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June 11, 2015

PAW Weekly Update

SAMHSA Prescription Drug Abuse Weekly Update
Issue 126  |  June 11, 2015
The Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace (PAW) TA Center addresses prescription drug abuse—a growing public health problem with increasing burdens on workers, workplaces, and our economy. To subscribe colleagues, family members, or friends to this listserv sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), please click here or send their e-mail addresses to paw@dsgonline.com.
Table of Content Featured Article Journal Articles and Reports Professional Education and Policy Debate National Marijuana International Northeast/Mid-Atlantic News South News Midwest News West News Grant Announcements Take-Back Events and Drop Boxes Upcoming Conferences and Workshops


J. Tiihonen, M. Lehti, M. Aaltonen, J. Kivivuori, H. Kautiainen, L.J. Virta, F. Hoti, A. Tanskanen, and P. Korhonen. 2015. "Psychotropic Drugs and Homicide: A Prospective Cohort Study from Finland." World Psychiatry 14(2):245–47, doi:10.1002/wps.20220.

This case-control study compared pre-crime prescription drug use among 959 of the 993 residents convicted of a homicide in Finland between 2003 and 2011 with 10 controls matched on sex, age, and city of residence. In multivariate regression, odds of committing a homicide were 1.30 with current antidepressant use, 2.52 with benzodiazepine use, 0.62 with antipsychotic use, and 2.16 with opioid analgesic use. For offenders, prescription data were linked for 7 years preceding the homicide. Excluding months while incarcerated for earlier offenses from the exposure period, the relative risk of committing a homicide during prescribed drug use was 3.06 for anti-inflammatory pain relievers, 1.31 for antidepressants, 1.45 for benzodiazepines, and 1.92 for opiate pain relievers, and the risk did not differ significantly from baseline for antipsychotics. For people under age 26, relative risk was 3.23 for current opiate pain reliever use and 1.95 for benzodiazepine use. The analysis controlled for perpetrator alcohol involvement in 79.4 percent of homicides and for illicit drug involvement in 5.3 percent.

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R.A. Grucza, M. Hur, A. Agrawal, M.J. Krauss, A.D. Plunk, P.A. Cavazos–Rehg, F.J. Chaloupka, and L.J. Bierut. 2015. "A Reexamination of Medical Marijuana Policies in Relation to Suicide Risk." Drug and Alcohol Dependence 152:68–72, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.04.014.

Prior research found adoption of state medical marijuana law was correlated with a reduced suicide death rate. That result did not hold up when more years of data and more covariates were added (odds ratio 1.000 overall and 0.996 among men, also not significantly reduced for any age-by-sex groups). The study shifted from state aggregate analysis to person-level analysis, with a 1 percent random sample of U.S. adults stratified by state as the control group.

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Journal Articles and Reports

K–C. Chang, T–H. Lu, K–Y. Lee, J–S. Hwang, C–M. Cheng, and J–D. Wang. 2015. "Estimation of Life Expectancy and the Expected Years of Life Lost Among Heroin Users in the Era of Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) in Taiwan." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.05.033.

Of 1,283 adult heroin users diagnosed with DSM–IV opioid dependence at a Taiwan psychiatric center between March 2006 and July 2008, 983 voluntarily started opioid substitution treatment (OST), while 300 declined OST. By 2011, virtually all users originally randomized to receive buprenorphine during 2006–08 were shifted into methadone treatment because they failed to adhere to the medication schedule. Linking to death data for 2006–11, all-cause mortality rates for the OST and declined-OST groups were 15.5 and 23.9 per 1,000 person-years, representing standard mortality ratios (SMRs) of 7.5 and 10.2 times the rate in the general population. The pattern of SMRs for suicide mortality differed: 16.2 with OST and 3.1 after declining OST. After extrapolation to 50 years of survival, the estimated average life expectancy and expected years of life lost were 27.4 and 10.6 for OST subjects, compared with 20.2 and 18.4 after declining OST. (Editor's note: The OST and declined-OST populations are self-selected, so differences observed between these groups probably do not result from OST.)

