#Geographic, Temporal, and #Sociodemographic #Differences in #Opioid #Poisoning (Am J Prev Med., abstract)

[Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Geographic, Temporal, and Sociodemographic Differences in Opioid Poisoning

Elinor R. Schoenfeld, PhD1,2, George S. Leibowitz, PhD, LICSW3, Yu Wang, BE4, Xin Chen, PhD4, Wei Hou, PhD1, Sina Rashidian, BS4, Mary M. Saltz, MD2,5, Joel H. Saltz, MD, PhD2, Fusheng Wang, PhD2,4

Open Access / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2019.03.020




Not enough is known about the epidemiology of opioid poisoning to tailor interventions to help address the growing opioid crisis in the U.S. The objective of this study is to expand the current understanding of opioid poisoning through the use of data analytics to evaluate geographic, temporal, and sociodemographic differences of opioid poisoning– related hospital visits in a region of New York State with high opioid poisoning rates.


This retrospective cohort study utilized patient-level New York State all-payer hospital data (2010–2016) combined with Census data to evaluate geographic, patient, and community factors for 9,714 Long Island residents with an opioid poisoning–related inpatient or outpatient hospital facility discharge. Temporal, 7-year opioid poisoning rates and trends were evaluated, and geographic maps were generated. Overall, significance tests and tests for linear trend were based upon logistic regression. Analyses were completed between 2017 and 2018.


Since 2010, Long Island and New York State opioid poisoning hospital visit rates have increased 2.5- to 2.7-fold (p<0.001). Opioid poisoning hospital visit rates decreased for men, white patients, and self-payers (p<0.001) and increased for Medicare payers (p<0.001). Communities with high opioid poisoning rates had lower median home values, higher percentages of high school graduates, were younger, and more often white patients (p<0.01). Maps displayed geographic patterns of communities with high opioid poisoning rates overall and by age group.


Findings highlight the changing demographics of the opioid poisoning epidemic and utility of data analytics tools to identify regions and patient populations to focus interventions. These population identification techniques can be applied in other communities and interventions.

Keywords: Opioids; Illicit drugs; Society; USA.



Association between #medical #cannabis #laws and #opioid #overdose #mortality has reversed over time (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Association between medical cannabis laws and opioid overdose mortality has reversed over time

Chelsea L. Shover, Corey S. Davis, Sanford C. Gordon, and Keith Humphreys

PNAS first published June 10, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1903434116

Edited by Kenneth W. Wachter, University of California, Berkeley, CA, and approved May 16, 2019 (received for review February 27, 2019)



Medical cannabis has been touted as a solution to the US opioid overdose crisis since Bachhuber et al. [M. A. Bachhuber, B. Saloner, C. O. Cunningham, C. L. Barry, JAMA Intern. Med. 174, 1668–1673] found that from 1999 to 2010 states with medical cannabis laws experienced slower increases in opioid analgesic overdose mortality. That research received substantial attention in the scientific literature and popular press and served as a talking point for the cannabis industry and its advocates, despite caveats from the authors and others to exercise caution when using ecological correlations to draw causal, individual-level conclusions. In this study, we used the same methods to extend Bachhuber et al.’s analysis through 2017. Not only did findings from the original analysis not hold over the longer period, but the association between state medical cannabis laws and opioid overdose mortality reversed direction from −21% to +23% and remained positive after accounting for recreational cannabis laws. We also uncovered no evidence that either broader (recreational) or more restrictive (low-tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabis laws were associated with changes in opioid overdose mortality. We find it unlikely that medical cannabis—used by about 2.5% of the US population—has exerted large conflicting effects on opioid overdose mortality. A more plausible interpretation is that this association is spurious. Moreover, if such relationships do exist, they cannot be rigorously discerned with aggregate data. Research into therapeutic potential of cannabis should continue, but the claim that enacting medical cannabis laws will reduce opioid overdose death should be met with skepticism.

medical cannabis – opioid overdose – public policy

Keywords: Illicit drugs; Society; USA; Opioids; Cannabis.


