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Trauma in Childhood Can Harm Health for a Lifetime: Study

As if suffering through a childhood trauma weren't enough, new research suggests it might raise the risk of poor mental and physical health later in life.

Researchers analyzed nearly 2,900 responses to the 2019 New Zealand Family Violence Survey and found that about 45% of respondents said they had no adverse childhood events, a majority experienced at least one, and one-third reported mo...

Oklahoma Supreme Courts Overturns $465 Million J & J Opioid Ruling

A previous court ruling that ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay Oklahoma $465 million for the company's role in the opioid epidemic was tossed out by the state's highest court on Tuesday.

In a 5-1 vote, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected the state's argument that Johnson & Johnson violated "public nuisance" laws by overstating the benefits of its prescription opioid painkillers and minimiz...

California Judge Sides With Drug Companies in Opioid Lawsuit

A California judge has ruled against local governments that sued drug companies for billions of dollars to recover their costs of dealing with the opioid epidemic.

In a tentative ruling issued Monday, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson rejected the plaintiffs' claims the companies used deceptive marketing to increase unnecessary prescriptions of opioid painkillers, the As...

U.S. Murder Rate Up 30% During Pandemic, Highest One-Year Rise Ever

The rate at which homicide is taking the lives of Americans jumped by 30% over the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic — the largest year-to-year increase ever, new federal government figures show.

The rate jumped from 6 homicides per 100,000 people in 2019 to 7.8 per 100,000 in 2020, according to provisional data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Cente...

Fatal Opioid ODs Keep Rising in Black Americans

The decades-long U.S. opioid epidemic could be hitting Black people harder than white folks as the crisis enters a new phase.

Opioid overdose death rates among Black Americans jumped nearly 40% from 2018 to 2019 in four states hammered by the epidemic, researchers found.

Fatal ODs among all other races and ethnicities remained about the same during that time.

This represents a...

Loneliness Raises Opioid Dangers in Seniors: Study

Illustrating a heartbreaking cycle, new research finds that lonely seniors are much more likely to take opioid painkillers, sedatives, anti-anxiety drugs and other medications.

This puts them at increased risk for drug dependency, attention problems, falls, accidents and mental decline, the University of California, San Francisco researchers warned.

"There's a misconception that as ...

Kids Still Dying From Accidental Exposure to Fentanyl Pain Patches

Accidental exposure to fentanyl pain patches is putting children's lives at risk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid pain reliever; so powerful that fentanyl patches are typically only prescribed to patients who require round-the-clock, long-term pain relief, such as cancer patients. They're generally replaced every three days.

Kids can overdo...

Dr. Rahul Gupta to Be Nominated as Next U.S. Drug Czar

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Dr. Rahul Gupta as the head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Gupta led the Biden transition team for that office, was the former health commissioner of West Virginia, and is chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes, CNN reported.

If confirmed as the so-called drug czar, Gupta would be the first p...

Doctors May Be Overprescribing Opioids After Surgeries

Many patients who are prescribed opioids after surgery could get the same level of pain relief with non-opioid alternatives such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen without the risk of addiction, researchers say.

"Opioids have been a routine part of postsurgical pain care for decades, but the risk that they could lead to persistent use has been clearly documented," said lead author Dr. Ryan How...

Death Rates Are Rising Across Rural America

In rural America, more people die from chronic health conditions and substance abuse than in suburbs and cities, and the gap is widening.

Researchers report in a new study that the difference in rural and urban death rates tripled over the past 20 years mostly due to deaths among middle-aged white men and women.

"We looked at all-cause death, and found that instead of the difference...

Jail Dims Hopes for Recovery for Young People With Mental Illness

Being jailed puts teens with untreated psychiatric disorders at increased risk for long-term mental health struggles, researchers say.

"These are not necessarily bad kids, but they have many strikes against them," said study lead author Linda Teplin. "Physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect are common. These experiences can precipitate depression. Incarceration should be the last resort....