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A. Espelt, G. Barrio, D. Álamo–Junquera, M.J. Bravo, A.F. Sarasa–Renedo, F. Vallejo, G. Molist, and M.T. Brugal. 2015. "Lethality of Opioid Overdose in a Community Cohort of Young Heroin Users." European Addiction Research 21(6):300–06, doi:10.1159/000377626.

A street-recruited 2001–02 cohort of 791 heroin users ages 18–30 recruited in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, was followed through 2006. Rates of fatal and self-reported nonfatal opioid overdose were 0.7 and 15.8 per 100 person-years, with 4.2 percent of overdoses fatal.

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J.C. Fernandes, D. Campana, T.S. Harwell, and S.D. Helgerson. 2015. "High Mortality Rate of Unintentional Poisoning Due to Prescription Opioids in Adults Enrolled in Medicaid Compared to Those Not Enrolled in Medicaid in Montana." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.05.032.

Among adults ages 18–64, matching 2003–12 Montana vital statistics records on unintentional death from prescription opioid poisoning to Medicaid eligibility files revealed 28 percent of deaths were among Medicaid recipients. Only one third of Medicaid decedents had an opioid prescription claim during the month before their death. Half of Medicaid-enrolled decedents with a claim for an upload, however, had five or more identified opioid-prescribing healthcare providers. The age-adjusted mortality rate from opioid poisoning was 38.2 per 100,000 among Medicaid enrollees, versus 4.7 per 100,000 among other adults.

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K.L. Matson, J.E. Pawasauskas, and F. Procopio. 2015. "Reported Behaviors of Prescription-Drug Misuse and Medication Safety Among Students Attending a Rhode Island University." Rhode Island Medical Journal 98(6):37–40.

In a survey of 333 undergraduate students recruited after filling prescriptions at University of Rhode Island's pharmacy in fall 2013, 77 percent said they rarely or never used locked prescription medication storage; 81 percent improperly disposed of medication; 28 percent had witnessed medication sharing; and 27 percent had shared medication. Female students were more likely to store medications unlocked. Students living on campus were more likely to witness medication sharing, while off-campus students were more likely to have shared medications. During 2013, 10.6 percent of all prescriptions filled for students by the pharmacy were for controlled substances.

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J. Meiman, C. Tomasallo, and L. Paulozzi. 2015. "Trends and Characteristics of Heroin Overdoses in Wisconsin, 2003–2012." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.04.002.

During 2003–12, age-adjusted rates of heroin overdoses treated in and released from Wisconsin emergency departments increased from 1.0 to 7.9 per 100,000 people, while hospitalized heroin overdoses increased from 0.7 to 3.5 per 100,000. Whites accounted for 68 percent of hospitalized heroin overdoses during 2003–07 and 80 percent during 2008–12. Heroin-related deaths occurred predominantly among urban residents; rural fatalities rose from 0 in 2003 to 31 (17 percent of deaths) in 2012. At ages 18–34, compared with patients hospitalized for prescription opioid overdose, heroin overdose patients were more often male (73.0 percent versus 54.9 percent), uninsured (44.2 percent versus 29.9 percent), and urban (84.3 percent versus 73.2 percent). Rates of emergency department visits for heroin overdose in this age group exceeded rates for prescription opioid overdose in 2012 (26.1 per 100,000 versus 12.6 per 100,000, respectively).

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G. Mitra, E. Wood, P. Nguyen, T. Kerr, and K. DeBeck. 2015. "Drug Use Patterns Predict Risk of Non-Fatal Overdose Among Street-Involved Youth in a Canadian Setting." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.05.035.

In a longitudinal cohort of 615 street-involved Vancouver, Canada, youths without a history of overdose at recruitment, 98 (16 percent) reported a nonfatal overdose between September 2005 and May 2012 (eight cases per 100 person-years of monitoring). Multivariate Cox regression showed binge drug use (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] 1.85), noninjection crystal methamphetamine use (AHR 1.7), noninjection prescription opiate use (AHR 2.6), injection prescription opiate use (AHR 2.5), and injection heroin use (AHR 1.85) were positively associated with time to nonfatal overdose, but social, behavioral, and demographic factors were not.

