West Virginia University Logo

April 30, 2014


SAMHSA Prescription Drug Abuse Weekly Update
Issue 69  |  April 30, 2014
The Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace (PAW) TA Center addresses prescription drug abuse—a growing public health problem with increasing burdens on workers, workplaces, and our economy. To subscribe colleagues, family members, or friends to this listserv sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), please click here or send their e-mail addresses to paw@dsgonline.com.
Table of Content Featured Article Journal Articles and Reports News Other State and Local News Videos Webinar Grant Announcements Grant Awarded Save the Dates Upcoming Conferences and Workshops


C. Tannenbaum, P. Martin, R. Tamblyn, A. Benedetti, and S. Ahmed. 2014. "Reduction of Inappropriate Benzodiazepine Prescriptions Among Older Adults Through Direct Patient Education: The EMPOWER Cluster Randomized Trial." JAMA Internal Medicine, doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.949.

This study analyzed whether consumer education reduced benzodiazepine use for insomnia among elderly people in Quebec. Community pharmacies were randomly allocated to the intervention or control arm. The 15 pharmacies with education included 148 participants and the 15 randomized as "wait list" controls included 155 participants. All participants were long-term benzodiazepine users aged 65–95 years. The intervention arm received a patient empowerment intervention describing the risks of benzodiazepine use and a stepwise tapering protocol. A total of 261 participants (86 percent) completed the 6-month follow-up. Among the intervention group, 62 percent discussed benzodiazepine therapy cessation with a physician or pharmacist. At 6 months, 27 percent of the intervention group had discontinued benzodiazepines compared with 5 percent of the control group (risk difference, 23 percent [95 percent CI, 14–32 percent]). Another 11 percent (95 percent CI, 6–16 percent) reduced dosage. In multivariate subanalyses, age greater than 80 years, sex, duration of use, indication for use, dose, previous attempt to taper, and concomitant polypharmacy (10 drugs or more per day) did not have a significant interaction effect with benzodiazepine therapy discontinuation.

Read more:

Related Article

Educating Older Patients Helps Taper Off Sleeping Pill Use
Fox News
April 18, 2014

Up to one third of older adults take benzodiazepines to treat insomnia or anxiety, even though the drugs are not recommended. Doctors know about the dangers benzodiazepines pose to their patients, but nearly half renew benzodiazepine prescriptions for older patients anyway. Those patients are willing and able to stop taking benzodiazepines after being informed of the potential dangers. Even people who had been taking sleeping pills for 30 years—many of them in their 80s and 90s—stopped once they realized these drugs could cause falls, memory problems, and car accidents.

Read more:

Journal Articles and Reports

K.S. Barth, W. Balliet, C.M. Pelic, A. Madan, R. Malcolm, D. Adams, K. Morgan, S. Owczarski, and J.J. Borckardt. 2014. "Screening for Current Opioid Misuse and Associated Risk Factors Among Patients with Chronic Nonalcoholic Pancreatitis Pain." Pain Medicine, doi:10.1111/pme.12403.

This study examined clinical correlates of opioid misuse among 307 patients with nonalcoholic chronic pancreatitis who received chronic opioid therapy for pain. Misuse was more likely among those who were depressed, had higher pain ratings at the time of the office visit, had lower psychological quality of life on the Short Form-12 functional assessment, or reported they were drinking alcohol. These factors accounted for 37 percent of the variance in current opioid misuse scores.

Read more:

E. Michna, N.Y. Kirson, A. Shei, H.G. Birnbaum, and R. Ben-Joseph. 2014. "Use of Prescription Opioids with Abuse-Deterrent Technology to Address Opioid Abuse." Current Medical Research and Opinion, doi:10.1185/03007995.2014.915803.

