads guilty to three federal charges, agrees to $8 billion in penalties https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22654-perdue-pharma-pleads-guilty-to-three-federal-charges-agrees-to-8-billion-in-penalties/ Fri, 23 Oct 2020 12:10:48 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22654 Perdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, pleaded guilty to three federal charges on Wednesday and agreed to $8 billion in penalties as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over the company’s role in the opioid epidemic. The settlement between the DOJ and Perdue resolves the government’s criminal and civil investigations […]

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Perdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, pleaded guilty to three federal charges on Wednesday and agreed to $8 billion in penalties as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over the company’s role in the opioid epidemic.

The settlement between the DOJ and Perdue resolves the government’s criminal and civil investigations into the company.

“The abuse and diversion of prescription opioids has contributed to a national tragedy of addiction and deaths, in addition to those caused by illicit street opioids,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “With criminal guilty pleas, a federal settlement of more than $8 billion, and the dissolution of a company and repurposing its assets entirely for the public’s benefit, the resolution in today’s announcement re-affirms that the Department of Justice will not relent in its multi-pronged efforts to combat the opioids crisis.”

Perdue will pay $3.544 billion in criminal fines and pay an additional $2 billion in forfeiture of past profits as part of the settlement. The company will also pay $2.8 billion to resolve the company’s civil liabilities.

Because the company filed for bankruptcy in Sept. 2019, the company will be dissolved and reformed as a Public Benefit Company (PBC). As a PBC, the company would continue to operate, however, the focus would be on benefiting the American people instead of maximizing profit. Proceeds from the sales of legitimate drugs would be forwarded to state and local abatement programs.

Additionally, the PBC will donate or provide steep discounts for overdose rescue drugs and medically assisted treatment medications to communities, the DOJ said.

The company pleaded guilty to one charge of dual-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

The federal government alleged that between May 2007 and March 2017, Perdue defrauded the U.S. government by misrepresenting to the DEA that the company had an effective anti-diversion program, when, in fact, the company continued to market its opioid products to more than 100 health care providers the company had good reason to believe were diverting opioids to patients for non-medical purposes.

Additionally, the DOJ said Perdue between June 2009 and March 2017, the company paid doctors through its doctor speaker program to induce them to write more prescriptions for opioid products, as well as making payments to Practice Fusion Inc., an electronic health records company, in exchange for referring, recommending and arranging for the ordering of Perdue’s extended release opioid products, both violations of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

“Today’s resolution is the result of years of hard work by the FBI and its partners to combat the opioid crisis in the U.S.,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “Purdue, through greed and violation of the law, prioritized money over the health and well-being of patients. The FBI remains committed to holding companies accountable for their illegal and inexcusable activity and to seeking justice, on behalf of the victims, for those who contributed to the opioid crisis.”

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Maine Attorney Gen. Frey releases drug death report https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22651-maine-attorney-gen-frey-releases-drug-death-report/ Fri, 23 Oct 2020 12:00:17 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22651 Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said a new report from his office and the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner shows that the opioid epidemic is a serious public health emergency, being made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, drug overdose deaths have continued to increase in the second quarter of […]

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Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said a new report from his office and the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner shows that the opioid epidemic is a serious public health emergency, being made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the report, drug overdose deaths have continued to increase in the second quarter of 2020, confirming preliminary analysis by Frey’s office and mirroring similar increases in other states.

“It is clear from the data that the increase in deaths from the opioid epidemic can be partially attributed to the increased isolation of living through the pandemic,” said Frey. “The data in this report confirms that the crisis has continued to intensify nationally. It is another reminder that our communities are stronger when we are connected with one another and pro-actively make efforts to help our neighbors. We have to ensure that Mainers who are struggling with substance use disorder are connected with the resources they need to protect them and help them advance in recovery. This increase in drug overdose deaths also reminds us that working with public health experts and community leaders to combat the pandemic is crucial in order to successfully protect the public from other major challenges. All Mainers are in this struggle together, and I will continue to work with legislators, Governor Mills, the executive branch, and leaders throughout the state to address this crisis.”

