An opioid epidemic may be looming in Mexico — and the U.S. may be partly responsible

This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science; the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services; the UCLA Center for AIDS Research; and the UCLA Clinical Translational Science Institute.
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In 2015, the opioid crisis was escalating to emergency-level proportions, claiming as many lives as car accidents. As the daughter of a longtime drug addict, the current burgeoning opioid epidemic managed to be both familiar and strange to me at the same time. My mother developed her addictions during the height of drug epidemics that occurred in New York City in the mid-1980s. The timeframe also marked the infancy of the AIDS crisis and the height of Reagan-era “Just Say No” programs. Back then, addiction was treated and viewed more as a crime than a disease, supposedly committed by scoundrels and misfits. The...
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In a new study of the leading causes of death in the U.S., researchers say that opioids have contributed to a shortening of life expectancy. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in JAMA that while life expectancy in the U.S. increased overall from 2000 to 2015, that improvement was blunted by deaths from opioid overdoses. (According to other recent research, deaths from opioid overdoses nearly doubled in the U.S. from 2009 to 2015.) The life expectancy for people born in 2015 increased by two years compared to people born in 2000, from 76 years to 78. Much of that gain was due to decreases ...
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The United States is struggling to deal with an opioid epidemic that is damaging lives, resulting in overdoses, and yet not reducing chronic pain. National initiatives are underway to dramatically reduce access to prescription opioids, but these efforts lack a systematic approach to provide alternative treatments for these patients. Policy changes are urgently needed to provide better care for patients with chronic pain, and in this post, we outline three feasible policy initiatives. Innovative reimbursement initiatives by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) could frame and stimulate use of evidence-based ...
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