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January 15, 2014


SAMHSA Prescription Drug Abuse Weekly Update
Issue 54  |  January 15, 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 Journal Articles and Reports News Other State and Local News Other Resources Grant Announcements Grant Workshops Take-Back Events and Drop Boxes Upcoming Conferences and Workshops


Combating Fraud and Abuse in the Medicare Prescription Drug Program
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
January 6, 2014

Jonathan Blum, the principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), shared how CMS is working to detect and prevent fraud and abuse and protect the Medicare program, its beneficiaries, and taxpayers. It uses Medicare Part D to identify Part D enrollees who have potential opioid or acetaminophen overuse issues that may present a threat to patient safety. The Medicare Part D Overutilization Monitoring System was implemented in 2013 to help CMS ensure that Part D plan sponsors are meeting CMS requirements to establish reasonable and appropriate drug utilization management programs to prevent overuse of these medications. In 2011, more than 172,000 Part D enrollees were identified as meeting CMS criteria for potential opioid or acetaminophen overutilization. Between January and June 2013, the number of Part D enrollees with potential opioid or acetaminophen issues dropped to approximately 35,600. CMS also released a proposed rule that seeks to employ new tools when problematic prescribers and pharmacies are identified. Some of the proposed key fraud and abuse provisions include requiring prescribers of Part D drugs to enroll in Medicare and revocation of enrollment in cases of abusive prescribing practices and patterns; and allowing CMS to request and collect information directly from pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies, and other entities that contract with Part D sponsors to better detect fraud.

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J.B. Mowry, Daniel A. Spyker, L.R. Cantilena Jr., J.E. Bailey, and M. Ford. 2013. "2012 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System: 30th Annual Report." Clinical Toxicology (Philadelphia, Pa.) 51(10):949–1229. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2013.863906.

Researchers analyzed data from 2012 from the National Poison Data System. That year, poison control centers fielded nearly 2.3 million human exposure calls and more than 1 million information calls. The four substance classes most frequently involved in human exposures included analgesics (11.6 percent) and sedatives/hypnotics/antipsychotics (6.1 percent). Drug identification requests comprised 54.4 percent of all information calls. Total encounters declined 6.9 percent from 2011, but exposure calls from health care facilities increased by 1.2 percent.

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Journal Articles and Reports

Erin E. Bonar, Maureen A. Walton, Rebecca M. Cunningham, Stephen T. Chermack, Amy S.B. Bohnert, Kristen L. Barry, Brenda M. Booth, and Frederic C. Blow. 2014. "Computer-Enhanced Interventions for Drug Use and HIV Risk in the Emergency Room: Preliminary Results on Psychological Precursors of Behavior Change." Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 46(1):5–14, doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.08.005.

This article described the process data from a randomized controlled trial among 781 adults recruited in the emergency department who reported recent illicit or prescription drug misuse and were randomized to a) intervener-delivered brief intervention (IBI) assisted by computer, b) computerized BI (CBI), or c) enhanced usual care (EUC). Analyses examined differences between baseline and post-intervention on psychological constructs theoretically related to changes in drug use and HIV risk: importance, readiness, intention, help-seeking, and confidence. They did not differentiate effects on users of marijuana versus other drugs, although the article indicates marijuana was the predominant drug used. Compared with EUC, participants receiving the IBI significantly increased in confidence and intentions; CBI patients increased importance, readiness, confidence, and help-seeking. Both groups increased relative to the EUC in likelihood of condom use with regular partners. Examining BI components suggested that benefits of change and tools for change were associated with changes in psychological constructs. Delivering BIs targeting drug use and HIV risk using computers appears promising for implementation in healthcare settings.

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Quyen M. Epstein–Ngo, Maureen A. Walton, Stephen T. Chermack, Frederic C. Blow, Marc A. Zimmerman, and Rebecca M. Cunningham. 2014. "Event-Level Analysis of Antecedents for Youth Violence: Comparison of Dating Violence With Nondating Violence." Addictive Behaviors 39(1):350–03, doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.10.015.

