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February 18, 2016

PAW Weekly Update

                                          
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SAMHSA
           
SAMHSA Prescription Drug Abuse Weekly Update
         
         
WEEKLY
           
UPDATE
         
                             
          Issue 161  |  February 18, 2016          
   
                                                               
                                                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                   
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.                      
               
                                                                                                                   
 Webinar: Synthetic Drugs                      
National Drug Early Warning System Coordinating Center, University of Maryland                      
Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 2:00 p.m. (ET)                      

Jill Head, supervisory chemist with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Testing and Research Laboratory, will discuss the history of synthetic drugs, evolution of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones, and new psychoactive substances with a focus on newer versions of fentanyl.                      

Register:                      
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/7e46b480fa1cdd74d746f627e8486654                       
               
                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                     
Index                            
Featured                            
Journal Articles and Reports                            
Opinion and Professional Development                            
National                            
Marijuana                            
International                            
Northeast/Mid-Atlantic News                            
South News                            
Midwest News                            
West News                            
Webinars                            
Grant Announcements                            
National Take-Back Initiative                            
Take-Back Events & Drop Boxes                            
Upcoming Conferences and Workshops                            
                       

Featured

P. Krishnamurthy, G. Ranganathan, C. Williams, and G. Doulatram. 2016. “Impact of Urine Drug Screening on No Shows and Dropouts among Chronic Pain Patients: A Propensity-Matched Cohort Study.” Pain Physician 19(2):89–100.                        

Regressions examined drop rates among 723 Texas pain clinic patients who collectively completed 4,448 visits. Urine drug screening during the first visit was associated with increased risk of not showing up for the second visit (odds ratio = 2.73); no-show rates were 10.2 percent for those without urine screening versus 23.8 percent for those with urine screening. Among those tested, the no-show rate was higher for those who tested positive for illicit substances (34.6 percent) than for those who tested negative (21.7 percent). Risk of dropout doubled with every additional urine drug screening. These findings were replicated in propensity-score matched subsamples aimed at addressing potential non-random selection, as well as in within-subject analysis accounting for individual-level no-show propensity.                        

Read more:                        
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26815253                                                  

Invisible Threat: On-the-Job Prescription Drug Abuse a Growing Concern in Indiana                        
Sarah Einselen, Pharos-Tribune                        
February 8, 2016                        

A survey by the Indiana Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force has found that half of employers test for synthetic opioids during drug testing and more than 60 percent were not confident their staff could recognize the signs of employees’ prescription drug misuse. The task force reported that people dependent on narcotics are 10 times more likely to miss work and a third less productive. They are also responsible for 40 percent of all industrial fatalities. Some employers have not noticed prescription drug misuse interfering with their businesses. However, once people grow tolerant of the drugs, it is hard to tell if they are using anything. Healthy Companies, the occupational health clinic at Logansport Memorial Hospital in Logansport, Ind., serves more than 400 local companies. Positive results are rare among the 670 employees at the hospital. Managers are trained by the hospital’s employee assistance program to learn the signs and symptoms of prescription drug misuse.                        

Read more:                        
http://indianaeconomicdigest.com/Main.asp?SectionID=31&SubSectionID=135&ArticleID=82926                       
               
               

 Journal Articles and Reports

S.R. Bauer, L. Hitchner, H. Harrison, J. Gerstenberger, and S. Steiger. 2016. “Predictors of Higher Risk Chronic Opioid Prescriptions in an Academic Primary Care Setting.” Substance Abuse, doi:10.1080/08897077.2015.1129020.                

Of 842 patients who received at least five opioid prescriptions for non-cancer pain between March 2012 and March 2013 from two California academic primary care clinics, 47 percent received prescriptions for 50 mg or more morphine equivalents per day. In multivariate regression, resident primary care providers were less likely to prescribe high doses than faculty providers (odds ratio [OR] = 0.66). Patients with a non-local home address were more likely to be prescribed higher doses (OR = 2.1). Hispanic, Asian, and older patients were less likely to be prescribed higher doses. Urine drug testing was used to monitor 35 percent of these long-term users. Odds of testing were higher for patients who were black, had resident primary care providers, lived locally, or were prescribed higher opioid doses.                

Read more:                
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08897077.2015.1129020                                  

C. Facey, D. Brooks, and J.W Boland. 2016. “Assessment of the Appropriateness of Naloxone Administration to Patients Receiving Long-Term Opioid Therapy.” Hospital Practice, doi:10.1080/21548331.2016.1149016.                