Researchers analyzed Truven MarketScan pharmacy and medical claims data of adults aged 18–64 who were continuous users of extended-release oxycodone HCl or oxymorphone HCl in the 6 months prior to introduction of tamper-resistant reformulations. During the next 9 months, 69 percent of oxycodone users switched to the reformulated product, 21 percent switched to an extended-release product that was not tamper resistant, 7 percent switched to opioids that were not extended release, and 2 percent discontinued opioid use. Among oxymorphone users, 50 percent switched to the reformulated product, 7 percent switched to reformulated oxycodone, 25.5 percent switched to an extended-release product that was not tamper resistant, 14.5 percent switched to opioids that were not extended release, and 3 percent discontinued opioid use. Over the 15 months studied, oxycodone users had roughly twice the diagnosed opioid abuse rate of oxymorphone users. Patients who switched to short-acting opioids or quit had the highest diagnosed abuse rates, but the authors did not assess how often the switches resulted from treatment.

Read more:

B. Partridge, J. Lucke, and W. Hall. 2014. "If You're Healthy You Don't Need Drugs: Public Attitudes Toward 'Brain Doping' in the Classroom and 'Legalised Doping' in Sport." Performance Enhancement & Health, doi:10.1016/j.peh.2014.03.001.

The authors conducted open-ended interviews with 55 adult residents of Brisbane, Australia, on a demographically representative survey panel. Interviewers probed respondents' thoughts about Ritalin use as a study aid by healthy university students and the prospect of legalized doping in sports. Respondents generally opposed both uses. Their reasons reflected four themes: 1) concern for authenticity, a belief that drug-assisted performances do not reflect a person's true abilities or talent, 2) safety and side effects, especially over the long term, 3) unfairness, including lack of affordability for low-income athletes; forcing a choice between performance and long-term health; potential for coercion by coaches, trainers, and parents; and taking risks with no gain, as the playing field returns to level if everyone is legally doping (Editor's note: A concern for the record book is a major fairness issue in the United States), and 4) proper medication use entails treating medical conditions, not enhancing performance. The concern about unfairness was restricted almost exclusively to sports, not academic performance.

Read more:

J. Mazanov, M. Dunn, J. Connor, and M.L. Fielding. 2013. "Substance Use to Enhance Academic Performance Among Australian University Students." Performance Enhancement & Health 2(3):110–18.

Among Australian college students, 8.9 percent report using prescription stimulants for study purposes—more than the 6.5 percent U.S. rate or 1.3 percent German rate. This finding comes from a convenience sample of 1,729 Australian students across four universities who completed an online survey. The main reasons for use were to improve focus and attention and to stay awake. Medical and law students were most likely to use drugs to enhance academic performance.

Read more:

M. Overbye, M.L. Knudsen, and G. Pfister. 2013. "To Dope or Not to Dope: Elite Athletes' Perceptions of Doping Deterrents and Incentives." Performance Enhancement & Health 2(3):119–34.

This study, which described elite athletes' views about whether to dope, is based on Web-based survey responses from 645 Danish elite athletes (43 percent response rate) representing 40 sports. Mean respondent age was 22; 41 percent were female; and 10 percent were world-class athletes (ranked 8 or higher at the latest world championship or Olympic Games). Participants were asked to imagine themselves in a situation where they had to decide whether to dope, and then evaluate how different circumstances would affect their decision. The most effective deterrents were fear of social sanctions by friends, family, or peers; legal sanctions; side effects; and moral considerations. Female athletes and younger athletes perceived more deterrents than older, male athletes. As for incentives to dope, the type of sport was often a decisive factor. Top incentives related to availability of qualified medical supervision, faster recovery from injury or wears and tears of training and competition, complete confidence an athlete would not be caught, and whether doping would ensure victory/financial security or was the only way to extend an athlete's career.

Read more:

L. Pedersen, P.C. Borchgrevink, H.P. Breivik, and O.M. Søndenå Fredheim. 2014. "A Randomized, Double-Blind, Double-Dummy Comparison of Short- and Long-Acting Dihydrocodeine in Chronic Non-Malignant Pain." Pain 155(4):881–88.