Gen X, Millennials in Worse Health Than Prior Generations at Same Age

Medicine may have advanced by leaps and bounds over the last century, but Generation X and millennials are in worse health than their parents and grandparents were at their age.

That's the conclusion of a new study that looked at markers of physical and mental health across the generations.

And overall, there has been a downhill slide over time: Gen X'ers and millennials were in wor...

Pandemic Unemployment Has Taken Its Own Deadly Toll

With U.S. deaths from COVID-19 passing the grim milestone of a half-million, a new study suggests that another 30,000-plus Americans have died due to pandemic-related unemployment.

Using various data sources, researchers estimated that number of deaths between April 2020 and March 2021 could be attributed to pandemic-fueled job losses.

And in a pattern that's been repeatedly seen, B...

In Philadelphia, an Animal Tranquilizer Is Driving Deadly Rise in Opioid ODs

Philadelphia is seeing a surge in overdose fatalities involving heroin and/or fentanyl plus an animal tranquilizer not approved for human use, according to a new study.

The tranquilizer -- called xylazine -- is a non-opioid sedative and painkiller approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration solely as a veterinary drug. In Philadelphia, it goes by the street name "tranq."

Tranq...

Meth Overdose Deaths Are Surging in America, With Minorities Most at Risk

Deaths from overdoses of methamphetamine are rising across the United States, especially among Blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives, a new study warns.

"While much attention is focused on the opioid crisis, a methamphetamine crisis has been quietly, but actively, gaining steam -- particularly among American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are disproportionately affected by a number ...

As More Legal Pot Dispensaries Open, More Young Adults Start Using

As more states legalize marijuana and more shops begin to sell it, more young adults are using pot and developing drug-use disorders, a new study finds.

For the study, researchers looked at young adults in Los Angeles County before and after retail sale of recreational marijuana was legalized in California.

The study linked areas with many pot shops, particularly unlicensed retailer...

Pandemic Is Driving U.S. Surge in Cardiac Arrests Tied to Overdose

Blame it on the pandemic: For people struggling with drug addiction, 2020 has triggered a big rise in emergency room visits for cardiac arrest tied to drug overdoses, new research shows.

The finding was based on data involving 80% of emergency medical services (EMS) "activations" across the United States. It showed "a large-magnitude, national surge in overdose-related cardiac arrest duri...

Nurse Practitioners Key to Opioid Treatment in Rural U.S.: Study

In isolated areas of the United States, nurse practitioners are filling an important role in helping people access treatment for opioid addiction, according to a Washington State University (WSU) study.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have only been authorized to prescribe buprenorphine (a drug that can treat opioid addiction) for the past few years with the implementation of...

'Diseases of Despair' Skyrocket in America

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, Americans were already suffering: A new study reports that alcohol and drug misuse were up dramatically, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors were up 170% between 2009 and 2018.

Researchers call these conditions "diseases of despair."

"The origin of these conditions isn't strictly medical. Rather, they seem to follow conditions of despair i...

1 in 3 High School Seniors Who Misuse Prescription Opioids Turn to Heroin

Among high school seniors, nearly a third of those who misuse prescription opioids use heroin by age 35, a new study shows.

"It is a very timely study given the number of adolescents and young adults who were overprescribed opioids and who are now aging into adulthood," said study author Sean Esteban McCabe, director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health at the...

Sexual Victimization Persists in U.S. Military for LGBTQs: Study

Lesbian, gay and bisexual members in the U.S. military are at higher risk for sexual harassment, sexual assault and stalking, a new study reports.

And that sexual victimization can trigger mental health problems such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use and suicidal behavior, researchers say.

They surveyed 544 active-duty U.S. service members, includi...

Just 1% of Doctors Prescribe Nearly Half of Opioids in U.S.

Nearly half of all opioid doses and more than a quarter of all opioid prescriptions in the United States come from 1% of health care providers, a new study says.