In 2012, 1,206 patients on long-term opioid therapy at a hospital in the United Kingdom were prescribed take-home naloxone, and the hospital administered naloxone to 32 patients. The authors reviewed medical charts of 16 of those administered naloxone (those who were not pediatric patients, not on methadone maintenance, overdosed unintentionally, and had opioid prescriptions). Medical charts did not state that 12 of the 16 had opioid-induced respiratory depression and 4 did not document respiratory rate and oxygen saturations. All naloxone doses administered were higher than the dose recommended by national guidelines for this patient group.                 

Read more:                
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21548331.2016.1149016                                  

A. Fenelon, L.H. Chen, and S.P. Baker. 2016. “Major Causes of Injury Death and the Life Expectancy Gap Between the United States and Other High-Income Countries.” JAMA 315(6):609–11, doi:10.1001/jama.2015.15564.                

Life expectancy is 2.2 years shorter in the United States than in Japan and 11 comparable European countries. In 2012, all-cause, age-adjusted U.S. death rates per 100,000 population were 865 for men and 625 for women, well above the rates of 772 and 494 in comparison countries. Drug poisonings accounted for 14 percent of the life expectancy gap among men and 9 percent among women.                

Read more:                
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2488300                                  

N.A. Fingleton, M.C. Watson, E.M. Duncan, and C. Matheson. 2016. “Non-Prescription Medicine Misuse, Abuse and Dependence: A Cross-Sectional Survey of the UK General Population.” Journal of Public Health, doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdv204.                

A postal survey of 1,000 individuals ages 18 and older randomly drawn from the U.K. Edited Electoral Register drew 434 responses. Lifetime prevalence of misuse of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs—primarily codeine-containing analgesics, sedative antihistamines, sleep aids, and smoking cessation products containing nicotine—was 19.3 percent, with 11.9 percent using a higher dose than recommended; 10.6 percent using more often than recommended; 10.6 percent using for a longer time than recommended; and 4.1 percent developing use disorders, including 2 percent who became dependent. Younger age, having a longstanding illness that requires regular OTC drug use, and ever having used illicit drugs or used prescription drugs to get high were predictive of misuse.                

Read more:                
https://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/01/19/pubmed.fdv204.full                                  

K.B. Reisinger, P.C. Rutledge, and S.M. Conklin. 2016. “Study Drugs and Academic Integrity: The Role of Beliefs About an Academic Honor Code in the Prediction of Nonmedical Prescription Drug Use for Academic Enhancement.” Journal of College Student Development 57(1):65–78, doi:10.1353/csd.2016.0011.                

In a 2012 e-mail survey with a 32.5 percent response rate, 19 percent of 645 undergraduates at a small, private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania reported using attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication for academic enhancement: Academic use of nonmedical prescription drugs was higher among participants who had lower levels of belief that use violated the academic honor code and among students whose peers were users.                 

Read more:                
http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/
journal_of_college_student_development/v057/57.1.reisinger.html
                                  

M. Tjäderborn, A.K. Jönsson, T.Z. Sandström, J. Ahlner, and S. Hägg. 2016. “Non-Prescribed Use of Psychoactive Prescription Drugs Among Drug-Impaired Drivers in Sweden.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.01.031.                

Of the 2,225 drivers impaired by prescription drugs in Sweden during 2006–2009, 68 percent were using drugs not prescribed to them. Incidence and nonmedical use rates, respectively, were 103 and 76 percent for flunitrazepam, 1,098 and 74 percent for diazepam, 192 and 40 percent for tramadol, 60 and 30 percent for zopiclone, and 60 and 21 percent for zopiclone. Younger age and multiple substance use were associated with non-prescribed use.                

Read more:                
http://www.drugandalcoholdependence.com/article/S0376-8716(16)00078-8/abstract                 
               

Opinion and Professional Development

B.D.L. Marshall, T.C. Green, J.L. Yedinak, and S.E. Hadland. 2016. “Harm Reduction for Young People Who Use Prescription Opioids Extra-Medically: Obstacles and Opportunities.” International Journal of Drug Policy, doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.01.022.                

This commentary describes harm reduction strategies for young people who misuse prescription opioids. It examines individual, social, and policy barriers to implementation of evidence-based approaches and highlights the need for expanded services and additional interventions to engage this diverse population. Strategies to mitigate polysubstance use are a priority. The authors recommend a combination of medical, social, and structural harm reduction interventions. They believe meaningful involvement of youth in harm reduction strategy implementation is crucial.                