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P. Nattala, P. Murthy, T. Kandavel, and L.B. Cottler. 2015. "Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs in Bangalore, India." Indian Journal of Public Health 59(2):87–94, doi:10.4103/0019-557X.157500.

A survey of 717 people interviewed at five randomly selected shopping malls in Bangalore, South India, found nonmedical use of different prescription drug classes over the past 12 months involved anti-inflammatories and analgesics (26 percent), opioids (17 percent), antibiotics (13 percent), and sedatives (12 percent). The majority reported "use without prescription, and got the drugs from chemist shops" (i.e., pharmacies). In multivariate analysis, variation in nonmedical use by demographics varied by drug class. Sixty-five percent agreed with the notion that although "doctor's prescription is not required for common complaints, we can decide ourselves," while 60 percent agreed "it's okay to deviate from a prescription as needed," and that "using prescription medicines is more socially acceptable, and safer, compared to alcohol or illicit drugs."

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J. Rando, D. Broering, J.E. Olson, C. Marco, and S.B. Evans. 2015. "Intranasal Naloxone Administration by Police First-Responders Is Associated with Decreased Opioid Overdose Deaths." The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2015.05.022.

Starting in October 2013, trained police officers in Lorain County, Ohio, administered naloxone to suspected opioid overdose victims. In January 2011–October 2014 data on 188 fatal overdoses, deaths rose significantly before program initiation, with averages per quarter of 5.5 in 2011, 15.3 in 2012, and 16.3 for the first 9 months of 2013, but they fell to 13.4 per quarter when the program began. Of the 67 people treated with naloxone by police, 52 (78 percent) survived, 7 (10 percent) died, and 8 (12 percent) were lost in follow-up.

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K.D. Wagner, L. Liu, P.J. Davidson, J. Cuevas–Mota, R.F. Armenta, and R.S. Garfein. 2015. "Association Between Non-Fatal Opioid Overdose and Encounters with Healthcare and Criminal Justice Systems: Identifying Opportunities for Intervention." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.05.026.

Using street- and venue-based outreach, newspapers ads, flyers, websites, and peer referrals, researchers recruited a cohort of 573 San Diego adults who injected drugs between June 2012 and January 2014. In computer-assisted interviews, 41.5 percent reported ever experiencing a heroin or opioid overdose, including 7.9 percent who had experienced at least one overdose in the past 6 months. Multivariate analysis showed receiving hospital care in the past 6 months (odds ratio [OR] 4.08) and being arrested for drug possession in the past 6 months (OR 5.17) were associated with experiencing an opioid overdose in the past 6 months.

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Professional Education and Policy Debate

M.A. Coea and S.L. Walsh. 2015. "Distribution of Naloxone for Overdose Prevention to Chronic Pain Patients." Preventive Medicine, doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.05.016.

This commentary reflects on the growing opioid overdose epidemic fueled in part by chronic pain patients prescribed opioids. It advocates expanding naloxone access and overdose prevention training from injection drug users to chronic pain patients.

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American Society of Addiction Medicine Releases National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use
June 2, 2015

The American Society of Addiction Medicine released its National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use. This practice guide will assist clinicians in prescribing pharmacotherapies to patients with opioid-related addiction. It addresses knowledge gaps in the benefits of pharmaceutical treatments and their role in recovery, while guiding evidence-based coverage standards by payers.

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Psychemedics Announces Addition of FDA Cleared Drugs
Market Watch
June 2, 2015

Psychemedics Corporation announced the addition of oxymorphone (Opana®) and d-amphetamine (Adderall®) to its hair-testing panels. The company added oxymorphone to its standard detection panel at no additional charge and says it is currently the only hair-testing laboratory that can screen for d-amphetamine.

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Time Magazine Releases Cover Story on Pain Killers
National Pain Report
June 4, 2015

Time Magazine's June issue featured a cover story on America's reliance on pain medication, calling it the worst addiction crisis the country has ever seen. The article reports how the Food and Drug Administration approved powerful drugs for long-term use without enough data; pharmaceutical companies marketed those drugs aggressively; and doctors wrote prescriptions for the drugs too freely. The piece also discusses addiction.

