Column 1

Surgeons prescribing fewer opioids to battle epidemic

December 8, 2017

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A group of surgeons are taking a new approach with their patients by prescribing fewer opioids to reduce their risk of addiction.

NPR reported that according to research, post-surgical patients are at higher risk of addiction due to the medicine they are prescribed to help with their recovery.

ANNOUNCEMENT

December 2017

        TOPAC is pleased to announce that Linda M. Leyhane has joined the staff filling the role of Executive Director.

          Linda previously served as Executive Director of Crawford House, a residential treatment program for women, for 14 years.  More recently Linda was the Manager of Ambulatory Services at the Rescue Mission of Trenton.

          Linda brings to TOPAC her vast experience in the treatment field and her dedication to recovery for everyone.

Yes, President Trump has declared opioid abuse a national emergency. But a hotel CEO is leading a much more targeted – and more promising – effort to address the country’s rampant addiction problem. Gary Mendell is leading an initiative for insurers to embrace evidence-based approaches to addiction treatment.

Last fall, the town of Huntington, W.Va., made national headlines when 27 people overdosed on heroin within four hours. Huntington’s blue-collar West Virginia county has since been dubbed the “overdose capital of America.” With an overdose death rate ten times the national average, it serves as the backdrop of Netflix’s startling new documentary, Heroin(e).

Watch trailer Click here

Farragut wellness center using new device to fight opioid epidemic

The device looks like a hearing aid but it serves a different purpose. It is a pain-free detox for people hooked on opioids.

“For many people, that is the first yet most important step. They just don’t want to go through the pain,” said Lewis Frazer, CEO of the Goodman Center.

282 New Jersey School Districts With Most Drug, Alcohol Cases, New Data Shows

Drugs and alcohol have become a pervasive problem in New Jersey's cities and suburban areas. The statistics below show the proof.

New Jersey releases a list of substance abuse cases reported by each school district every year, and the state Department of Education released its most recent data on Tuesday. Below are the lists of the school districts with the highest to lowest number of cases in 2015-16.

Column 2

Kean Drug Recovery License Plate Bill Advances

Legislation (A5061) sponsored by Assemblyman Sean T. Kean creating a special support recovery license plate to provide housing assistance funding for people who have completed substance abuse treatment was unanimously approved by the NJ Assembly Transportation Committee.

As opioid crisis worsens, a drug used to reverse overdoses can be difficult to access

A drug used to reverse opioid overdoses has been hailed for saving thousands of lives nationwide, but some municipalities are having trouble accessing it.

Walgreens stocks the drug in pharmacies nationwide and can dispense it over the counter in 46 states.

But in some places, the strain on municipal budgets and a need for an increasing amount of naloxone has made it difficult to keep enough in stock.

Gyebi-Foster, executive director of a drug treatment program in West Baltimore, had 44 beds at his center for detox patients. But in the midst of a crisis that’s killing more than two city residents a day — more than are dying in the city’s historic violence — he had funding for only two thirds of those recovery slots.

Forty-four state attorneys general asked Congress on Tuesday to repeal a law that effectively strips the Drug Enforcement Administration of potent weapons against large drug companies that have allowed hundreds of millions of pain pills to spill onto the black market.

Horizon joins national coalition fighting opioid abuse

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ announced it is part of a national coalition of 16 health companies focused on helping curb opioid abuse.
The move means it will agree to adopt eight “National Principles of Care” that focus on coverage of behavioral health options that have previously been criticized for lack of or limited coverage.

Good afternoon. I am Dr. Ponni Subbiah, Chief Medical Officer at Indivior. Thank you for the
privilege to address the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid
Crisis. Indivior seeks to provide insight on: the patient journey, innovations in medicationassisted
treatment for addiction, and policies to prevent addiction, accelerate evidence-based
treatment and enable long-term recovery for patients.

Column 3

The greatest producer of his generation got hooked on pills and almost lost it all – now he's ready to return to the charts. "I felt like I wasn't committed, I was riding off ego," says Timbaland, 45, looking back.

With the election of Phil Murphy as New Jersey's next governor, legislators and advocates are working to get a bill legalizing marijuana on his desk within his first 100 days. Murphy has said he would legalize weed in NJ, but the bill that lands on his desk could look quite a bit different than the one sitting in committee at the moment. Advocates and legislators agree than some changes are necessary for the bill to pass the Legislature.

On Thursday, June 8, 2017, the FDA said it wanted the oxymorphone product Opana ER removed from the market, capping years of controversy over the opioid painkiller. MedPage Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2015 published an investigation of how the FDA came to approve Opana ER and what had gone wrong. Here we republish that investigation to provide context for the recent FDA action.
In 2006, in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic, the FDA approved the new narcotic painkiller Opana.
It was a familiar drug.

Kyle Graves, who is in recovery for opioid addition, flips though family photos in his home in Franklin, Tenn., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Graves’ troubles began more than a decade ago when he sought relief for degenerative arthritis in his hips, shoulders, feet and back. He was prescribed oxycodone. When he lost his job as a car dealership finance manager, Graves found the pills helped get him through that crisis, too. He was a functioning addict when his sixth child was born, a boy named Joshua Jeremiah who contracted spinal meningitis during childbirth. The infant clung to life for six weeks; his death sent Graves sinking deeper into addiction.

A bond forged in the kind of tragic personal loss that has become all too common in the US — each of us had a son die from an addiction — compelled us to do something about the sorry state of addiction treatment today. That work is paying off, as many of the nation’s largest medical payers have just agreed to help close the shameful gap in treating addictions.

NJ sues maker of OxyContin over opioid epidemic, putting it in 'bullseye of the target'

The New Jersey Attorney General's Office announced that it has filed a five-count lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, alleging a “direct link" between the opioid epidemic and the drugmaker's effort to boost profits by "deceptively" marketing the addictive prescription drugs. click on link to read entire article including quotes from Paul Ressler, President and CEO of TOPAC.

Column 4

The pharmaceutical industry was listed as one of the “Contributors to the Current Crisis” in the final report of President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The report cites decades of aggressive marketing and industry-sponsored physician “conferences” aimed at expanding opioid use by minimizing the dangers of addiction....

Nine months after Gov. Chris Christie vowed to add nearly 900 psychiatric and drug treatment beds to help halt the epidemic of opioid addictions and overdoses in the state, the governor announced Friday that 26 health providers have committed to open inpatient facilities and meet the demand within two years.

How do you confront an epidemic that has claimed more lives than the HIV/AIDS crisis at its peak? How do you counteract a system that incentivizes the flow of prescription painkillers from doctors to patients and ends up getting 3 million Americans addicted each year?