Read more:                
http://www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959(16)00054-2/abstract                 
               

National

Physician Gets 30-Year Sentence for Overdose Murders                
Robert Lowes, Medscape                
February 10, 2016                

Hsiu Ying “Lisa” Tseng, M.D., has become the first U.S. physician convicted of murder for overprescribing drugs to a patient who overdosed. Dr. Tseng was found guilty of second-degree murder in the deaths of three California men, 19 counts of illegally prescribing a controlled substance, and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. In total, nine of her patients died within a 3-year period, and she took in more than $5 million. Tseng was sentenced to 30-years-to-life-in-prison.                 

Read more:                
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/858782                                  

White House Pushes Back Against Super Bowl Ad About Movantik                
Gregory Korte, USA Today                
February 8, 2016                

The White House has criticized AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo pharmaceutical companies for a Super Bowl ad that marketed the drug Movantik to treat opioid-induced constipation. The White House thinks the drug could help fuel the opioid addiction crisis.                

Read more:                
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/02/08/white-house-pushes-back-against-super-bowl-ad-opioid-side-effect-drug/80016514/#                                  

Senators Concerned About Possible Tie Between Hospital Pain Control Surveys, Overprescribing                
Joe Lawlor, Portland Press Herald                
February 10, 2016                

Twenty-six U.S. senators have sent a letter to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, questioning whether hospital patient satisfaction surveys about pain control should be tied to federal funding. The senators requested a “robust examination” of the survey, expressing concern that the current evaluation system may inappropriately penalize hospitals and pressure physicians who exercise sound medical judgment in limiting opioid pain relievers to certain patients and instead reward those who prescribe opioids more frequently.                

Read more:                
http://www.pressherald.com/2016/02/09/collins-cites-possible-tie-between-hospital-pain-control-surveys-overprescription-of-opioidsf                                  

Providers Oppose CMS Proposal Targeting Prescription Drug Abuse by Part D Enrollees                
Kameron L. Brackins, Baker & Hostetler LLP                
February 11, 2016                

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has solicited comments on whether providers should be required to consult their state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to identify patients’ risk of nonmedical use of controlled substances. Commenters were concerned about the logistical burdens of a PDMP review requirement; inefficiencies that might arise in the patient discharge process, and the possibility of forcing a substantial investment to ensure the accuracy of patient history.                

Read more:                
http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=7e9e4fd8-9b3c-4738-aa61-3cb4a400d91c                                  

Improvements to Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Can Help Stop Overdose Deaths                
Cynthia Riley, Pew Charitable Trusts                
February 11, 2016                

Prescription drug monitoring programs can help stop opioid misuse. They are effective in changing prescriber behavior and reducing the number of patients who visit multiple providers seeking the same or similar drugs. The author recommends that states explore implementing practices—such as unsolicited reporting, delegation, and electronic health record integration—which can make the monitoring programs more effective tools.                

Read more:                
http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/analysis/2016/02/11/improvements-to-prescription-drug-monitoring-programs-can-help-stop-overdose-deaths                                  

Bill to Address Prescription Drug Abuse, Access Clears Senate Panel                
Pharmacy Times                
February 11, 2016                

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Drug Enforcement Administration to report to Congress on patient obstacles to legitimate access to controlled substances and how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and misuse of prescription drugs.                

Read more:                
http://www.pharmacytimes.com/association-news/bill-to-address-prescription-drug-abuse-access-clears-senate-panel-                                  

Parents Should Monitor Student Athletes Prescribed Opioids for Injuries                
By Meredith Cohn, Baltimore Sun                
February 10, 2016                

Elizabeth Winter, M.D., recommends that parents monitor student athletes’ prescription medications. Dr. Winter urges parents to ask doctors to use other methods of pain relief, especially if their child may be using alcohol or other drugs. She answers questions, such as “How common is it for a young person to be prescribed opioids for pain?” And, “How the child or others in the household can come to misuse the drugs?”                

Read more:                
http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/blog/bs-hs-ask-the-expert-opioids-20160111-story.html                                  

New Walgreens Programs to Help Curb Medication Misuse and Overdose Deaths                
Walgreens                
February 9, 2016                

Walgreens will install medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drugstores in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The nationwide drugstore chain will also make naloxone available without a prescription at pharmacies in 35 states and the District of Columbia.                

