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CDC: Deaths from Rx painkillers Rising, but at a Slower Rate

The numbers of deaths due to overdoses of prescription painkillers continue to rise but has slowed, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report states that Prescription painkiller overdose deaths rose by 3 percent each year from 2007 to 2011, compared with 18 percent each year from 1999 through 2006.  Opioids including hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone were involved in 11,693 drug-poisoning deaths in 2011, up from 2,749 deaths in 1999.

The report noted benzodiazepines are involved in a growing number of opioid-related deaths. Benzodiazepines were involved in 31 percent of opioid-related deaths in 2011, up from 13 percent in 1999. The number of drug-poisoning deaths involving methadone, used to treat opioid dependency and pain, increased from 784 deaths in 1999 to 5,518 deaths in 2007 and then declined to 4,418 deaths in 2011.

Future government regulations and rules may continue this trend. The Drug Enforcement Administration is making painkillers that contain hydrocodone, such as Vicodin, Schedule II drugs, which means prescriptions will be limited to 30 days and doctors must write new prescriptions after that point. For the full story, click here.

U.S. to allow Pharmacies to Take back unwanted Rx Meds

Pharmacies and clinics in the U.S. will soon be allowed to take back unused prescription drugs, including opioid painkillers. According to the Wall Street Journal the change in policy will be issued in new Drug Enforcement Administration regulations effective next month.  This change addresses a request that many have made for the government to simplify how patients can safely dispose of unused pills. Click here to read the full article.

More Police are using Antidote for Opioid Overdose

Currently, over two dozen police departments across the nation are establishing programs to implement the use of naloxone to combat heroin and opioid pill overdoses. The antidote is administered by nasal spray, and its purpose is to block the effects of heroin or opioid painkillers.

Naloxone has been used for many years by paramedics and emergency room doctors, but as the U.S Office of National Drug Control encourages police departments to carry the antidote, many cities have already seen improvement. Quincy, Massachusetts was the first city to require all police officers on patrol to carry naloxone. “We embraced it and we ran with it,” said Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan. Not far behind, The New York City police force will soon be trained and equipped with the antidote as well, according to Police Commissioner William Bratton.

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Join the NEA HIN this Thursday, 2/20 at 1pm, est for a Webinar to Learn About Preventing Rx Drug Abuse in Your School

Join Miecha Gailbraith this Tuesday (2/18/14) at 1pm, EST for an hour long webinar as she instructs participants on how to implement?RX for Understanding: Preventing Drug Abuse Guide. Designed for grades 9-12, this educator?s resource guide is aligned with the National Health Education Standards and Common Core State Standards. The guide will equip students with the understanding and decision-making skills they need to recognize and avoid the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription drugs.

How to Access the Webinar
To join the webinar, use the following link
and follow the instructions:
(Please note this content will not be available until Thursday, February 20, 2014)

Audio Meeting Details: View dial-in numbers
Guest Passcode: 255857

US Mayors Conference Announces Winners for Best Drug Abuse Prevention Programs

Friday January 24, 2014 – The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) announced the winners of the Safeguard My Meds Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Recognition Program, during the 82nd Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.? Awards were given to outstanding local initiatives that have the greatest potential to reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, particularly among young people.

Grants were made to Mayoral-based initiatives in four cities:

  • Columbus, IN
  • Fayetteville, AR
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Philadelphia, PA

This is the second round of grants awarded as part of the five-year partnership between USCM and Purdue Pharma L.P. The goal of the grants program is to support and/or enhance existing prescription drug abuse prevention programs in America?s cities, as well as encourage the development of new and innovative programs. Learn more about the U.S. Conference of Mayors Safeguard My Meds Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program.

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