Guidelines for opioid treatment of chronic nonmalignant pain recommend long-acting over short-acting opioid formulations. But the evidence for this recommendation is poor. This randomized, double-blind, 8-week trial compared paracetamol (acetaminophen) plus long-acting dihydrocodeine tablets (a weak opioid) with short-acting dihydrocodeine tablets in 60 adult patients with chronic nonmalignant pain seen at a Norway treatment clinic. All patients used codeine-paracetamol tablets before the trial, consuming 150 to 300 mg of codeine and 2,000 to 5,000 mg of paracetamol daily. More than one third of patients in each arm dropped out of the study. The primary outcome was stability in pain intensity, measured as the difference between the highest and lowest pain intensity reported on an 11-point numerical rating scale in a 7-day diary. Stability was greater in the long-acting group, but the difference was not clinically or statistically significant. Mean pain scores, sleep quality, depression, health-related quality of life, and adverse events did not differ significantly. Both groups experienced breakthrough pain.

Read more:

Related Article

M. Sullivan. 2014. "Commentary: Will Data Destroy our Faith in Long-Acting Opioids?" Pain 155(4):843–44.

This commentary concludes that the trial described above provides evidence that many purported benefits of long-acting opioids may not exist. Long-acting opioids also appear to pose greater addiction risks.

Read more:

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence at Brandeis University. 2014. "PDMPs and Third Party Payers Meeting: Report of Proceedings."

The 2012 Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and Third-Party Payers meeting convened more than 75 insurers, government staff, outside experts, and state PDMP administrators. These proceedings summarize eight workgroup discussions on the value and feasibility of sharing prescription data. The principal recommendation is to allow all types of medical insurers to use PDMP data. The proceedings also summarize papers presented at the meeting and provide links to most papers.

Read more:


N.D. Volkow, T.R. Frieden, P.S. Hyde, and S.S. Cha. 2014. "Medication-Assisted Therapies—Tackling the Opioid-Overdose Epidemic." New England Journal of Medicine, doi:10.1056/NEJMp1402780.

In a commentary, directors of three Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies (the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and the Medical Director of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services called upon healthcare providers to expand their use of medications to treat opioid addiction and reduce overdose deaths. They described a number of misperceptions that have limited access to these potentially lifesaving medications, including inadequate provider education and misunderstanding of addiction medications by the public, healthcare providers, insurers, and patients. One common misperception is that medication-assisted therapies (MATs) replace one addiction for another. As Dr. Volkow and her colleagues note, HHS agencies are now actively collaborating with public and private stakeholders to expand access to and improve use of MATs.

Read more:


Benzodiazepine Addiction Meds the Same, but Different?
April 22, 2014

Inpatient benzodiazepine detox typically switches patients to a long-acting benzodiazepine or phenobarbital at a comparable dose to current use, then gradually tapers down the dosage. No randomized controlled trials compare these approaches. In a retrospective chart review reported at the American Society of Addiction Medicine's Medical–Scientific Conference, detox with long-acting benzodiazepines was associated with one day fewer in the hospital than phenobarbital, but with an increased risk for hallucinations.

Read more:

FDA Advisers Vote Against Approving New Opioid Painkiller
April 22, 2014

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted unanimously against approval of Moxduo, a powerful pain reliever combining morphine and oxycodone. The drug's manufacturer, QRxPharma, claimed Moxduo has a lower risk of side effects and respiratory problems than other opioids. The committee voted unanimously that QRxPharma had not proved Moxduo is less likely to cause potentially life-threatening respiratory suppression than taking morphine or oxycodone.