Read more:                
http://news.walgreens.com/press-releases/general-news/walgreens-leads-fight-against-prescription-drug-abuse-with-new-programs-to-help-curb-misuse-of-medications-and-the-rise-in-overdose-deaths.htm                 
                 

Marijuana

J.P. Caulkins and B. Kilmer. 2016. “Considering Marijuana Legalization Carefully: Insights for Other Jurisdictions from Analysis for Vermont.” Addiction, doi:10.1111/add.13289.                  

This paper analyzes the fiscal consequences of alternative approaches to marijuana legalization in Vermont. It distinguishes possible regimes along four dimensions: which organizations are allowed to produce and supply the drug, the regulations under which they operate, the nature of the products that can be distributed, and taxes and prices. Vermont’s decriminalization of marijuana already cut its costs of enforcing marijuana prohibition against adults to about $1 per resident per year. That is probably less than the cost of regulating a legal market. Revenues from taxing residents’ purchases after legalization could be many times that amount, so the main fiscal cost of prohibition after decriminalization relative to outright legalization may be foregone tax revenues, not enforcement costs. Since 40 times as many potential users live within 200 miles of Vermont’s borders as live within the state; drug tourism and associated tax revenues will be important considerations, as will the response of other states. If another state legalized with lower taxes, that could undermine Vermont tax collections even on purchases by its residents.                  

Read more:                  
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.13289/abstract                                      

N.I. Manasseh and N. Ndem. 2015. “Exploring the Performance of Mason Workers in the Construction Industry: New Evidence from the Use of Cannabis at Work Site in a Field Experiment.” Social Sciences and Psychology 1(1), SSPOA-1-001.                  

This study randomized 80 masons from Uyo, Nigeria. At the start of the work shift, the researchers fed all participants breakfast and participants in the experiment group smoked a joint containing 1.2 percent tetrahydrocannabinol. Over the next 4 hours, the cannabis smokers completed 22 percent more blocks of quality masonry than the control group.                  

Read more:                  
http://crescopublications.org/pdf/SSPOA/SSPOA-1-001.pdf                                      

Small Businesses Face New Challenges with the Rise of Medical Marijuana                  
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun                  
February 5, 2016                  

As the number of certified medical marijuana patients rises in Illinois, businesses should think about how they will address issues of medical marijuana in the workplace. Experts recommend establishing a formal drug policy related to medical marijuana. The U.S. Department of Labor website provides a step-by-step guide for building a customized, drug-free workplace policy. Business owners must be careful not to discriminate against employees because such actions could put an employer at risk. Businesses enacting drug testing as part of company policy should administer tests to all employees. If small business owners cannot afford drug testing for all employees, the next option is to review job performance. An employee does not have to disclose any medical condition, unless factors exist that would affect job performance. Any declines in performance should be documented with dates and as much detail as possible.                    

Read more:                  
http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-naperville-marijuana-small-business-st-0205-20160205-story.html                                      

Medical Marijuana Need Not Be Accommodated by New Mexico Employers                  
Little V. West, Holland & Hart LLP                  
February 11, 2016                  

A federal court in New Mexico has ruled that an employee terminated for testing positive for marijuana did not have a cause of action against his employer for failure to accommodate his use of medical marijuana. The plaintiff, Rojerio Garcia, interviewed for a management position at Tractor Supply store. He explained that he used medical marijuana under the state’s medical cannabis program as a treatment for HIV/AIDS. Tractor Supply hired Garcia, sent him for a drug test, and he tested positive for cannabis metabolites. He was terminated from employment. Garcia filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Division, alleging unlawful discrimination based on Tractor Supply’s failure to accommodate his legal use of marijuana to treat his serious medical condition under New Mexico law. The author recommends that employers (1) assure that their drug policies apply to all controlled substances, (2) clearly state that a positive drug test may result in termination of employment, regardless of whether the employee uses medical marijuana during working hours or appears to be “under the influence” at work, (3) communicate drug-free workplace and testing policies to employees, and (4) train supervisors and managers on enforcing the policies in a consistent and uniform manner.                   

Read more:                  
http://www.natlawreview.com/article/medical-marijuana-need-not-be-accommodated-new-mexico-employers                                      

Legal Pot Won’t Affect Workplace Drug Testing in Canada, Expert Says                  
Alex MacPherson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix                  
February 10, 2016                  

Keir Vallance, who practiced labor and employment law before joining the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law, expects legal marijuana in Canada to be regulated the same way as alcohol. Employers will retain “relatively broad” powers to make drug testing a condition of employment. Employers may struggle to prove impairment for marijuana because it stays in someone’s system for days or weeks after using. Dale Ledoux, who owns a Saskatoon workplace safety services company, does not expect major changes since he believes it will not affect any of the current testing procedures.                  