Researchers selected 575 patients screening positive for past 6 months’ drug use in an urban emergency department who completed timeline follow-back aggression modules at baseline and 6 and 12 months, indicating event-specific antecedents of violence. Multilevel logistic regressions using event-level data, nested by individual and time (baseline, 6-month, and 12-month assessment intervals), were used to examine antecedents of dating violence (DV) versus nondating violence (NDV). Post hoc analyses examined substance use by reason and gender interactions. Prescription sedative/opioid misuse was more likely to be reported before DV, whereas alcohol only, and co-ingested alcohol and marijuana only, were more likely to be reported before NDV. Reasons for DV included "personal belongings," "angry/bad mood," "jealousy," "drunk/high on drugs," and "arguing about sex." Reasons for NDV included "rumors," "retaliation," "personal space," and "aid (someone) due to physical attack." Substance use before/during conflicts and reasons for conflicts were both uniquely associated with DV versus NDV. Two gender interactions were found.

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Andrew Golub and Alex S. Bennett. 2014. "Substance Use Over the Military–Veteran Life Course: An Analysis of a Sample of OEF/OIF Veterans Returning to Low-Income Predominately Minority Communities." Addictive Behaviors 39(2):449–54.

This paper presents an overview of substance use patterns of recent veterans returning to low-income predominately minority communities over four periods of the military–veteran career. Respondent driven sampling was used so unbiased estimates could be obtained for the characteristics of the target population. The majority of participants had used marijuana but no other illegal drugs. In the military, marijuana use was substantially lower and alcohol was the drug of choice; most were binge drinkers, and nearly half were heavy drinkers. While deployed, alcohol and marijuana use were both lower, though some participants (6 percent) initiated the misuse of prescription painkillers. After separating from the military and returning to civilian life, heavy drinking was much lower, marijuana use increased, and some veterans (7 percent) misused prescription painkillers. Further research based on these data will examine these distinct periods of substance use, contexts of use, related substance and mental health problems, treatment use and avoidance, and civilian reintegration.

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Katherine M. Keyes, Magdalena Cerdá, Joanne E. Brady, Jennifer Rochussen Havens, and Sandro Galea. 2013. "Understanding the Rural–Urban Differences in Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use and Abuse in the United States." American Journal of Public Health, doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301709.

Researchers developed hypotheses regarding the influence of four factors: 1) greater opioid prescription in rural areas, creating availability from which illegal markets can arise; 2) an out-migration of young adults; 3) greater rural social and kinship network connections, which may facilitate drug diversion and distribution; and 4) economic stressors that may create vulnerability to drug use more generally. A systematic consideration of the contexts that create differences in availability, access, and preferences is critical to understanding how drug use context varies across geography.

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Sean Esteban McCabe, John E. Schulenberg, Patrick M. O'Malley, Megan E. Patrick, and Deborah D. Kloska. 2014. "Nonmedical Use of Prescription Opioids During the Transition to Adulthood: A Multicohort National Longitudinal Study." Addiction 109(1):102–10, doi: 10.1111/add.12347.

Researchers examined nonmedical use of prescription opioids (NMUPO) patterns during the transition from adolescence to adulthood and assessed individual characteristics and other substance use behaviors associated with longitudinal patterns of NMUPO. The study uses Monitoring the Future survey data. In that survey, nationally representative samples of high school seniors in the United States (wave 1: modal age 18 years) were followed longitudinally across three biennial follow-up waves (waves 2, 3, and 4: modal ages 19/20, 21/22, and 23/24 years). Data were collected through questionnaires self-administered by high school seniors and young adults. The longitudinal sample consisted of 27 268 individuals in 30 cohorts (high school senior years 1976–2005) who participated in all four waves. Researchers measured self-report of NMUPO and other substance use behaviors. Approximately 11.6 percent [95 percent confidence interval (CI) = 11.2 percent, 12.0 percent] of the sample reported past-year NMUPO in at least one of the four waves. Among those who reported past-year NMUPO in at least one wave, 69.0 percent (67.6 percent, 70.4 percent), 20.5 percent (19.3 percent, 21.7 percent), 7.8 percent (7.1 percent, 8.6 percent) and 2.7 percent (2.3 percent, 3.1 percent) reported NMUPO at one, two, three, and four waves, respectively. Several wave 1 variables were associated with greater odds of multiple waves of NMUPO, and individuals who reported more waves of NMUPO had greater odds of other substance use behaviors. Although most nonmedical use of prescription opioids among 18-year-olds in the United States appears to be noncontinuing, approximately one third of the sample reporting nonmedical use of prescription opioids appears to continue use beyond age 18 and have elevated odds of other substance use behaviors at ages 23 and 24. This conclusion excludes those who failed to complete all four survey waves. Noncompleters are known to have higher drug abuse rates than the completers included in the study.