The authors said this suggests that efforts to reduce overuse of prescription opioid painkillers should not focus on strict limits for all doctors but on a small percentage.

"Most p...

As Manufacturing Jobs End, Opioid OD Deaths May Rise

It's a connection that health officials might miss, but an alarming new study shows that when factories close, deaths from opioid overdoses soar.

"There's this sense of increasing despair among people -- especially people who are working-class who have seen in the last several decades a lot of their economic opportunities wither away," said lead researcher Dr. Atheendar Venkataraman...

Teen Opioid Users Face Same OD Risks as Adults

U.S. teens and young adults are as likely as older people to overdose on prescription opioid painkillers and have the same risk factors, researchers say.

They analyzed data on 2.8 million privately insured patients from 12 to 21 years of age who received opioid prescriptions between 2009 and 2017.

One in 10,000 had an opioid overdose, the same rate as among adult patients wi...

Fewer Americans Now Struggle With 'Problem' Pot Use

There are fewer problem "potheads" today than before the wave of marijuana legalization that's swept the United States, a new analysis of federal survey data shows.

Researchers found an across-the-board decline in daily or near-daily pot users who could be diagnosed with cannabis use disorder, according to results published in the Dec. 1 issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Using Opioids After Vasectomy May Trigger Persistent Use: Study

Taking opioids after a vasectomy doesn't improve pain control and is associated with increased risk of persistent use of the addictive painkillers months later, a new study says.

It included 228 men who had vasectomies performed by eight different urologists. Two of the urologists routinely prescribed opioids for pain after the surgery. The other six used other methods to control pain...

Many U.S. Women Get Opioids After Giving Birth

Opioid painkillers were prescribed to nearly half of U.S. women who gave birth in recent years.

That's from a new study that found 1% to 2% of those women were still filling opioid prescriptions a year later. Those most likely to be doing so were women who were prescribed opioids before giving birth, and those who got the largest initial doses.

The findings are from ...

Fatal Opioid ODs Rise as Temperatures Fall

Why do opioid overdose deaths spike after cold snaps?

That's the mystery Brown University researchers set out to solve in a study of more than 3,000 opioid-related deaths in Connecticut and Rhode Island between 2014 and 2017.

The new analysis uncovered a 25% increase in opioid overdose deaths within three to seven days of freezing temperatures, compared to stretches when...

Drug Overdoses, Suicide Are Risk for New Mothers: Study

Drug overdoses and suicide are common causes of death among women who die within a year of giving birth, a new study finds.

In fact, in the study based on data from California, these two causes accounted for nearly 20% of postpartum deaths from 2010 to 2012.

"These deaths are rare but devastating for families," said study co-author Claire Margerison, an assistant profes...

U.S. Dentists Prescribe 37 Times More Opioids Than in England: Study

Despite the nation's opioid epidemic, U.S. dentists are far more likely to prescribe addictive opioid painkillers than their British counterparts, a new study reveals.

In 2016, American dentists wrote 37 times as many opioid prescriptions as British dentists: 1.4 million versus 28,000.

And while 22% of all prescriptions from American dentists were for opioids, th...

Dispensing Opioid Antidote Without a Prescription Might Save Lives

Opioid overdose deaths would decline dramatically if U.S. pharmacists could dispense the antidote naloxone without a doctor's prescription, a new study says.

In states that have adopted such laws, opioid deaths fell an average of 27% in the year after passage and 34% in following years, according to a RAND Corp. analysis of 2005 to 2016 data.

"This is strong evidence...

Another Cost of the Opioid Epidemic: Billions of Dollars in Lost Taxes

Opioid abuse-related job losses have cost U.S. federal and state governments tens of billions of dollars in lost tax revenue, a new study claims.

Penn State researchers analyzed data from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health along with estimates of declines in the U.S. labor force due to the opioid epidemic.

Between 2000 and 2016, federal tax losses due to opioid-...