Read more:                  
http://thestarphoenix.com/business/local-business/legal-pot-wont-affect-workplace-drug-testing-expert-says                                     

First 6 Months of Minnesota’s Medical Marijuana Program Bring Wonders, Worries                  
Jennifer Brooks, Star Tribune                  
February 7, 2016                  

The first 6 months of Minnesota’s medical marijuana program has had some successes and challenges. It reduced 3-year-old Wyatt Hauser’s seizures from hundreds to just 80 per day. Some chemotherapy and AIDS patients regained their appetites, and hospice patients found ease in their final days. One issue was that a month’s supply of cannabis cost from $200 to well over $1,000. Some patients skipped doses to save money, while others were forced to drop out of the program. Physicians also worried about referring patients to a drug that is still illegal at the federal level and has not gone through years of clinical trials in the United States. (Includes video: 4:56 minutes)                  

Read more:                  
http://www.startribune.com/first-six-months-of-minnesota-s-medical-marijuana-program-bring-wonders-worries/367987011                                      

Mormon Church Comes Out Against Utah Medical Marijuana Bill                  
Associated Press, Denver Post                  
February 6, 2016                  

The Mormon Church has come out in opposition to a bill in Utah’s senate that would allow medical use of edible marijuana products. The church’s leaders are worried about the unintended consequences of the measure. The church does not oppose another medical marijuana bill that would allow access to marijuana-infused oil. The church lobbyists declined to explain their reasoning. Both medical marijuana bills have received committee approval and are expected to be debated before the full senate.                  

Read more:                  
http://www.denverpost.com/ci_29486187/mormon-church-comes-out-against-utah-medical-marijuana                                      

Cannabix Technologies Launches New Corporate Video—Marijuana Breathalyzer                  
Market Wired                  
February 5, 2016                  

Cannabix Technologies, Inc., has launched a corporate video that outlines its focus on developing a marijuana breathalyzer for law enforcement and the workplace. The video can be viewed on the company’s website.                   

Read more:                  
http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/cannabix-technologies-launches-new-corporate-video-marijuana-breathalyzer-cnsx-blo-2094485.htm                 
               

International

Canada’s Health Minister to Tell British Columbia Hospitals to Tighten Control on Drugs                
Pamela Fayerman, Vancouver Sun                
February 11, 2016                

Canada’s health minister is calling for hospitals in British Columbia to adopt rigorous policies and procedures to prevent theft and misuse. The call comes after Kerri O’Keefe, who worked for about 15 years in Vancouver General Hospital’s emergency department, died last summer after injecting a stolen hospital anesthesia drug, rocuronium. She had a habit of stealing used labeled and unlabeled syringes. Officials are working on installing security cameras in hospitals, more locked and automated drug dispensing machines, and different biohazard waste bins. Nurses and doctors will be expected to squirt leftover medications into a slush pail that mixes all drug residues.                

Read more:                
http://www.vancouversun.com/mobile/news/top-stories/health+
minister+tell+hospitals+tighten+control+drugs/11711431/story.html
                 
               

Northeast/Mid-Atlantic News

Massachusetts Dental Schools to Introduce Training on Opioid Abuse                
Matt Murphy, State House News Service                
February 11, 2016                

Dental schools at Harvard, Tufts, and Boston universities have agreed to introduce training for opioid misuse prevention and management into their core curriculums. The agreement will impact 1,800 undergraduates and 550 graduate students.                

Read more:                
http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2016/02/dental-schools-opioid                 

U. Mass. Graduate School of Nursing Adopts Opioid Conscious Curriculum                
Lisa M. Larson, University of Massachusetts Medical School                
February 9, 2016                

The University of Massachusetts Medical School plans to expand its new opioid-conscious curriculum to the graduate school of nursing. It will be the first in Massachusetts to ensure both its medical and nursing professionals are trained to reduce the dangers associated with opioid therapy.                 

Read more:                
http://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2016/02/umms-graduate-school-of-nursing-adopts-adds-opioid-conscious-curriculum                                  

Massachusetts College Wrestles With Fallout from Opioid Epidemic                
Michael Gagne, Herald News                
February 9, 2016                

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is reminding people that college students are vulnerable to opioid misuse and addiction after one student died from an opioid overdose. In a second incident less than 48 hours later, campus police were alerted by a student who concerned about a friend on campus. When the police arrived, they were able to administer naloxone to save the student’s life. The university held small group meetings in residence halls to discuss substance misuse. Parents of students received letters about the incidents, as well as the resources available to students.                

