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January 16, 2013

SAMHSA Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace Listserv

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January 16, 2013 (PDF version)
Journal Articles
B. Kelly and J. Parsons. 2011. "Prescription Drug Misuse and Sexual Risk Taking Among HIV-Negative MSM." AIDS and Behavior: 1-5. doi:10.1007/s10461-011-9993-z.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) misuse prescription drugs at high rates. With a community sample of MSM, the authors assessed prescription drug misuse and sexual risk behaviors among HIV-negative MSM. Their findings indicate recent prescription drug misusers had higher odds of engaging in unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) and were likelier to have UAI with a higher number of seroconcordant partners. MSM who reported recently misusing prescription drugs during sexual encounters were more likely to engage in UAI.

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Stephen Lankenau. 2012. "Patterns of Prescription Drug Misuse Among Young Injection Drug Users." Journal of Urban Health 89(6):1004-16. doi:10.1007/s11524-012-9691-9.
Misuse of prescription and injection drugs has increased among young adults in the United States. A qualitative study was conducted to describe current patterns of prescription drug misuse among young injection drug users (IDUs) ages 16-25 who had misused a prescription drug at least three times in the past 3 months. Most IDUs sampled were homeless and transient. Qualitative results indicated that young IDUs used prescription opioids and tranquilizers as substitutes for heroin when it was unavailable; to boost a heroin high; to self-medicate for health conditions, including untreated pain and heroin withdrawal; to curb heroin use; and to reduce risks associated with injecting heroin. Polydrug use involving heroin and prescription drugs resulted in overdose in multiple cases. Findings point to contrasting availability of heroin while indicating broad availability of prescription opioids among street-based drug users.

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E. Twombly and K. Holtz. 2008. "Teens and the Misuse of Prescription Drugs: Evidence-Based Recommendations to Curb a Growing Societal Problem." Journal of Primary Prevention 29(6):503-16. doi:10.1007/s10935-008-0157-5.
This article provides a systematic synthesis of multiple strands of literature to recommend effective prevention methods. Using a socioecological framework, researchers reviewed the scope of the prescription drug use problem among teens. They analyze factors that may influence teen knowledge and attitudes toward prescription drugs, discuss important challenges related to the construction of effective prevention programs, and provide recommendations for practice.

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News and Reports
Prescription Drug Abuse in Arizona: Using Data to Understand the Problem and Guide the Development of Solutions
Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership
July 20, 2012
This slide presentation with Arizona-specific facts and data was conducted by representatives from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, High Intensity Drug and Trafficking Area, and Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center. Arizona is one of 10 states that have the country's highest rates of nonmedical prescription pain reliever use.

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Your Employer Can't Fire You for Taking Rx Medication
January 9, 2013
An Ohio company settled with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after firing an employee who tested positive for a prescribed medication that treats bipolar disorder. The EEOC accused the company of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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New Regulations for Kentucky Law Dealing With Prescription Drug Abuse Move Forward
Lexington Herald-Ledger
January 7, 2013
This article reports that a legislative review panel signed several new regulations collectively called the "pill mill bill" to address issues ranging from standards for prescribing certain medications, to disciplinary hearings, to continuing education for doctors. The bill expanded Kentucky's prescription monitoring system and required that new pain clinics be owned by licensed medical practitioners.

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FDA Releases Draft Guidelines for Abuse-Deterrent Opioids
Medscape Today News
January 10, 2013
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released draft guidelines to assist pharmaceutical companies in the development of abuse-deterrent opioid formulations. The document outlines the FDA's perspective on the need for future research to examine efficacy of specific deterrent formulations, explains how they will evaluate these studies, and lists "what labeling claims may be approved based on the results of those studies."