The report, compiled by Dr. Marcella Sorg of the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, found that there were 132 drug overdose deaths in the state in the second quarter of 2020, a 4 percent increase over the first quarter of 2020. In the first six months of 2020, the state had a total of 258 drug overdose deaths – a 27 percent increase over the last six months of 2019. The report found that 82 percent of the deaths were caused by at least one opioid, and 81 percent were caused by two or more drugs.

Sorg’s report said these increases are comparable to those being seen across the country and are partly attributed to the “isolation, avoidance of medical services, and alterations in the illicit drug supply” brought about by the pandemic.

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Pennsylvania expands law enforcement initiative https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22646-pennsylvania-expands-law-enforcement-initiative/ Thu, 22 Oct 2020 12:30:02 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22646 Pennsylvania recently expanded the PA Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative (LETI) to include Dauphin and Northumberland counties. The initiative assists residents suffering from substance use disorders to find treatment programs. Those seeking treatment can contact law enforcement about services without the threat of arrest. Law enforcement agencies in Dauphin and Northumberland counties will open police stations […]

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Pennsylvania recently expanded the PA Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative (LETI) to include Dauphin and Northumberland counties.

The initiative assists residents suffering from substance use disorders to find treatment programs. Those seeking treatment can contact law enforcement about services without the threat of arrest.

Law enforcement agencies in Dauphin and Northumberland counties will open police stations to those suffering from addiction, identify treatment for those who seek it, ensure people have transportation to treatment facilities, and maintain relationships with local treatment providers.

“As we continue to battle COVID-19, we can not forget the other public health emergency happening in our Commonwealth — the opioid epidemic,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “My office has not let our focus deter from this drug crisis that is killing 12 Pennsylvanians every day. Connecting individuals to the treatment they need will save lives and make our communities safer. We commend Dauphin and Northumberland counties’ district attorneys for adopting this county-wide policy in partnership with my office. It is important that the implementation of this program has the support of treatment programs in Dauphin County and Northumberland County.”

LETI is a collaboration between law enforcement and the state. Janene Holter, from the Office of Attorney General, coordinates the program.

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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day scheduled for Oct. 24 https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22642-national-prescription-drug-take-back-day-scheduled-for-oct-24/ Thu, 22 Oct 2020 12:15:26 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22642 This year’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will be held nationwide on Saturday. The event educates the public on the potential for abuse of medications and provides a method to conveniently and safely dispose of prescription drugs. “The initiative – now in its 10th year – addresses a vital public safety and public health […]

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This year’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will be held nationwide on Saturday.

The event educates the public on the potential for abuse of medications and provides a method to conveniently and safely dispose of prescription drugs.

“The initiative – now in its 10th year – addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” Timothy Shea, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) acting administrator, said. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Together with our partners, we are not only holding National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, but offering other ways to dispose of unwanted, unused, and expired prescription medications.”

The DEA and its partners will collect solid medication such as patches, capsules, tablets, and vape pens, and other e-cigarette devices that have had the batteries removed.

People dropping off medications remain anonymous, and there is no charge for the service.

Vape pens and e-cigarette devices with batteries, illegal drugs, syringes, and intravenous solutions will not be accepted.

The DEA also urges people to consult the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to dispose of drugs at home safely.

There are 11,000 DEA authorized collectors that will accept prescription drugs year-round.

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Representatives introduce legislation to protect the mentally ill from police violence https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22638-representatives-introduce-legislation-to-protect-the-mentally-ill-from-police-violence/ Thu, 22 Oct 2020 12:00:30 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22638 U.S. Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) introduced legislation on Tuesday that aims to reduce violence against individuals with mental illness and disabilities. The Mental Health Justice Act would support the creation of mental health first responder units to be deployed instead of law enforcement when […]

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U.S. Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) introduced legislation on Tuesday that aims to reduce violence against individuals with mental illness and disabilities.

The Mental Health Justice Act would support the creation of mental health first responder units to be deployed instead of law enforcement when someone calls for emergency help with an individual in the midst of a mental health crisis.

“Having a mental illness is not a crime, yet it is treated like one time and again,” Porter said. “It is crucial we connect those in crisis with appropriate resources so they can get the care they need. Too often, individuals with mental illness and intellectual and developmental disabilities are subject to unnecessary violence and are cycled in and out of our justice system when they’d be much better served by other community resources. This commonsense legislation would enable mental health providers to be first on the scene when 911 is called for a mental health emergency, making our communities safer for all.”