Read more:                
http://www.heraldnews.com/news/20160209/colleges-having-to-wrestle-with-fallout-from-opioid-epidemic/?Start=1                                  

Massachusetts Bill Would Let Addicts Turn in Drugs Without Fear of Prosecution                
Katie Lannan, WBUR                
February 8, 2016                

Ann-Margaret Ferrante, a Massachusetts state representative, has introduced a bill that would allow addicts who seek recovery to turn in unwanted heroin and other drugs without the threat of prosecution. The bill states that a person “who, in good faith, enters a police station and seeks assistance or treatment for a drug-related addiction, or is the subject of a good faith request for such assistance or treatment, shall not be charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance” or drug paraphernalia, if the evidence for such a charge was gained as a result of seeking treatment. The bill was referred to a legislative committee for consideration.                 

Read more:                
http://www.wbur.org/2016/02/08/police-addicts-seek-help-gloucester-bill                                  

Vermont Pharmacist Tech Accused of Prescription Fraud, Embezzlement                
Joe Gullo, Nexstar Broadcasting                
February 11, 2016                

Holly Russin, a pharmacist technician at Rite Aid Pharmacy, is accused of prescription fraud and embezzlement. The Vermont woman stole 600 tablets of Tramadol, Hydrocodone, and Diazepam over the course of 3 months.                

Read more:                
http://www.mychamplainvalley.com/news/pharmacist-tech-accused-of-prescription-fraud-embezzlement                 
               

South News

Georgia Hospital CEO, Five Others Arrested in Prescription Drug Sting                
Associated Press, WSB-TV                
February 5, 2016                

Mike Gower, CEO of Blairsville’s Union General Hospital in Georgia, and five others (including a physician and members of Gower's family) have been arrested for fraudulent prescription pain relievers. One doctor wrote more than 15,000 fraudulent prescriptions for Gower over a 3-year period. Gower faces two counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.                

Read more:                
http://www.wsbtv.com/ap/ap/georgia/hospital-ceo-5-others-arrested-in-prescription-dru/nqKNj                                  

Two Florida Pharmacies, Four Doctors to Pay $10 Million Settlement                
News4Jax                
February 11, 2016                

Two pharmacies and four physicians in Jacksonville, Fla., have agreed to pay the federal government almost $10 million to resolve allegations involving the military’s healthcare program, TRICARE. The government contends that compounding pharmacy Topical Specialists was created by the pharmacist for WELLHealth and four physicians. It was meant to be a standalone pharmacy but was unable to obtain separate contracts with the government healthcare programs. Instead, Topical Specialists sent all of its prescriptions to WELLHealth which, in turn, submitted the prescriptions to the federal government. These four physicians wrote hundreds of prescriptions for pain and scar creams. Records showed that the pharmacy was making up to 90 percent profit for each cream submitted to the TRICARE program. The profit was then disbursed to the doctors who wrote the prescriptions.                 

Read more:                
http://www.news4jax.com/news/local/jacksonville/2-pharmacies-4-doctors-to-pay-10m-settlement                 
               

Midwest News

10 Members of Drug Ring in Indiana Arrested, Tied to HIV Spread                
Ed Cara, Medical Daily                
February 7, 2016                

A U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indiana has arrested 10 people who are accused of fueling a rise in HIV cases in Scott County last year. The individuals distributed drugs, primarily prescription pain relievers and methamphetamine, in the county. The pills were ground up and taken intravenously. The sharing of HIV-infected needles likely spurned an outbreak. The health department recorded 188 new cases of HIV over a 13-month period.                

Read more:                
http://www.medicaldaily.com/hiv-outbreak-indiana-prescription-painkillers-372554                                  

Tribe in Minnesota Intent on Tackling Drug ‘Epidemic’                
Mesabi Daily News                
February 8, 2016                

The Bois Forte Reservation in Minnesota is plagued by prescription drugs, heroin, and methamphetamines. The tribe needs treatment, rehabilitation, traditional healing methods, mental health care, law enforcement, and judicial sentencing to address these issues. Tribal leaders met with officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior and Minnesota’s governor to identify systems and funding sources to fight the problem. The tribal chairman urged the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute as federal offenses drug crimes within Bois Forte tribal lands. The Bois Forte Tribal Council recently passed one of the nation’s toughest laws against the distribution and use of illegal drugs.                 