Read more:

Canadian Drug Seller Fills Maine Prescriptions in India, Alleges Maine Pharmacy Association President
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
April 16, 2014

A Canadian company is allegedly filling prescriptions in India and other countries for Maine patients, according to a complaint from the president of the Maine Pharmacy Association (MPA). MPA's president ordered three medications from the Canada Drug Center after learning about the company in a newspaper advertisement. When his order arrived, the labels indicated the drugs had been manufactured and the prescriptions filled in India, Turkey, and Mauritius—a violation of state law requiring the Canada Drug Center to sell Maine consumers only drugs made or processed in Canada. The Canada Drug Center was already on the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy list of "Not Recommended Sites," which are out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards.

Read more:

Eric Holder Calls On First Responders to Carry Naloxone, Anti-Overdose Drug
Huffington Post
April 16, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder asked police and fire departments to equip employees with naloxone. He called on first responders, including state and local law enforcement agencies, to train and equip personnel on the front lines to use the overdose-reversal drug. Seventeen states have passed legislation expanding naloxone access. But some have met strong opposition from people who suspect the drug could give addicts a false sense of security and be dangerous in the hands of nonmedical professionals.

Read more:

New Painkiller Rekindles Addiction Concerns
New York Times Blog
April 21, 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of the country's 38,329 drug overdose deaths in 2010 involved pain relievers like hydrocodone and oxycodone—narcotics that send 420,000 Americans to emergency rooms each year. That's why many state health officials and advocacy groups were appalled when the Food and Drug Administration approved Zohydro ER, a long-acting formulation of hydrocodone, against the recommendation of its expert advisory committee. The short-acting form, sold as Vicodin and Lortab, is already the most prescribed drug in the country—and the most abused. "People are fearful this will be another original OxyContin," said Sharon Walsh, director of the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research at the University of Kentucky.

Read more:

Regulating in an Era of Increasingly Sophisticated Medicines—Striking the Balance Between Patient Benefits and Risks
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
April 22, 2014

At the 2014 Rx Prescription Drug Abuse Summit, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg spoke about efforts to confront the opioid abuse tragedy. In addition to improving labeling, FDA is ramping up patient education and post-marketing vigilance. The agency is working with Brandeis University to combine and analyze data provided by several state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to better identify problematic prescribing and use patterns. "Building on the vision originally put forward by Congressman Rogers to create robust PDMPs, I think we all must ensure that they fulfill their promise to improve patient care and reduce abuse, overdose, and diversion," said Dr. Hamburg.

Read more:

Balancing the Prevention of Opioid Abuse and Appropriate Pain Management
Margaret Hamburg, FDA Voice
April 22, 2014

Dr. Margaret Hamburg shares concerns about safe and appropriate prescription opioid use and the public health consequences of misuse and abuse.

Read more:

Coalitions in Action: New Coalitions in Iraq Make Headway on Efforts to Curb Rx Drug Abuse and Tobacco Use
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
April 17, 2014

Last fall, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America began building anti-drug alliances with local leaders in northern Iraq. Two coalitions are making significant changes to local policies and social norms to address the high rate of prescription drug abuse and tobacco use. After conducting a community assessment and survey, the Ankawa Coalition discovered 87 percent of pharmacists were giving out prescription medicines to people who didn't have a valid prescription. While many were turning a blind eye, some tried to comply with the law but found it difficult to distinguish between real and fake prescriptions. After launching a campaign to educate pharmacists about the importance of complying with the law, the coalition worked with Ankawa police and the pharmacists union to increase enforcement. They are seeing major improvements.

Read more:

'Medicating Our Troops into Oblivion': Prescription Drugs Said to Be Endangering U.S. Soldiers
International Business Times
April 19, 2014

U.S. Army Specialist Kyle Wesolowski returned from Iraq in December 2010. To treat his anxiety and depression, psychiatrists at the Fort Hood army post in Texas prescribed seven different drugs. Today, Wesolowski believes the medicines made him homicidal. The violent tendencies of some veterans cannot be written off as an aberration, according to Psychiatrist Peter Breggin. Dr. Breggin says such episodes are the result of a "massive prescription drug epidemic" that encompasses the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, in which tens of thousands of soldiers and veterans returning from traumatic tours of duty consume drugs that can have significant side effects, including intensifying feelings of rage.