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Costco Reiterates Authorities Have Sought Information over Controlled Substances
Josh Beckerman, The Wall Street Journal
June 4, 2015

Costco Wholesale Corporation has received subpoenas from the Drug Enforcement Administration concerning prescriptions for controlled substances and related practices. U.S. Attorneys in various districts have expressed "their belief that the company has committed civil regulatory violations concerning these subjects."

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Allowing Drug Abusers to Sue Pharmacists Could Affect Opioid Dispensing
Allison Gilchrist, Pharmacy Times
June 3, 2015

The West Virginia Pharmacist Association's executive director said a decision by the state's Supreme Court of Appeals allowing drug abusers to sue pharmacists could have a far-reaching influence on controlled substance dispensing. He said the ruling puts pharmacists "in harm's way." Pharmacists will need to pay close attention to the West Virginia Controlled Substances Monitoring Program.

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Silk Road Mastermind Ross Ulbricht Sentenced to Life in Prison
Julianne Pepitone, NBC News
May 31, 2015

Ross Ulbricht, the 31-year-old operator of the online black market Silk Road, was sentenced to life in prison. Ulbricht received seven federal convictions on counts including narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, running a criminal enterprise, and money laundering. He was ordered to pay the government more than $183 million—the value investigators placed on the illegal drug and identification transactions made on Silk Road.

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Related Article

What Were the Most Popular Drugs on Silk Road?
Mark Fahey, CNBC
June 1, 2015

Nicholas Christin, a Carnegie Mellon researcher, gathered 8 months of data that showed the 20 most popular categories on Silk Road. Marijuana topped the list, followed by the nonspecific category "drugs," and prescription drugs. Christin's research also showed 16 of the top 20 categories were drug related. (Includes a graph showing the percentage of listings by category)

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College and University Dorm Room Markets Targeted to Secure Meds and Valuables
June 3, 2015

Rx Safes Incorporated will market its Rx DrugSAFE prescription medicine lock boxes to colleges and universities in an effort to prevent prescription drug theft on campus. The company plans to launch its college campus program through several national distributors.

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Medical Marijuana License Is No Shield Against Felony Possession Charges on University Campuses
Ted Hesson, Vice News
June 5, 2015

Medical marijuana is banned on college campuses because federal grants and other federal funding require that universities and colleges abide by controlled substance laws. If caught, students can face felony convictions for possession, lose their financial aid, and be expelled. This holds true at Colorado universities, where state law allows cannabis consumption for anyone over 21. At the University of Colorado Boulder, students caught with marijuana are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and the university does not always involve law enforcement.

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Marijuana in the Workplace Factsheet
University of Washington, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute
June 2013

There are several reasons why marijuana use is not acceptable in the workplace: 1) the drug is illegal under federal law, 2) employers may test for and prohibit marijuana use by their employees, 3) work performance may be affected, and 4) the safety of the worker and others may be affected. Although recreational marijuana use was legalized in Washington in 2012 (Initiative 502), the law does not offer protection to employees who use marijuana after hours if their workplace has a drug-free policy.

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Illicit Drug Positivity Rate Increases Sharply in Workplace, Finds Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ Analysis
Quest Diagnostics
Accessed June 3, 2015

The percentage of American workers that tested positive for illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine increased for the second consecutive year in the U.S. workforce, according to a report from Quest Diagnostics. In 2014, the positivity rate for 6.6 million urine drug tests was 4.7 percent—up from 4.3 percent in 2013. Positivity also rose based on 1.1 million oral fluid and hair drug tests. Marijuana positivity increased from 2.0 percent in 2012 and 2.1 percent in 2013 to 2.4 percent in 2014. In the safety-sensitive workforce, marijuana positivity increased from 0.63 percent in 2012 and 0.67 percent in 2013 to 0.71 percent in 2014. From 2012 (before recreational marijuana became legal) to 2013 to 2014, marijuana positivity rates rose from 1.92 percent to 2.30 percent to 2.62 percent in Colorado, and from 1.93 percent to 2.38 percent to 2.75 percent in Washington.