#Opioid–galanin #receptor heteromers differentiate the #dopaminergic effects of #morphine and #methadone (J Clin Invest., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Opioid–galanin receptor heteromers differentiate the dopaminergic effects of morphine and methadone

Randal A. Serafini and Venetia Zachariou

First published May 28, 2019



As the opioid addiction crisis reaches epidemic levels, the identification of opioid analgesics that lack abuse potential may provide a path to safer treatment of chronic pain. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that galanin affects physical dependence and rewarding actions associated with morphine. In the brain and periphery, galanin and opioids signal through their respective GPCRs, GalR1–3 and the μ-opioid receptor (MOR). In this issue of the JCI, Cai and collaborators reveal that heteromers between GalR1 and MOR in the rat ventral tegmental area attenuate the potency of methadone, but not other opioids, in stimulating the dopamine release that produces euphoria. These studies help us understand why some synthetic opioids, such as methadone, do not trigger the release of dopamine in the mesolimbic system but still possess strong analgesic properties.

Keywords: Opioids; Dopamine; Neurology; Psychiatry.


Changing #Trends in #Opioid #Overdose #Deaths and #Prescription Opioid Receipt Among #Veterans (Am J Prev Med., abstract)

[Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Changing Trends in Opioid Overdose Deaths and Prescription Opioid Receipt Among Veterans

Lewei (Allison) Lin, MD, MS1,2, Talya Peltzman, MPH3, John F. McCarthy, PhD, MPH1,2,3, Elizabeth M. Oliva, PhD4,5, Jodie A. Trafton, PhD4,5, Amy S.B. Bohnert, PhD, MHS1,2

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2019.01.016

Published online: May 22, 2019




To inform overdose prevention, this study assessed both recent trends in opioid overdose mortality across opioid categories and receipt of prescription opioid analgesics among Veterans who died from overdose in the Veterans Health Administration.


Using Veterans Health Administration records linked to National Death Index data, annual cohorts (2010–2016) of Veterans who received Veterans Health Administration care were obtained and were examined by opioid overdose categories (natural/semisynthetic opioids, heroin, methadone, and other synthetic opioids) on (1) overdose rates and changes in rates adjusted for age, sex, and race/ethnicity; and (2) Veterans Health Administration prescription opioid receipt. Analyses were conducted in 2018.


The overall rate of opioid overdose among Veterans increased from 14.47 per 100,000 person-years in 2010 to 21.08 per 100,000 person-years in 2016 (adjusted rate ratio=1.65, 95% CI=1.51, 1.81). There was a decline in methadone overdose (adjusted rate ratio=0.66, 95% CI=0.51, 0.84) and no significant change in natural/semisynthetic opioid overdose (adjusted rate ratio=1.08, 95% CI=0.94, 1.24). However, the synthetic opioid overdose rate (adjusted rate ratio=5.46, 95% CI=4.41, 6.75) and heroin overdose rate (adjusted rate ratio=4.91, 95% CI=3.92, 6.15) increased substantially. Among all opioid overdose decedents, prescription opioid receipt within 3 months before death declined from 54% in 2010 to 26% in 2016.


Opioid overdose rates among Veterans Health Administration Veterans increased because of increases in heroin and synthetic opioid overdose rates. Prescriptions of opioids declined among patients who died from all categories of opioid overdose; by 2016, only a minority received an opioid analgesic from Veterans Health Administration within 3 months of overdose. Future prevention efforts should extend beyond patients actively receiving opioid prescriptions.

Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Keywords: Opioids; Heroin; Drugs overdose; USA; Society.