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Michael E. Nelson, Sean M. Bryant, and Steven E. Aks. 2014. "Emerging Drugs of Abuse." Emergency Medical Clinics of North America 32(1):1–28. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2013.09.001.

This paper concentrates on the history, epidemiology, clinical effects, laboratory analysis, and management strategy for many emerging drugs of abuse. Slight alterations of the basic chemical structure of substances create an entirely new drug no longer regulated by current laws and an ever-changing landscape of clinical effects. The purity of each substance with exact pharmacokinetic and toxicity profiles is largely unknown. Many of these substances can be grouped by the class of drug and includes synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones, phenethylamines, and piperazine derivatives. Resultant effects generally include psychoactive and sympathomimetic-like symptoms. Additionally, prescription medications, performance enhancing medications, and herbal supplements are becoming more commonly abused. Most new drugs of abuse have no specific antidote and management largely involves symptom-based goal-directed supportive care with benzodiazepines as a useful adjunct.

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Paula Reguly, Sacha Dubois, and Michel Bédard. 2014. "Examining the Impact of Opioid Analgesics on Crash Responsibility in Truck Drivers Involved in Fatal Crashes." Forensic Science International 234:154–61, doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.11.005.

Researchers examined the role of opioid analgesic (OA) use in commercial motor vehicle (CMV) truck drivers involved in fatal crashes by a) generating prevalence estimates of OA use and b) documenting the relationship between OA use and crash responsibility. A case-control study using logistic regression compared Fatality Analysis Reporting System (1993–2008) record of one or more crash-related unsafe driver actions (a proxy measure of responsibility) between drivers with a positive drug test and drivers with a negative drug test for OA, controlling for age, other drug use, and driving history. The annual prevalence of OA use among all CMV drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes did not exceed 0.46 percent for any year in the study period and mostly ranged between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent. Male truck drivers using OA had greater odds of committing an unsafe driver action (OR: 2.80; 95 percent CI: 1.64; 4.81). Middle-aged users had greater odds than younger or older users.

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Ian R.H. Rockett, Nestor D. Kapusta, and Jeffrey H. Coben. 2014. "Beyond Suicide: Action Needed to Improve Self-injury Mortality Accounting." JAMA Psychiatry [ViewPoint Jan. 1] doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.3738.

National suicide and unintentional poisoning mortality rates have risen dramatically since 2000, by almost 20 percent and 140 percent, respectively. Both rate rises peak among the middle-aged population, not a historically high-risk injury group. Poisoning mortality is increasingly being driven by intoxication from pharmaceuticals, especially opioid analgesics. Collectively, these facts present vital challenges for clinical medicine, medicolegal death investigations, public safety, and public health. Concern about substance abuse sensitized people to a dormant issue of nonsuicide self-injury mortality and provokes the proposition that accounting of self-injury mortality must encompass more than suicide and its problematic measurement.

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Related Press Release

WVU Professor Suggests Self-Injury Deaths May Be Grossly Underestimated
West Virginia University
January 2, 2014

Researchers suggested that overdose deaths result from self-harming behavior, even if the circumstances do not meet the high standards required to determine these deaths as suicides, are seriously undercounted. Ian Rockett, professor of epidemiology in the West Virginia University School of Public Health and one of the authors, believes changing and standardizing the methods medical examiners and coroners use to determine whether a death is a suicide could help. He also believes that data from prescription drug monitoring programs could enable these officials to provide important new details on drug overdose and misuse fatalities for the death certificates.