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Texas Legalizes Medical Marijuana
June 1, 2015

The Texas governor signed a bill into law allowing people with epilepsy or other chronic diseases to get medical marijuana. This bill excludes marijuana with a high amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). (Includes video: 1:18 minutes)

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Marijuana Could Treat PTSD Under Legislation OK'd by House
Seth A. Richardson, The State Journal-Register
May 30, 2015

The Illinois House passed Senate Bill 33, which would expand the state's medical marijuana pilot program to include posttraumatic stress disorder. The bill now returns to the Senate.

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Attorney: Medical Marijuana Cards Should Be Allowed as Defense in DUI Cases
Lauren Gilger, ABC 15
June 3, 2015

The Arizona Supreme Court agreed to review an appeals court decision in which drivers who have medical marijuana cards can be prosecuted for driving under the influence. In two cases, defendants argued they should be able to use their medical marijuana like other prescription drugs. The District One appeals court disagreed, ruling the medical marijuana law does not provide immunity for patients because the drug is not prescribed by a doctor but recommended. An Arizona Supreme Court representative said arguments for this case will likely take place in September.

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Drug-Drive Testing Added to Drink-Drive Campaign
BBC News
June 1, 2015

The North Wales Police Department is launching the All Wales Summer Anti-Drink and Drug Drive Campaign this month. During the campaign, motorists will be tested for cannabis and cocaine for the first time by four Welsh police forces. Officers will screen for eight prescription and eight illegal drugs after a change in regulations. During last summer's drink-drive campaign across Wales, 15,485 breath tests were carried out, with 358 positive tests.

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Northeast/Mid-Atlantic News

Hassan Signs Bill Making Overdose-Reversing Drug Narcan Available by Prescription
Brian Wallstin, New Hampshire Public Radio
June 2, 2015

New Hampshire's governor signed a bill into law removing naloxone from the state's list of controlled substances. The legislation makes naloxone available to drug users as well as friends and families of individuals with a history of opioid misuse. The law also exempts any medical professional who administers naloxone from criminal or civil liability or disciplinary action by a licensing board. (Includes audio: 37 seconds)

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Heroin Epidemic Too Big for Carroll County, NH Authorities
June 3, 2015

Officials in Carroll County, N.H., said the heroin problem is bigger than local police can handle. The rural area lacks resources and treatment centers. Carroll County brought together law enforcement, medical personnel, business owners, and former addicts to start working toward a solution. (Includes video: 2:30 minutes)

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New York State Senate Passes Bill to Address Prescription Drug Abuse
Gates-Chili Post
June 1, 2015

The New York State Senate passed Bill S3402, which creates penalties for theft, sale, and unauthorized possession of a blank New York State prescription form. The bill heads to the Assembly.

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State Police: Sterling Music Festival Was Drug Supermarket
Sarah Moses, Syracuse Media Group
June 2, 2015

New York's Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team made 46 undercover drug buys during the Folk Music Festival at Sterling Stage in Oswego County. Police seized drugs worth thousands, and more than $40,000 in cash. Vendors posted signs listing which drugs were available for sale. Several individuals were arrested for selling illegal substances, including cocaine, MDMA ("Molly"), hallucinogenic mushrooms, hash, and prescription medications. The police also seized a highly potent form of marijuana called "marijuana wax." Many drug dealers were from other states—some as far as California.

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Some Baltimore Pharmacy Owners Wait for Police Response to Looting
M. Puente and I. Duncan, The Baltimore Sun
May 29, 2015

A survey by the Baltimore Development Corporation found 27 pharmacies were among the more than 380 businesses damaged during the Baltimore riots. Pharmacy owners said police have not responded to their numerous requests to report the missing drugs. So far, agents have found 20 pharmacies and two methadone clinics that were looted. Neither local police nor the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) knows how many of the pharmacies' opiates were stolen. The DEA said gangs targeted pharmacies in search of pills to sell, and city officials believe the stolen drugs could be contributing to an increase in violence and murders. (Includes video: 1:26 minutes)

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During Massachusetts Heroin Crisis, Number of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Grows
Jill Kaufman, WNPR
June 3, 2015