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Policy Impact: Prescription Painkiller Overdose
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
November 11, 2012
State officials, health professionals, and community coalitions can use this document as a guide when describing the problem of prescription drug overdoses and to learn what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

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Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)-Like Illness Associated With Intravenous Opana ER Abuse--Tennessee, 2012
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
January 11, 2013
On August 13, 2012, three cases of unexplained thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)-like illness were reported to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). The three patients were intravenous drug users who lived in a rural county in northeast Tennessee. By the end of October, TDH had identified 15 such cases. A case-control study was conducted and investigators determined the reports of TTP-like illness were associated with dissolving and injecting tablets of Opana ER, a recently reformulated extended-release form of oxymorphone (an opioid pain reliever) intended for oral administration.

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Related Article
Blood Disorder Cases Tied to Prescription Painkiller Abuse
The iVillage Network
January 10, 2013
Tennessee health officials discovered reported cases of a rare blood-clotting problem among people who injected Opana ER after crushing pills meant to be taken by mouth. TTP is a disorder that causes blood clots to form in small blood vessels around the body and is usually seen in about 1 in 100,000 people. However, 15 cases were documented in Tennessee from August through October. All were associated with intravenous drug abuse, with 14 specifically related to Opana ER.

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State to Test Prescription Drug Abuse Tracking System
The Charleston Gazette
January 7, 2013
This March, West Virginia will start testing its upgraded database to crack down on prescription drug abuse. A state advisory committee will decide how the database will be used to investigate possible prescription drug diversion crimes. On average, West Virginians receive 2.5 prescriptions per year for narcotic drugs--one of the highest rates in the nation.

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New York City to Restrict Prescription Painkillers in Public Hospitals' Emergency Rooms
The New York Times
January 10, 2013
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Task Force on Prescription Painkiller Abuse issued new rules to prevent prescription drug abuse in the city's 11 public emergency rooms. Doctors can prescribe only up to a 3-day supply of opioids to emergency room patients in the city's public hospitals. Emergency departments will also no longer prescribe long-acting opioid painkillers. The city's health commissioner said more than 2 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers are written in New York City each year.

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DSS Says Prescription Drug Abuse a Problem
McDowell News
January 9, 2013
McDowell County, N.C., Social Services reported that from January to June of 2012, 38 percent of its referrals were associated with substance abuse. The organization has developed a partnership with Project Lazarus to help combat the prescription drug abuse problem.

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Related News Series
Medical Professionals Work to End Prescription Drug Abuse
McDowell News
January 8, 2013
Through screenings and extra procedures, doctors in McDowell County, N.C., are working with Project Lazarus to prevent prescription drug abuse. Doctors are reviewing patients' records from sister hospitals and checking the North Carolina Narcotics State site to see if patients have received a prescription for certain drugs in the past.

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FDA to Require Lower Recommended Dosages for Sleep Drugs
The Washington Post
January 10, 2013
To reduce injury risk associated with morning drowsiness, regulators are ordering drug manufacturers to cut the dose of sleep medications in half for women (who process the drug more slowly). Doses will be reduced from 10 milligrams to 5 milligrams for regular products and from 12.5 milligrams to 6.25 milligrams for extended-release formulations. It has also been recommended that manufacturers apply the lower doses to men, though no action has yet been required.

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Rahall and Rogers Continue Efforts to Fight Drug Abuse
Huntington News
January 10, 2013
This article includes a statement from U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) announcing the relaunch of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. He will co-chair the caucus along with U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (R-Ky.). The caucus's goal is to raise awareness of abuse and develop innovative and effective treatment, prevention, law enforcement, and research policy solutions in the federal sphere.

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FDA Might Tighten Reins on Vicodin
USA Today
January 10, 2013
The Drug Enforcement Agency wants to elevate Vicodin's drug classification to Schedule II--the most restrictive category. The Food and Drug Administration will hold a hearing on this issue in January.

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$1.3 Million Drug Court Program Looks to Help Prescription Drug Abusers
Accessed January 7, 2013
The YouCan drug court program (Florida) has been awarded a 3-year, $1.3 million grant to help prescription drug abusers.