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Daniel Rosen, Rafael J. Engel, Amanda E. Hunsaker, Yael Engel, Ellen Gay Detlefsen, and Charles F. Reynolds. 2013. "Just Say Know: An Examination of Substance Use Disorders Among Older Adults in Gerontological and Substance Abuse Journals." Social Work in Public Health 28(3–4): 377–87, doi:10.1080/19371918.2013.774668.

This article examines the extent to which studies of alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, and prescription drug abuse among older adults appear in the leading gerontological and substance abuse journals. The authors reviewed articles published in the 10 social science gerontological journals and the 10 social science substance abuse journals with the highest five-year impact factors in PubMed from 2000 through 2010. Articles were selected that presented original research on alcohol, substance, or prescription abuse with older adults 50 and older, and were identified through aging- and substance abuse–related medical subject headings and word searches of titles and abstracts (N = 634). Full text of each article was reviewed by the authors, and consensus determined inclusion in the final sample. Of the 19,953 articles published respectively in the top 10 gerontological and substance abuse journals, 181 articles met the inclusion criteria of reporting findings related to substance use disorders among older adults. Specifically, 0.9 percent (102 of 11,700) of articles from the top 10 gerontology journals and 1.0 percent (79 of 8,253) of articles from the top 10 substance abuse journals met the criteria. Most published articles addressed alcohol misuse/abuse or polysubstance abuse with few articles addressing illicit drug use or the misuse of prescription medications. Fewer than 1 percent of articles published in the 10 gerontology journals and the 10 substance abuse journals with the highest five-year impact scores addressed substance abuse in older adults. Practitioners treating health and/or mental health problems are at a disadvantage in accurately identifying and treating these conditions in older adult populations without a proper understanding of the role of comorbid substance use disorders.

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Lauren M. Rossen, Diba Khan, and Margaret Warner. 2014. "Hot Spots in Mortality From Drug Poisoning in the United States, 2007–09." Health and Place 26:14–20, doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.11.005.

Over the past several years, the death rate associated with drug poisoning has increased by more than 300 percent in the United States. Drug poisoning mortality varies widely by state, but geographic variation at the substate level has largely not been explored. National mortality data (2007–09) and small area estimation methods were used to predict age-adjusted death rates attributable to drug poisoning at the county level, which were then mapped to explore whether drug poisoning mortality clusters by county, and where hot and cold spots occur. Results highlight several regions of the United States where the burden of drug poisoning mortality is especially high.

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Laurence Taggart and Eddie Chaplin. 2014. Substance Misuse. Handbook of Psychopathology in Intellectual Disability Autism and Child Psychopathology Series, 205–23.

This book chapter examines substance abuse in people with intellectual disabilities, considering legal, illicit, and prescribed substances. Prevalence and psychopathology are addressed, along with factors associated with substance use, such as risk factors and offending. In terms of assessment and treatment, the chapter examines the current evidence base, including specialist measures designed to be used as part of the assessment and treatment process. These are often multimodal and made up of biological, psychological, and social approaches. The final section critically discusses the future implications for research and practice.

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Kentucky to Pour $32 Million From Drug Settlements Into Treatment Programs
The Courier–Journal
January 6, 2013

Kentucky state leaders announced they will use $32 million for drug treatment. The money comes from settlements with Merck Sharp and Dohme Corporation and GlaxoSmithKline over marketing of diabetes and osteoarthritis drugs that state officials said raised the risk of cardiovascular problems. The funds will be used for several drug treatment projects and programs such as almost $19 million to start a grant program that will fund juvenile substance abuse treatment programs by expanding treatment beds at existing facilities and creating new juvenile treatment programs; $6 million to administer and upgrade Kentucky's electronic prescription drug monitoring program; and $1 million to support substance abuse treatment for pregnant women by Chrysalis House in Lexington and Independence House in Corbin.