In Massachusetts, 2013 census data showed 34,000 grandparents were raising their grandchildren—a 20 percent increase since 2005. Some individuals call the state to involuntarily commit a family member for a substance use disorder. Families often refer to this as being "sectioned," after Massachusetts State Law Chapter 123, Section 35. Franklin County courts used to see two to three Section 35s a month, but are now seeing two to three a day. Most are related to heroin and prescription opioids. Last year, the county had 69 sections filed—56 were from grandparents. (Includes audio: 6:34 minutes)

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South News

Law Change to Expand Law Enforcement Access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Marci Manley, KARK
June 2, 2015

An Arkansas law has been amended, expanding access to the state prescription drug monitoring program to certified law enforcement without a search warrant. Safeguards are in place to protect privacy, such as tracking capability and annual audits. The police chief or sheriff and any certified drug investigators will be required to attend training and submit a form to gain system access. Their activity will be tracked by a personalized password. Misusing the system can be grounds for termination and, under the law, is considered a felony.

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Drug Database Could Get State Funding
June 1, 2015

Florida lawmakers will consider House Bill 3A during a special legislative session. The bill would allow tax dollars to be used for the state's prescription drug monitoring program during the 2015–16 fiscal year only.

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Pain Pills Lead to Spike in Fatal Overdoses Across Alabama
Amy Yurkanin, Alabama Media Group
June 1, 2015

The Alabama Department of Forensic Science reported that 10 of 16 substances that frequently contributed to fatal overdoses in Alabama came from a pharmacy. Almost all overdose deaths in Lee County happen after the victim mixes two or more drugs (one of those drugs is almost always an opioid). Last year, investigators at the Jefferson County Medical Examiner's Office found 107 opioid-positive tests for overdose victims and 43 benzodiazepine-positive tests. Alprazolam appeared in the highest number of toxicology reports (32), and hydrocodone came in second, followed by fentanyl, methadone, and oxycodone. Prescription drugs caused 36 of 71 overdose deaths in the first 3 months of 2015. In Morgan County, about 90 percent of overdose deaths were caused by prescription pills. Etowah County's coroner said the majority of overdose deaths happen when a patient ingests drugs legally. Shelby County had nine overdose deaths in 2003 and 40 in 2014. The number of overdose deaths in DeKalb County increased from 9 in 2009 to 20 in 2013. In the last quarter of 2014, almost every overdose in the county included oxycodone and Valium. In Baldwin County, the coroner often finds a toxic combination of methadone and oxycodone.

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Police: Heroin Problem Escalating in Delray Beach
Palm Beach Post
June 2, 2015

Police said heroin use is increasing in Delray Beach, Fla. Three people died after overdosing in May. In that month alone, there were 26 heroin overdoses.

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LANP Encourages NPs to Enroll in the Prescription Monitoring Program
Rebecca Thibodaux, Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners
May 30, 2015

The Louisiana prescription drug monitoring program is available to advanced practice registered nurses. In this article, the Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners highlights the program's benefits.

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Midwest News

Law Ensures Medicaid Coverage for Heroin Detox Services
Katie Stancombe, Indianapolis Star
June 4, 2015

Indiana passed House Bill 1448 (the Jennifer Act), which requires Medicaid to cover inpatient substance misuse and detoxification services and establishes education programs for judges, public defenders, and lawmakers.

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Heroin Bill Passes
May 31, 2015

The Illinois Senate approved legislation that would make naloxone available to individuals trained to use the drug. It also encourages state officials and local agencies to jointly create a program for collecting unused prescription drugs. The bill heads to the governor's desk. (Includes video: 2:05 minutes)

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Ohio Reconsiders Good Samaritan Heroin Law
Chrissie Thompson, Cincinnati Enquirer
June 2, 2015

Ohio lawmakers are reconsidering the Good Samaritan bill after Kentucky passed a similar law. The bill would exempt individuals from drug charges if they call 911 when a friend overdoses. It would exclude anyone carrying more than a gram of heroin—enough for about 10 doses. If a 911 caller is on probation for another offense, the caller would not be sent to jail and would be required to enter a treatment program.