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Addressing an Epidemic of Rx Deaths
Los Angeles Times
January 7, 2013
This editorial about prescription drug overdoses in California discusses how officials must update and recommit to its database of providers and users to help prevent medical emergencies and deaths.

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Wanted: Drug-Free Workers
Wall Street Journal
January 8, 2013
Prescription drug abuse may be affecting prospective and current workers in the Appalachian region. Some businesses are having trouble finding applicants who can pass a drug screening, and prescription drugs are showing up in more workplace drug tests in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Health experts say drug dependency is particularly prevalent in Appalachia because of the high percentage of older, blue-collar workers living in low-income areas. Workers who suffered on-the-job injuries and received prescription pain relievers or endured long stretches of unemployment are more susceptible to drug use and abuse, said Neil Capretto, Medical Director at Gateway Rehabilitation Center.

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Brockton, Quincy Take Aim at Youth Drug Abuse
The Boston Globe
January 5, 2013
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health was awarded $3.6 million by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Eight cities (Brockton, Quincy, Boston, Fall River, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester) will use the funds to focus on prescription drug abuse among youths. (Each community saw more than 300 prescription drug overdoses between 2007 and 2009, according to the article.) Opiate overdose is the leading cause of death from accidental injury in Massachusetts, surpassing falls and motor vehicle fatalities.

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CLAAD Responds to Draft Guidance on Abuse-Deterrent Opioids
PR Newswire
January 9, 2013
Michael Barnes, Executive Director of the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence (CLAAD), released statements in response to the Obama-Biden Administration's issuance of draft guidance on the evaluation and labeling of abuse-deterrent opioid medications. The nonprofit organization coordinates a comprehensive national effort to prevent the diversion, misuse, and abuse of prescription medications while ensuring adequate medical care for patients in need.

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Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse
Richmond Times-Dispatch
January 7, 2013
See tips for parents and community groups on preventing prescription drug abuse among teens. The information is provided by Prescription Safety Matters.

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State Estimates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the NSDUH Report
January 8, 2013
This short report presents state-level prevalence estimates of nonmedical prescription pain reliever use among people age 12 or older, 12 to 17, 18 to 25, and 26 or older. The report also announces the release of the 2010-11 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) state estimates for 25 substance use and mental disorder measures.

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Related Press Release
Prescription Drug Misuse Remains a Top Public Health Concern
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
January 8, 2013
Approximately 22 million people nationwide have initiated nonmedical pain reliever use since 2002, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report also shows variations in use by state, with combined 2010 and 2011 data indicating that rates of past-year misuse among those 12 or older ranged from 3.6 percent in Iowa to 6.4 percent in Oregon. Seven of the 10 states with the highest rates of nonmedical prescription pain reliever use were in the West. Four of the 10 states with the lowest rates were in the Midwest; four were in the South.

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Kentucky Court to Hear OxyContin Maker Lawsuit
The Courier-Journal
January 10, 2013
A Kentucky court will consider a 2007 lawsuit against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma. The lawsuit alleges the company misled health care providers, consumers, and the government about the risk of addiction associated with the drug.

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Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse Becomes Privacy Issue
WSAZ News Channel 3
January 7, 2013
An article and brief video (2:26 minutes) discuss balancing law enforcement's need to have more access to prescription monitoring databases with the need to maintain acceptable levels of privacy.

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Audio News
The Rise of Prescription Drug Abuse, SoundCloud
Native American Calling
January 3, 2013
Listen to a 59-minute recording of Dr. Harry Brown, Chief Medical Officer at Nashville Area Indian Health Service, as he discusses the rise in prescription drug abuse among Native Americans.

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Video News
Alicia Clouse, Florida Teen, Opens Up About Prescription Drug Addiction
The Huffington Post
January 7, 2013
Nineteen-year-old Alicia Clouse started experimenting with prescription pills and marijuana when she was in the eighth grade. Before getting help from Southwest Florida Teen Challenge, she was taking 30-40 Xanax a day that she got from neighborhood kids or at school, according to an ABC News report. Today, Alicia is in a year-long residential program that involves mentoring, one-on-one counseling, and Life Skills training.