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Governor Focuses on Opiate Epidemic, Yet Waiting Lists, Funding Challenges Remain
Vermont Public Radio
January 8, 2013

This article and video (2 minutes 40 seconds) discuss the annual state-of-the-state address by Vermont's governor, which concentrated exclusively on opiate addiction, treatment programs, and the struggle to keep up with treatment demand. Gov. Peter Shumlin announced four initiatives to address opiate abuse. He asked lawmakers for a $1 million budget adjustment to help provide increased programs in troubled areas. He also proposed two initiatives that would form stronger collaborations between substance abuse professionals and law enforcement. He announced a state-funded tour that will allow those featured in the film Hungry Heart to visit schools across the state. He will ask lawmakers for another $200,000 immediately to assist with more than 600 individuals on a waiting list for treatment of opiate addiction. He has earmarked another $1 million in the fiscal year 2015 budget for substance abuse treatment and mental health services for low-income residents.

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ACLU Challenges Pain Medication Drug-Testing Rule
January 8, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit against the state Medical Licensing Board on behalf of James Wierciak. It claims that the board violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable government searches. The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting the Licensing Board from requiring drug testing and requiring patients to sign agreements consenting to testing. The new rule requires patients prescribed certain amounts of pain medication to submit to an annual drug test; it became effective Dec. 15, 2013.

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Prescription Drug Misuse Remains a Top Public Health Concern
January 8, 2013

SAMSHA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said that addressing prescription drug misuse remains a top public health priority. The key is educating the public and ensuring that individuals who need treatment receive it. SAMHSA has numerous programs designed to address prescription drug misuse, including its Prevention of Prescription Abuse in the Workplace contract, which provides technical assistance to help civilian and military workplaces in communities across America reduce prescription drug abuse problems. Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy, emphasized the importance for the public health and public safety communities to work together to reduce prescription drug abuse. He would like to see people learn more about the harms associated with prescription drug abuse and take time to empty medicine cabinets of unneeded or expired prescription medications.

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AMA in the Trenches: Combating Drug Overdose While Managing Patients' Pain
American Medical Association
January 7, 2014

American Medical Association (AMA) Board Chair David O. Barbe shared his views about its renewed emphasis on national drug control policies and the responsibility of prescribing and using prescription pain medication. He encouraged his colleagues to take advantage of AMA's resources such as the continuing medical education series on pain management. He believes physicians must be equipped to balance ethical obligation to treat patients with pain alongside the need to identify signs of diversion. They also need coordinated, constructive programs that support treatment and prevention. He believes that AMA's new policies accomplish both.

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http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/ama-wire/ama-wire.page?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=e38cf47a-fc5f-473b-9234-c9e714c1c8f0&plckPostId=Blog percent3ae38cf47a-fc5f-473b-9234-c9e714c1c8f0Post percent3ae3b30134-b7a0-4429-97f2-2836c71b693e&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest

Separate Fact From Fiction About Pain Medication and Addiction
Chicago Tribune
January 8, 2013

Richard Rosenquist, chairman of Pain Management at Cleveland Clinic, debunks six common myths about prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.

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NCPDP Releases New Version of HCIdea® Prescriber Database
Digital Journal
January 6, 2014

The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) announced the release of a new version of its HCIdea® prescriber verification database that incorporates Medversant's exclusive patented technology that electronically accesses, autoverifies, and continually refreshes prescriber data from thousands of primary and approved authoritative sources. It eliminates human error from the verification process while ensuring the data are updated faster. The accuracy of the data also helps prevent fraud and abuse.

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Aetna Helps Members Fight Prescription Drug Abuse
The Wall Street Journal
January 9, 2014

This article summarizes Aetna's efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse using integrated pharmacy, behavioral health, and medical programs. Aetna's pharmacists, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and pain specialists work together across pharmacy and medical benefit plans to help safeguard access to opioids, identify members at risk, and provide the appropriate levels of support to fight opioid addiction.

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Other State and Local News

State's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Yields Positive Results
Stevens Point City–Times
January 7, 2014

The secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services described the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) as an empowering tool to combat prescription drug misuse and abuse in Wisconsin. In January 2013, pharmacies and dispensing practitioners began collecting PDMP data and on June 1, 2013, authorized users began to create accounts with the PDMP. As of the beginning of January 2014, there were approximately 10.3 million records in the database from dispensers and 6,200 health care users who had created more than 325,000 queries of their prescription histories. Wisconsin has almost 30 percent of the state's pharmacists registered with the PDMP, ranking it second in the nation for first year implementation.