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Clermont County Unveils Plan for Fighting Heroin Abuse
Cindy Schroeder, Cincinnati Enquirer
June 3, 2015

Clermont County, Ohio, will implement a four-step plan to combat the heroin epidemic by December 2016. The Clermont County Opiate Task Force was formed 2 years ago to address the problem. The first step includes establishing a residential detoxification unit and 150 units of recovery housing for addicts and their families. The second step is to prevent county residents from misusing opioids by promoting drop boxes, hosting town hall meetings, and distributing educational materials. The third step aims to educate the public about overdose risks, increase support services for opiate addicts, and distribute naloxone. The fourth step involves reducing the supply of opiates by supporting street-level officers and organized law enforcement units.

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West News

Idaho Counties Added to National Drug Trafficking List
Andrea Lutz, KTVB
May 29, 2015

Ada and Canyon Counties have been added to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas designation list. The designation provides access to federal partnerships and funding to combat large quantities of drugs coming into Idaho from adjoining states. State police say drug traffickers are smuggling in marijuana, methamphetamines, prescription drugs, and heroin. (Includes video: 2:44 minutes)

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Walmart to Use Tucson Firm's Drug-Monitoring System
Arizona Daily Star
June 3, 2015

Walmart will use drug-therapy management technology developed by SinfoníaRx to monitor prescription drugs and identify potential problems within a patient's regimen. Pharmacists will work with patients and their doctors to improve use of single and multiple drugs, cut healthcare costs linked to unused prescribed drugs, and fill gaps in care.

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Emergency Rooms Crack Down on Abusers of Pain Pills
Miles Bryan, NPR
June 3, 2015

Hospitals in some states have developed tracking systems specifically tailored to the emergency room (ER) to monitor people seeking prescription pain relievers. The ER at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Wyoming recently started a program. Through its system, a hospital panel will meet monthly to decide if patients flagged for unhealthy behavior should officially be labeled "abusers." Once patients' names are flagged, the hospital will send out certified letters telling them they will not be prescribed pain relievers for anything other than a dire emergency. Dr. Eric Ketcham helped create a program at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, N.M., a few years ago. The program cut the number of ER visits by 5 percent a year—saving the hospital about half a million dollars annually. (Includes audio: 3:52 minutes)

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Drug Overdoses in Pima County Surpass 300 Per Year
Arizona Daily Star
June 1, 2015

The Pima County Medical Examiner's Office handled 324 overdose deaths in 2014—down three from the previous year. The majority of deaths were classified as unintentional opiate drug overdoses.

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Grant Announcements

Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program
Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance
Deadline: June 16, 2015

COPS AHTF Application 2015
Department of Justice, Community-Oriented Policing Services
Deadline: June 19, 2015

Take-Back Events and Drop Boxes

Prescription Drug Take Back Event June 13
KVAL (Oregon)
June 3, 2015

Marion County Drug Take Back Day Set for June 20
Naeem McFadden, Marion Star and Mullins Enterprise (South Carolina)
June 2, 2015

HPD Drug Drop Scheduled
The Gleaner (Kentucky)
Accessed June 4, 2015

Record Drug Take Back Day in Laurel
Candace Coleman, WHLT (Mississippi)
June 1, 2015

Prescription Take Back Program a Success
WICZ TV (New York)
May 29, 2015

Springboro Now Collecting Old Prescription Drugs
Jill Drury, WDTN (Ohio)
May 29, 2015

Drug Disposal Box Available at Chickasha PD
Alissa Lindsey, Chickasha Express Star (Oklahoma)
May 29, 2015

Prescription Drug Disposal Will Continue
Roger Levendusky, WDOR (Wisconsin)
June 1, 2015

Police Offer Drop Box for Unused Medications
The Journal Times (Wisconsin)
June 2, 2015

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Second Annual Medical Marijuana Regulatory Summit
International Cannabis Association
June 18, 2015
New York, New York


Pharmacy Diversion Awareness Conference
Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control
June 27–28, 2015
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mid-Year Training Institute
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
August 2–6, 2015
Indianapolis, Indiana


Fourth Annual Generation Rx University Conference for Collegiate Prevention and Recovery
The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy
August 4–6, 2015
Columbus, Ohio

28th Annual National Prevention Network Conference: Bridging Research to Practice
National Prevention Network
November 17–19, 2015
Seattle, Washington

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.