#US #National 90-Day #Readmissions After #Opioid #Overdose #Discharge (Am J Prev Med., abstract)

[Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

U.S. National 90-Day Readmissions After Opioid Overdose Discharge

Cora Peterson, PhD , Yang Liu, PhD, Likang Xu, MD, Nisha Nataraj, PhD, Kun Zhang, PhD, Christina A. Mikosz, MD, MPH

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2018.12.003

Published online: April 17, 2019




U.S. hospital discharges for opioid overdose increased substantially during the past two decades. This brief report describes 90-day readmissions among patients discharged from inpatient stays for opioid overdose.


In 2018, survey-weighted analysis of hospital stays in the 2016 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Readmissions Database yielded the national estimated proportion of patients with opioid overdose stays that had all-cause readmissions within ≤90 days. A multivariable logistic regression model assessed index stay factors associated with readmission by type (opioid overdose or not). Number of readmissions per patient was assessed.


More than 24% (n=14,351/58,850) of patients with non-fatal index stays for opioid overdose had at least one all-cause readmission ≤90 days of index stay discharge and 3% (n=1,658/58,850) of patients had at least one opioid overdose readmission. Less than 0.2% (n=104/58,850) of patients had more than one readmission for opioid overdose. Patient demographic characteristics (e.g., male, older age), comorbidities diagnosed during the index stay (e.g., drug use disorder, chronic pulmonary disease, psychoses), and other index stay factors (Medicare or Medicaid primary payer, discharge against medical advice) were significantly associated with both opioid overdose and non-opioid overdose readmissions. Nearly 30% of index stays for opioid overdose included heroin, which was significantly associated with opioid overdose readmissions.


A quarter of opioid overdose patients have ≤90 days all-cause readmissions, although opioid overdose readmission is uncommon. Effective strategies to reduce readmissions will address substance use disorder as well as comorbid physical and mental health conditions.

Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Keywords: Opioids; Illicid drugs abuse; USA; Society.


#Opioids and #Infectious Diseases: A Converging #PublicHealth #Crisis  (J Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Opioids and Infectious Diseases: A Converging Public Health Crisis

Tara A Schwetz, Thomas Calder, Elana Rosenthal, Sarah Kattakuzhy, Anthony S Fauci

The Journal of Infectious Diseases, jiz133, https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiz133

Published: 03 April 2019



A converging public health crisis is emerging as the opioid epidemic is fueling a surge in infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, the viral hepatitides, infective endocarditis, and skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). An integrated strategy is needed to tailor preventive and therapeutic approaches towards infectious diseases in people who misuse and/or are addicted to opioids and to concurrently address the underlying pre-disposing factor for the infections – opioid use disorder. This commentary highlights the unique and complimentary roles that the infectious diseases and substance use disorder communities can play in addressing this dual public health crisis.

infectious diseases, opioids, opioid use disorder, substance use disorder

Issue Section: Perspective

This content is only available as a PDF.

Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2019. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

Keywords: Public Health; USA; Opioids; HIV/AIDS; Hepatitis C; Infectious Diseases.


#Management of #opioid use #disorder in the #USA: present status and future directions (Lancet, summary)

[Source: The Lancet, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Management of opioid use disorder in the USA: present status and future directions

Carlos Blanco, MD, Nora D Volkow, MD

Published: March 13, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)33078-2



Opioid use disorder is characterised by the persistent use of opioids despite the adverse consequences of its use. The disorder is associated with a range of mental and general medical comorbid disorders, and with increased mortality. Although genetics are important in opioid use disorder, younger age, male sex, and lower educational attainment level and income, increase the risk of opioid use disorder, as do certain psychiatric disorders (eg, other substance use disorders and mood disorders). The medications for opioid use disorder, which include methadone, buprenorphine, and extended-release naltrexone, significantly improve opioid use disorder outcomes. However, the effectiveness of medications for opioid use disorder is limited by problems at all levels of the care cascade, including diagnosis, entry into treatment, and retention in treatment. There is an urgent need for expanding the use of medications for opioid use disorder, including training of health-care professionals in the treatment and prevention of opioid use disorder, and for development of alternative medications and new models of care to expand capabilities for personalised interventions.

Keywords: Society; Opioids; Illicit drugs; USA.