Read more:

Combat Vets Battle an Enemy Within: Addiction
April 17, 2014

In the 12 years after 9/11, prescriptions of four primary opiate pain relievers—oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone—rose 270 percent at VA hospitals, according to internal VA records obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting. When Pearson Crosby came home from war in 2008, he was addicted to prescription pain pills. The VA insisted if he wanted to continue getting care, he needed to go to the methadone clinic.

Read more:

The Pulse: Court Help for Veterans Who Become Addicts
April 27, 2014

When injured soldiers are prescribed pain medication, they may become addicted, run out of the medicine, graduate to heroin, and turn to a life of crime to support their habit. Veterans Treatment Court began in 2008 so soldiers involved in the justice system could appear in front of judges with a unique understanding of their problems. This article tells the story of 29-year-old Justin Slesser, an Iraq war veteran addicted to prescription pain relievers, who said veterans court may have saved his life.

Read more:

Report Reveals Role of Doctors in Painkiller Abuse Trends
April 16, 2014

A 3-year study of prescription pain relievers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine (see Weekly Update, Issue 62) revealed that people with the highest overdose risk obtain medication from a doctor's prescription. Individuals who use prescription opioids nonmedically are also 400 percent more likely than the average person to purchase medication from a drug dealer or stranger.

Read more:

How to Take Fewer Prescription Drugs
Huffington Post
April 1, 2014

Dr. Andrew Weil discusses the country's prescription drug problem, saying "unequivocally that Americans take too many prescription medications, and that a large percentage of these are doing more harm than good." He says "It's difficult to choose a 'most egregious' category winner, but certainly a contender is placing millions of young children on potent psychoactive pharmaceuticals—with unknown long-term effects on developing brains—after quick, inexpert diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder." Dr. Weil offers simple advice to prevent prescription drug addiction.

Read more:

Aetna Prescription Drug Programs Help Members Prevent Misuse, Understand Proper Disposal and Reduce Overall Medical Costs
The Wall Street Journal
April 25, 2014

Aetna announced its support for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day as a way to educate the public about storing and disposing of medication, as well as the dangers of prescription drug abuse, misuse, and trafficking. Ren Elder, head of Pharmacy Management, said prescription abuse "adds billions of dollars in health care, work place, and criminal justice costs each year." Aetna aims to inform members about proper medicine adherence and disposal with online tools, mobile applications, and information about plans and services.

Read more:

Other State and Local News

Oklahoma Tackles the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
Huffington Post
April 23, 2014

As one of the top prescription drug-death states, Oklahoma is seeking ways to curb the problem. On April 14, the Oklahoma Senate passed HB 2589, amending the Oklahoma Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act to include four of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Possessing any of the following will be punishable by 10 years to life in prison on the first offense: 1,000 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of morphine; 400 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of oxycodone; 50 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of hydrocodone; and 15 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of benzodiazepine.

Read more:

12 Accused of Trafficking in Prescription Drugs
Nordonia Hills News Leader
April 22, 2014

Twelve people have been indicted in a prescription drug trafficking operation after an ongoing investigation, according to Ohio Prosecutor John Thatcher. The indictments include more than 400 counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs, aggravated funding of drug activity, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Thatcher said the drugs included more than 100,000 prescription pills, with a street value of about $2 million. Shutting down the operation is a significant step in combating Ohio's opioid addiction epidemic.

Read more:

3 More Florida Men Charged in $80 Million Prescription Drug Heist in Connecticut
Fox News
April 22, 2014

Three Florida men who allegedly stole about $80 million in prescription drugs from a Connecticut Eli Lilly warehouse have been charged with conspiracy and theft, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The theft from the warehouse in Enfield 4 years ago included thousands of boxes of Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Prozac, Gemzar, and other drugs.