ADHD Meds Safe With Epilepsy, Study Finds

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often occurs in people with epilepsy. Now, new research provides reassurance that taking ADHD medications won't raise their risk of seizures.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from thousands of epilepsy patients in Sweden. Taking ADHD medications such as Ritalin (methylphenidate), was associated with a 27 percent reduction in seiz...

Many Heroin Users Unprepared for Fentanyl OD

Though they know that nearly all heroin is laced with the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, many Baltimore users aren't prepared to prevent or treat fentanyl-related overdoses, a new study finds.

Baltimore has a thriving heroin trade and 1,000 opioid overdose deaths a year.

The study, by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, included...

U.S. Deaths From Suicide, Substance Abuse Reach Record High

Deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide in the United States hit an all-time high in 2017 -- more than 150,000 in all.

That number was more than double 1999 levels, according to a chilling new analysis of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by the Trust for America's Health and Well Being Trust, two health policy organizations.

Nationwide, the death rate due ...

Among Rich Nations, U.S. Has Highest Rate of Fatal Drug ODs

It's a ranking that no country would want to have: A new study shows America has taken the lead in drug overdose deaths, with rates almost four times higher than in 17 other wealthy nations.

Drug overdose deaths in the United States have more than tripled over the past 20 years, driven largely by the opioid epidemic, the researchers noted.

In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans...

Teen Pot Use Fell in States That Legalized Medical Marijuana: Study

Marijuana legalization has been sweeping across the United States, raising concerns that more teens will start toking as pot smoking gains in legitimacy.

A new study suggests that's not the case. Researchers actually found fewer teen marijuana users in states that have adopted medical marijuana laws.

States with medical marijuana laws had 1.1 percent fewer teenage pot smokers th...

Study Reaffirms Safety of Hepatitis C Meds in Liver Cancer Patients

It's safe to use antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis C in liver cancer survivors, a new study reports.

The findings contradict previous research suggesting that antiviral drugs might increase these patients' risk of liver cancer recurrence.

That prior research involved a single-center study from Spanish investigators in 2016 that "gained a lot of press and sparked fear about ...

In West Virginia, Few Opioid OD Survivors Get Good Follow-Up Care: Study

Ninety percent of people who survived opioid overdoses in West Virginia did not receive recommended treatment to reduce their risk of overdosing again, according to a new study.

West Virginia has the highest opioid overdose death rate in the United States, four times higher than the national average.

This study included 301 people from the state, average age 34.5 years, who ...

Making OxyContin 'Tamper Proof' Helped Spread Hepatitis C

An effort to make the opioid painkiller OxyContin harder to abuse drove addicted patients to heroin and caused a dramatic increase in hepatitis C, a new study suggests.

In a classic case of unintended consequences, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma reformulated its powerful and popular drug OxyContin for the right reasons. It became harder to crush or dissolve, thus making it harder to...

Are Some Opioid Abusers Using Their Pets to Get the Drugs?

To fight America's opioid epidemic, lawmakers and regulators have clamped down hard on doctors' prescribing practices.

But one avenue for obtaining prescription opioids appears to have been overlooked, according to a new study.

Veterinarians are prescribing large quantities of opioids to pets, raising concern that some people might be using Fido or Snuggles to feed their add...

Postpartum Opioid Rx May Lead to Persistent Use: Study

New mothers who take opioid painkillers after either vaginal birth or cesarean section may be at increased risk of becoming persistent users, a new study finds.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville examined data from more than 102,000 new mothers in Tennessee. None had used opioids in the 180 days before delivery.

After delivery, 89 percent who had a cesarean ...

Can Herbal Drug Kratom Kill?

The herbal drug kratom, which U.S. drug regulators have said is essentially an opioid, has been linked to some narcotic overdose deaths, but whether it's dangerous by itself isn't clear.

In a new study, University of Colorado researchers reviewed 15 kratom-related deaths and found that in all but one, other opioids were present.

"When cases are considered kratom-only deaths...