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Some Law Enforcement Slow to Use Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Wisconsin Public Radio News
January 8, 2014

Some law enforcement agencies have not used the Wisconsin Prescription Drug Monitoring database because they are busy handling illegal drug cases. The lieutenant for the Marathon County Sheriff's Department admitted to not having time because of methamphetamine and heroin trafficking cases. Law enforcement said addiction often starts with prescription medication and ends with heroin.

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Drug Unit: Prescription Pain Pill Abuse Among Biggest Drug Issues in Southwest Georgia
Albany Herald
January 3, 2014

The commander of the Albany–Dougherty (Ga.) Drug Unit (ADDU) said abuse of prescription pain pills is becoming increasingly popular among illegal drug users in the Albany area. Also, "Skittle" parties are helping spread the abuse. A pill drop box at the unit was installed to help reduce some of the abuse. Further, the ADDU visits local pharmacies to improve communication. The commander added that heroin will become popular again as users look for cheaper alternatives to pain medications.

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Step Up Fight on Painkiller Abuse
Denver Post
January 4, 2014

The Denver Post Editorial Board looks forward to seeing legislation that would make the prescription drug monitoring database more easily used. In 2012, doctors and pharmacies checked the data only 10 percent to 15 percent of the time before dispensing such drugs. The board spoke with policy advisers from the governor's office and a professor from the University of Colorado's pharmacy school who said they are working with lawmakers to shape legislation requiring doctors to sign up for the database. The legislation also would make it possible for a designated professional in a doctor's office to access the registry.

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Ohio Governor Asks Parents to Deliver Drug-Free Message
Logan Daily News
January 8, 2014

Ohio's governor wants parents and adults to talk to their children about the dangers of abusing drugs such as prescription pain pills and heroin. He plans to promote a statewide initiative, "Start Talking," aimed at getting the drug-free message to middle and high school students. A state Web site for the initiative directs parents and school leaders to free resources from The Partnership at Drugfree.org. Parents, teachers, and caregivers also can sign up for newsletters from the Drug-Free Action Alliance for tips about how to talk to their children about the issue. This initiative also includes the State Highway Patrol and Ohio National Guard meeting with high school athletes and encouraging them to talk to their peers about being drug free. Ohio officials will take grant applications from schools and nonprofits in low-income areas whose drug-prevention efforts lack resources.

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Bills Would Give Drug Users Immunity if They Report Overdoses to 911
Journal Sentinel
January 9, 2014

A Wisconsin committee unanimously approved a bill that would immunize users of heroin and other drugs from liability if they call to report overdoses. Another bill would allow more first responders to carry and use Narcan to counteract overdoses. The bills were sent to the Assembly, along with ones requiring people to show identification when they pick up many prescriptions and allowing communities to more easily set up drug-disposal programs. Rep. John Nygren said he plans to introduce two other bills that would create a pilot program for treatment alternatives in rural areas and a "rapid response" for those with drug problems who violate the terms of their probation or parole.

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Task Force Looking at Prescription Drug Abuse
Prairie Public News
January 8, 2014

A North Dakota task force is working on a strategy to control prescription drugs and considering potential legislation for the 2015 session. Katie Cashman with the North Dakota Medical Association said people who have open houses to sell their homes may have strangers going through their medicine cabinets. She described an instance when someone had died of cancer and people visited the open house after the funeral to steal the pain relievers.

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Prescription Pill Abuse Is a Growing Concern in North Huntingdon
Trib Total Media
January 8, 2014

The North Huntingdon (Pa.) Police Department is concerned about the increase of people illegally obtaining prescription pain relievers. Most of the drug investigations conducted last year involved prescription narcotics, according to a detective. The police handled about 400 prescription drug cases in 2013, a 75 percent increase from the previous year. Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering legislation that would create a statewide monitoring system. If approved, police would have access to a database.

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Pill Mill Bill Remains Hot Topic in Kentucky
January 8, 2014

This article and video (1 minute 8 seconds) discuss Kentucky’s Pill Mill Bill, which passed two years ago. It aimed at curbing prescription pill abuse. Some doctors said it makes it too hard to write a simple prescription. Multiple online groups are opposed to the bill and some doctors have cut down on prescribing medicine. The University of Kentucky is doing a study on the effect the bill has on prescription drug abuse.