Read more:

Poisoning Deaths Involving Opioid Analgesics in New York State, 2003–2012
New York State Department of Health
Accessed April 24, 2014

While poisoning deaths in New York involving any drugs have generally increased, opioid analgesics have accounted for an increasing share—nearly doubling over the last decade. Opioid-related mortality rates are lower than some reported nationally, but are consistent with countrywide data showing a notable surge in the past 10 years. Deaths involving opioid analgesics are consistently higher among people ages 45–64, white, male, and living outside of New York City. The largest increases from 2003 to 2012 are among people aged 65–85, in the "other" racial category in New York City. The increase in opioid-related deaths does not differ by sex.

Read more:

Report: Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Should Be Open to Third-Party Insurers, Including Medicaid
April 22, 2014

If insurance companies and state Medicaid agencies had access to state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), they could use the data to help prevent overdoses and deaths, suggests a recently released study. In Oklahoma, third-party payers like health insurance companies and the state's Medicaid program cannot access the PDMP.

Read more:

Deputy Uses Narcan to Save Man from Heroin Overdose
April 21, 2014

The Broome County, N.Y., Sheriff's Office Highway Patrol Division recently used naloxone to save a 25-year-old who had reportedly overdosed on heroin. The Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a woman who said her boyfriend was unresponsive and may have overdosed. When Deputy Matthew O'Brien arrived on the scene, the victim was blue in the face, unresponsive, and gasping for breath. O'Brien used naloxone on the victim, and within several minutes the man regained consciousness and began breathing on his own. This is the second incident in which naloxone was used by sheriff's office personnel to save a life.

Read more:

Naloxone, a Nasal Spray to Cure a Heroin Overdose, Being Given to Staten Island Cops
Daily News
April 18, 2014

All Staten Island police officers will be given two doses of naloxone to prevent death in cases of heroin and prescription pain pill overdoses, according to New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan.

Read more:

Lawyer: State Police Misplaced 100 Oxycodone Pills
The Journal News
April 22, 2014

On April 1, 2011, a White Plains defense attorney got a call from the Westchester District Attorney's Office telling him they would not be able to prosecute his client on felony drug charges. New York State Police had lost nearly 100 oxycodone pills (the case's evidence, street value in excess of $2,000). The botched case is part of an unfolding scandal at the state police barracks in Hawthorne. According to the Albany Times Union, the barracks were the target of a 2-year internal affairs investigation sparked by missing or stolen evidence, including prescription drugs.

Read more:

Three Charged with Selling Prescription Drugs
April 22, 2014

Three people were charged with selling prescription drugs in Pennsylvania's Towanda Borough and Towanda Township. All three face preliminary hearings in April.

Read more:

Road to Hell: Prescription Drugs Took Local Teen from Car Accident to Heroin Addiction, Forced Prostitution
April 21, 2014

A Lorain County, Ohio, girl with an OxyContin prescription ended up addicted to heroin. She began using OxyContin to relieve pain after a car accident in 2008. The girl told jurors she started taking the drug as prescribed, but eventually became addicted. When her refill ran out, she turned to the streets. Her addiction coincided with a statewide pill mill crackdown, which resulted in suppliers upping the street price of pills. At 19, she was selling her body to feed a heroin habit and avoid withdrawal.

Read more:

Fort Hood; Second Man Sentenced in Theft of Prescription Drugs
April 24, 2014

Michael Anderson was sentenced in Waco's federal court after he earlier pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to fraudulently obtain prescription pain medicine. U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr., sentenced the man to serve 2 years on probation and ordered him to pay a $500 fine and $100 in special assessment to the court on a charge of obtaining a controlled substance by deception.

Read more:


The Truth About Prescription Drug Abuse and the Truth About Painkillers
Foundation for a Drug-Free World
Accessed April 24, 2014

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World released two real-story videos: the Truth About Prescription Drug Abuse and the Truth about Painkillers.