Read more:                
>http://www.virginiamn.com/news/local/tribe-intent-on-tackling-drug-epidemic/article_d55de4d4-cecb-11e5-a638-8b25c567365d.html                                  

West Central Ohio Safety Council Addresses Drugs in the Workplace                
Danae King, Lima News                
February 9, 2016                

The West Central Ohio Safety Council recently hosted a meeting to share information about the increased rate of positive drug tests in the workplace, current drug trends and their impact on the workplace, legalized marijuana, and prescription drug misuse. The meeting also included information about We Care at Work, a program to “grow a drug-free workforce.” The program pays for new policy development and guides employers through crafting a policy. Then, the company can offer applicants who failed the test the opportunity to get help and then another chance at the job.                

Read more:                
http://limaohio.com/news/165437/safety-council-addresses-drugs-in-the-workplace                                  

Narcan Bill Passes; Prescription Drug Monitoring Bill Stalls                
Jon Swedien, Springfield News-Leader                
February 11, 2016                

Missouri’s house of representatives has approved a bill that would make it easier for the public to buy naloxone. That bill now heads to the senate for consideration. A related bill to establish a prescription drug monitoring program in the state has stalled in committee because of privacy concerns. A possible adjustment to the bill would trim the list of drugs monitored.                

Read more:                
http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/politics/2016/02/11/narcan-bill-passes-prescription-drug-monitoring-bill-stalls/80242350/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=                                  

Indiana Attorney General Wants State to Be First for Funding to Fight Heroin, Other Drugs                
Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star                
February 11, 2016                

Indiana’s attorney general recently met with the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to discuss Indiana’s needs for drug treatment funding. Indiana’s chief law enforcement officer wants the state to be first to receive federal funding.                

Read more:                
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/behind-closed-doors/2016/02/11/zoeller-wants-indiana-first-line-drug-treatment-funding/80256750                                  

Milwaukee Getting Federal Support to Deal with Drug Abuse                
Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio                
February 11, 2016                

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is partnering with Wisconsin to address heroin and prescription drug misuse in Milwaukee. The partnership will be part of the DEA’s 360-degree strategy that increases enforcement actions against dealers of illegal drugs.                

Read more:                
http://www.wpr.org/milwaukee-getting-federal-support-deal-drug-abuse                 
               

West News

Colorado Drug-Related Deaths Increasing at ‘Epidemic’ Proportions                
Brendaliss Gonzalez, Denver7                
February 6, 2016                

The number of drug-related deaths in Colorado has nearly doubled from 2002 to 2014, with every county except one experiencing an increase. Twelve counties, including Denver, had overdose rates exceeding 20 per 100,000 residents—among the highest in the nation. (Includes video: 2:03 minutes)                

Read more:                
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/colorado-drug-related-deaths-increasing-at-epidemic-proportions                                 

Former Las Cruces (N.M.) Doctor Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges                
Las Cruces Sun-News                
February 11, 2016                

Former physician Pawankumar Jain has pled guilty in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., for illegally dispensing prescription pain relievers and defrauding Medicare, resulting in a death. He admitted to two counts as part of a plea deal that will result in dismissal of 136 other criminal charges in a grand jury indictment. Charges dismissed include allegations that dispensing of medication led to the deaths of three other people. Jain could have faced up to 30 years in prison, but the plea deal specifies he will face between 3.5 years and 9 years in prison, and a term of supervised release determined by the court.                  

Read more:                
http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/2016/02/11/former-las-cruces-doctor-pleads-guilty-federal-charges/80262010                 
               

Webinars

Marijuana Legalization: Trends & Hot Topics                
OraSure Technologies                
Thursday, February 25, 2016                
2:00 p.m. (ET)                 
https://ohsonline.com/webcasts/2015/12/marijuana-legalization-trends-hot-topics.aspx?admgarea=Webinar&tc=page0                                 

Weed in Your Workplace: What You Need to Know                
National Safety Council                
Wednesday, April 20, 2016                
2:00 p.m. (ET)                
http://eventcallregistration.com/reg/index.jsp?cid=59487t11                 
               

Grant Announcements

Increasing Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment in Rural Primary Care Practices (R18)                
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality                
Due: March 4, 2016                
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HS-16-001.html                                  

Drug-Free Communities Support Program (SP-16-001)                
SAMHSA                
Due: March 18, 2016                
http://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/grants/pdf/sp-15-001_0.pdf                                  

National Institute on Drug Abuse Challenge: Addiction Research: There’s an App for that                
National Institute on Drug Abuse                
Submission Period begins November 3, 2015, 9:00 a.m. (ET)                
Submission Period ends April 29, 2016, 11:59 p.m. (ET)                
http://nida.ideascale.com/a/pages/addiction-research-theres-an-app-for-that                                  

Bottle Tracking Program                
National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators                
Due: None Specified                
http://www.naddi.org/aws/NADDI/pt/sp/programs_grants                 
http://naddibottletracking.org/law-enforcement                 
               

National Take-Back Initiative

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day                
Drug Enforcement Administration                
Saturday, April 30, 2016                
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (ET)                

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.                