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Other Resources

American Dental Association. 2014. "Keeping Medicine Safely in Your Home." Journal of the American Dental Association 145(1):104.

This one-page fact sheet, available for immediate download, gives patients tips on keeping their prescription medications safe at home. It also provides information on preventing accidental overdoses and the dangers of drug abuse.

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The Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study: Treatment Strategies for Prescription Opioid Dependence
National Institute on Drug Abuse and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Accessed January 9, 2014

Treatment Strategies for Prescription Opioid Dependence is a package of tools and training resources for substance use disorder treatment providers. The blending package describes how buprenorphine works and presents the results of a National Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network study that compared brief and extended buprenorphine treatments. The results of the study have implications for the treatment of adults dependent on prescription opioids. The prescription opioid addiction treatment study (POATS) blending team package is designed to help treatment providers incorporate study findings and recommendations into their practice. This fact sheet gives an overview of the POATS blending product.

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Popping Pills: Prescription Drug Abuse in America
National Institute on Drug Abuse
January 2014

The second place prize for the NIDA's Infographic Challenge contest went to Shane Jones, Ashley Mentzer, and Adrienne Wolter for their entry "Popping Pills: The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in America." This infographic shows the reality of the pill popping situation, the numbers of abusers, places individuals obtain their drugs, and their reasons for abusing.

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Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants: What College Administrators, Parents, and Students Need to Know
University of Maryland School of Public Health, Center on Youth Adult Health and Development
Accessed January 8, 2014

This fact sheet answers the questions: What is nonmedical use of prescription stimulants? How many students use prescription stimulants nonmedically? Where do students get the prescription stimulants they use nonmedically? And what characteristics or behaviors are associated with nonmedical use of prescription stimulants? It also discusses myths, realities, implications, and practice suggestions.

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Medical Toxicology Foundation Research Award: Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
American College of Medical Toxicology
Deadline: 11:59 pm EST on Feb. 14, 2014


New Applicant Workshops Announced for the Drug-Free Communities Program
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
Friday, Feb. 7, 2014—Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014—Denver, Colo.
Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014—Atlanta, Ga.

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program is inviting potential applicants to attend a New Applicant Workshop. These workshops provide technical assistance to help applicants complete their applications.

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Take-Back Events and Drop Boxes

Newington, Conn., Offers Disposal for Unwanted Drugs
Hartford Courant
January 3, 2014

Fontana, Calif., Police Gets Addition to Headquarters—Prescription Drug Drop Box
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
January 8, 2014

Prescription Drug Drop Box Scheduled for Fulton, Texas
The Rockport Pilot
January 10, 2014

Murrysville, Delmont, Penn (Pa.) Police Receive Drug Drop-Off Boxes
Trib Total Media
January 8, 2014

Lordstown, Ohio, Police Collect More Than 80 Pounds of Prescription Drugs
The Vindicator
January 6, 2014

Waldwick, N.J., Installs 24/7 Old Drug Drop Box
Waldwick Suburban News
January 9, 2014

Drug Drop-Off Boxes Available in Rock County, Wis.
January 8, 2013

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

What Every Health Professional Should Know About Prescription Drug Abuse
January 22, 2014
Brea, California

Lecture: Prescription Drug Use—The Dos and the Don'ts
January 29, 2014
Huntley, Illinois

Twenty-Fourth National Leadership Forum: The Power of Movement
February 3–6, 2014
National Harbor, Maryland

SAMHSA's 10th Prevention Day: The Power of Prevention: Strengthening Behavioral Health and Public Health for the Next Decade
February 3, 2014
National Harbor, Maryland

Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction: 'Changing Addictive Behavior: Bench to Bedside and Back Again'
February 28 to March 1, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia

Pain Management Through a Wide Lens: Balancing Safety and Effectiveness
March 8, 2014
St. Louis, Missouri

Eleventh Annual World Health Care Congress
April 7–9, 2014
National Harbor, Maryland

National Rx Drug Abuse Summit
April 22–24, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia

Prescription Drug Abuse and Diversion Crimes
June 10, 2014
Cottleville, Missouri
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.