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Colorado No. 2 in Nation for Pain Pill Abuse
KKCO 11 News
January 10, 2013
Watch a video (2:49 minutes) or read an article about a local resident who described how he became addicted to painkillers after breaking his back. According to a new federal survey, 6 percent of Colorado residents say they used prescription pain pills for nonmedical reasons in 2010 and 2011. That rate jumps to 14 percent among 18- to 25-year-olds.

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Hooked on a High: America's Prescription Drug Abuse Problem
January 7, 2012
In a 5:28-minute video, 'Geraldo at Large' investigates the growing prescription drug abuse epidemic in America.

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Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Among Teens and Young Adults: Reducing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Tennessee's Experience
Children's Safety Network
November 2012
The number of U.S. babies born addicted to the class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers has nearly tripled over the past decade. In 2009, the estimated cost for total hospital charges for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) was $720 million for 13,539 babies. State Medicaid programs are responsible for the majority of hospital expenditures. This Webinar features Dr. Michael D. Warren from the Tennessee Department of Health discussing the scope of the problem and Tennessee's unique approach to developing and implementing strategies to reduce the incidence of NAS. Handouts are included.

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Additional Resources
Technical Assistance Center on the Prevention of Prescription Abuse in the Workplace (the PAW TA Center)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The PAW TA Center has resources for SAMHSA grantees, community partners, employers, employees, and families, including assessment tools, fact sheets, Web and social networking products, and training materials. Our available materials include

  • A directory of prescription abuse fact sheets and Web resources
  • Fact sheets on the following topics
    • Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness: Information for Employers
    • How to Handle Leftover Medication
    • Realtors: Warn Your Clients About Prescription Drug Theft
    • Attention Shoppers: Keep Your Prescription Drugs Out of Sight
    • Warning to Store Management About Rx Theft From Customers
    • Five Reasons Not to Share Prescription Drugs at Work
    • Safeguard Your Mail-Order Prescription Drugs
    • Opioid Painkillers: Know the Benefits, Understand the Dangers 

For More Information
Send your request for PAW technical assistance to PAW-TA@pire.org or contact Rekaya Gibson at 504.261.8107 or Deborah Galvin at 240.276.2721. Requests are subject to SAMHSA approval. You will be notified of the status of your request.
 Please e-mail Rekaya Gibson at rgibson@pire.org with questions or comments about the SAMHSA Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace Listserv.  
About PAW and the Listserv
The PAW TA Center addresses prescription drug abuse--a growing public health problem with increasing burdens on workers, workplaces, and our economy. Prescription drug abuse affects workplace productivity and increases employee absenteeism, employee presenteeism, and workers' compensation claims. On a wider scale, overdose deaths linked to prescription opioids tripled from 1999 to 2006, and prescription drug abuse killed more Americans in 2009 than died that year in auto crashes.
Send your request for PAW technical assistance to PAW-TA@pire.org or contact Rekaya Gibson at 504.261.8107 or Deborah Galvin at 240.276.2721. Requests are subject to SAMHSA approval. You will be notified of the status of your request.
We aim to conduct systematic and inclusive searches of professional journals, leading newspapers and magazines, and federal websites, as well as contributions from listserv subscribers (please e-mail suggestions to rgibson@pire.org). We will send links to articles along with brief descriptions of those articles. As we develop the listserv, however, we hope to add commentary and invite feedback from subscribers. Our goal is to expand the listserv to become a widely used and recognized source of the most current and authoritative information on prescription drug abuse--especially in workplaces.
The "SAMHSA Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace Listserv" 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 viewpoints or opinions and are not assessed for validity, reliability, or quality. The "SAMHSA Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace Listserv" 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 journal articles. 
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