Read more:

'Your Voice, Your Vote': Prescription Drug Abuse
April 21, 2014

Oregon has the highest rate of prescription drug abuse among 15- to 19-year-olds in the United States. In this video, Dr. Sharon Meieran, an emergency room physician; former Oregon U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton; and Sarah Pierce, a one-time pain pill addict, join KATU's Steve Dunn to discuss the problem and solutions. (Duration: 22:19 minutes)

Read more:

The Enemy at Home: Veterans Addicted and Dying from VA Pain Pills
April 25, 2014

An Eyewitness News investigation showed thousands of U.S. soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines survived the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan only to be ambushed back home by an unexpected enemy—prescription drugs. Military records and independent studies suggest many returning veterans received staggering amounts of powerful narcotics to treat physical and emotional wounds. Veterans and military insiders are now coming forward to expose the Department of Veterans Affairs' flawed and dangerous pain management program. (Duration: 7:24 minutes)

Read more:


The Value of Random Drug Testing: In the Prevalence of Prescription Drug Abuse
PreCheck, Incorporated
May 7, 2014
2 p.m. ET

This 1-hour Webinar will cover best practices for implementing a random drug testing program for employees and will review state laws. The Webinar will also discuss the extent of prescription drug abuse in the United States and how it may affect the workplace.

Read more:

Grant Announcements

FY 14 Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice
Deadline: May 6, 2014

Prescription Drug Overdose: Boost for State Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Deadline: June 4, 2014

Grant Awarded

Oregon Gets New Grant for Prescription Drug Info
April 21, 2014

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a $3.3 million grant to extend the Best Buy Drug Program, an initiative of Consumers Union that provides free, impartial, and straightforward information to help people make safe and effective prescription drug choices. For the past several years, the program has offered unbiased, consumer-friendly recommendations based on evidence of effectiveness, safety, and cost.

Read more:

Save the Date

Sixth Annual American Medicine Chest Challenge National Day of Awareness and Safe Disposal of Rx and OTC Medicine
American Medicine Chest Challenge
November 8, 2014

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

RX for Prevention: Preventing and Responding to Prescription Drug Abuse on Campus
Temple University, Villanova University, U.S. Attorneys' Office, and the Clery Center
June 11, 2014
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Pharmacy Diversion Awareness Conference
U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration
June 28–29, 2014—Renaissance Phoenix (Ariz.) Downtown
July 12–13, 2014—Sheraton Philadelphia (Pa.) Downtown Hotel
August 2–3, 2014—Denver (Colo.) Marriott Tech Center

CADCA's Mid-Year Training Institute 2014
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
July 20–Jul 24, 2014
Orlando, Florida

The Mid-Year Training Institute offers in-depth training sessions—from fundamentals of coalition building and strategic planning to evaluation and research—for community coalition leaders and staff. The Institute also includes personal coaching sessions and National Youth Leadership Initiative activities.

Read more:

27th Annual NPN Prevention Research Conference
National Prevention Network
September 15–18, 2014

2014 Harold Rogers PDMP National Meeting
Brandeis University, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Training and Technical Assistance Center
September 22–24, 2014
Washington, District of Columbia
The Weekly Update is a service provided by the SAMHSA Preventing Prescription Abuse in the Workplace Technical Assistance Center (PAW) to keep the field abreast of recent news and journal articles to assist in forming policy, research, and programs to reduce prescription drug misuse or abuse. Please note, the materials listed are not reflective of SAMHSA's or PAW's viewpoint or opinion and are not assessed for validity, reliability or quality. The Weekly Update should not be considered an endorsement of the findings. Readers are cautioned not to act on the results of single studies, but rather to seek bodies of evidence. Copyright considerations prevent PAW from providing full text of journal articles listed in the Weekly Update.