The legislation would create a grant program that would pay for hiring, training, salary, benefits, and other expenses for mental health provider first responder units. Grant recipients would also receive assistance from experts through the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, an estimated one in four fatal police encounters involve an individual with a severe mental illness. Individuals with severe mental illness face a 16 times greater chance of dying if approached or stopped by law enforcement. Those arrested often are charged with minor, nonviolent offenses, a practice that crowds the jail and prison system with individuals who would be better served by other community resources, advocates said.

“We must drastically change policing in America. Making our communities safer does not mean we treat everyone as a threat,” Congressman Cárdenas said. “The way we’ve criminalized mental health disorders and developmental disabilities has led to an increase in police-related violence and, in serious cases, death. This legislation will change emergency response protocols so that mental health providers are first on the scene of a mental health emergency. This will make our neighborhoods safer and build trust between police and the communities they serve.”

The bill is endorsed by several mental health advocacy organizations, including the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, National Disability Rights Network, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, Center for Public Representation, and the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, among others.

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Pennsylvania county receives grant to fight substance abuse https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22634-pennsylvania-county-receives-grant-to-fight-substance-abuse/ Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:30:09 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22634 The Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative recently awarded a $917,368 grant to Fayette County, Pa. Funding will be used for the county’s Recovery to Reemployment remote monitoring program. The program provides daily patient monitoring and support services to fight substance abuse. The grant will allow the […]

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The Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative recently awarded a $917,368 grant to Fayette County, Pa.

Funding will be used for the county’s Recovery to Reemployment remote monitoring program. The program provides daily patient monitoring and support services to fight substance abuse. The grant will allow the program to provide services to more than 400 residents.

“The ability to do consistent, 24-hour monitoring, coupled with immediate notification when issues arise, is so important to success with these treatment programs,” David Lohr, Fayette County commissioner, said. “We have also had issues with access to care and treatment because of the rural nature of our county, so increasing remote access is absolutely a “win-win!” Across the board, we are being pro-active in fighting addiction, and we’re making great strides. This is one more tool in our toolkit and an invaluable tool at that.”

The ARC POWER Initiative’s primary goal is to assist communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries resulting from changing economics in America’s energy production.

Since 2015, ARC has provided more than $238 million in funding to 293 projects in 353 Appalachian counties.

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Virginia Sens. Warner, Kaine announce $7.8M for state to combat substance use disorder https://healthcrisisalert.com/news/22630-virginia-sens-warner-kaine-announce-7-8m-for-state-to-combat-substance-use-disorder/ Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:15:07 +0000 https://healthcrisisalert.com/?p=22630 U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) announced their state had received more than $7.8 million in federal funding from the U.S. Dept. of Justice to support treatment for substance use disorder and drug court programs. The funding will go towards site-based treatment programs, juvenile and family drug court programs, adult drug court […]

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U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) announced their state had received more than $7.8 million in federal funding from the U.S. Dept. of Justice to support treatment for substance use disorder and drug court programs.

The funding will go towards site-based treatment programs, juvenile and family drug court programs, adult drug court programs, and prisoners’ treatment programs.

“We’re pleased to announce these federal funds to support treatment services and enhance public safety in local communities,” the senators said. “These programs are a critical part of our criminal justice system, as they focus on prevention and rehabilitation, giving those suffering from addiction a better chance at recovery.”

The majority of the funding, nearly $3 million, will be granted through the Bureau of Justice Assistance FY20 Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant Program, which provides financial and technical assistance for the operation of adult drug courts and veterans’ treatment courts by supporting efforts to reduce substance use by individuals in the criminal justice system. Grants of between $330,000 and $560,000 were awarded to Smyth, Page, Fluvanna, and Isle of Wight counties and the city of Alexandria and the Judiciary Courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

More than $2.6 million in grants was funded by the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Abuse Site-based Program authorized through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed in 2016. The Act provides financial and technical assistance to develop, implement, and expand efforts to identify, treat, and support those affected by opioid, stimulant, or other substance use. Augusta County received $600,000 in funding, while Arlington County received just under $900,000, and Chesterfield County received nearly $1.2 million.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provided $1. 5 million for drug courts in the state. The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program provided more than $722,000 to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

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