Read more:                
http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback                 
               

Take-Back Events & Drop Boxes

Bernards (N.J.) Police Department and Alliance to Hold Medication Drop-Off Drive Thru                
Messenger-Gazette                
February 09, 2016                
http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2016/02/bernards_township_municipal_alliance_and_
police_dept_hold_medication_drop_off_drive_thru_on_march_19.html
                                  

Montague (Mass.) Police Department Collects 110 lbs of Unwanted Medications                
George Graham, Mass Live                
February 9, 2016                
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/02/montague_police_department_col.html                                  

Louisiana State Police Partners With Blue Cross for Safe Prescriptions Disposal KNOE                
February 10, 2016                
http://www.knoe.com/home/headlines/LSP-partners-with-Blue-Cross-for-safe-disposal-of-prescription-medication-368328841.html                                  

Riverside (Ill.) Police to Take Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs                
Morgan Searles, LaGrange Patch                
February 8, 2016                
http://patch.com/illinois/lagrange/riverside-police-take-back-unwanted-prescription-drugs                                  

Atlantic (Iowa) Police Department Partners with State Drug Control Office to Expand Medication Drop-Off Locations                
Tom Robinson, KSOM                
February 11, 2016                
http://965ksom.com/atlantic-police-department-partners-with-state-drug-control-office-to-expand-medication-drop-off-locations                                  

Osseo (Minn.) Police Now Accepting Unwanted, Unused Prescription Medications                
Jennie Lissarrague, KSTP                
February 5, 2016                
http://kstp.com/medical/osseo-police-unwanted-unused-prescription-medications/4039615/?cat=12196                                  

Galloway (N.J.) Police Department Acquires Prescription Drop Box                
Madelaine Vital, Shore News Today                
February 5, 2016                
http://www.shorenewstoday.com/galloway_township/galloway-police-department-acquires-prescription-drop-box/article_05a2024a-cc49-11e5-862b-83cf2df94e74.html                
               

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Ensuring Access to Pain Care: Engaging Pain Medicine and Primary Care Teams                
American Academy of Pain Medicine                
February 18–21, 2016                
Palm Springs, California                
http://www.painmed.org/annualmeeting                                  

Pharmacy Diversion Awareness Conference                
U.S. Drug and Enforcement Administration                
February 27–28, 2016                 
Charleston, West Virginia                
http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/mtgs/pharm_awareness                                  

Ohio Workers’ Compensation Medical & Health Symposium                
Bureau of Workers’ Compensation                
March 10–11, 2016                
Columbus, Ohio                
https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/provider/brochureware/PainSymposium/default.asp                                  

Marijuana and Cannabinoids: A Neuroscience Research Summit                
National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke                
March 22–23, 2016                
Bethesda, Maryland                
http://apps1.seiservices.com/nih/mj/2016                                  

Register:                
http://apps1.seiservices.com/nih/mj/2016/Registration.aspx                                  

2016 National Rx Drug & Heroin Summit                
March 28–31, 2016                
Atlanta, Georgia                
http://apps1.seiservices.com/nih/mj/2016/Registration.aspxx                                  

Third Annual Smart Approaches to Marijuana Education Summit                
March 31, 2016                
Atlanta, Georgia                
http://nationalrxdrugabusesummit.org/sam-summit-2                                  

Register:                
https://www.123contactform.com/form-1486587/2016-National-Rx-Drug-Abuse-Summit                                  

Medical Marijuana Seminar                
Private Motor Truck Council of Canada                
May 3, 2016                
Alberta, Canada                                 

Read more:                
http://www.todaystrucking.com/alberta-hosting-spring-talk-on-medical-marijuana-in-trucking                 
http://www.pmtc.ca/News.asp?a=view&id=113                                  

2016 Annual Conference                
International Health Facility Diversion Association                
September 13–14, 2016                
Duke Energy Convention Center                
Cincinnati, Ohio                 
https://ihfda.org/2016-annual-conference                                  

Register:                
https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1803476                 
         
                                 
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.