West Virginia University Logo

March 26, 2014


SAMHSA Prescription Drug Abuse Weekly Update
Issue 64  |  March 26, 2014
The Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace (PAW) TA Center addresses prescription drug abuse—a growing public health problem with increasing burdens on workers, workplaces, and our economy. To subscribe colleagues, family members, or friends to this listserv sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), please click here or send their e-mail addresses to paw@dsgonline.com.
Table of Content Featured Article Journal Articles and Reports News Other State and Local News Other Resources Webinar Grant Announcements Grant Awards Take-Back Events and Drop Boxes Save the Dates Upcoming Conferences and Workshops


R. Dufour, A.V. Joshi, M.K. Pasquale, D. Schaaf, J. Mardekian, G.A. Andrews, and N.C. Patel. 2014. The Prevalence of Diagnosed Opioid Abuse in Commercial and Medicare Managed Care Populations. Pain Practice 14(3):E106–15, doi: 10.1111/papr.12148.

This retrospective claims data analysis analyzed the prevalence of diagnosed opioid abuse and the parallel prevalence of prescription opioid use in half-year intervals for commercial and Medicare members enrolled with Humana Incorporated, from January 2008 to June 2010. Diagnosis of opioid abuse was defined by ≥ 1 medical claim with any of the following ICD–9–CM codes: 304.0 ×, 304.7 ×, 305.5 ×, 965.0 ×, excluding 965.01, and opioid use was defined by ≥ 1 filled prescription for an opioid. The prevalence of medically attended opioid abuse was defined by the number of members with an opioid abuse diagnosis, divided by the number of members enrolled in each six-month interval. The six-month prevalence rate of diagnosed opioid abuse increased from 0.84 to 1.15 per 1,000 among commercial and from 3.17 to 6.35 per 1,000 among Medicare members. In contrast, prescription opioid usage rates did not rise markedly during the same period (118.0 to 114.8 per 1,000 commercial members; 240.6 to 256.9 per 1,000 Medicare members). The prevalence of diagnosed opioid abuse was highest among members younger than 65 for both genders in commercial (18- to 34-year-olds) and Medicare (35- to 54-year-olds) populations.

Read more:

M.K. Pasquale, A.V. Joshi, R. Dufour, D. Schaaf, J. Mardekian, G.A. Andrews, and N.C. Patel. 2014. Cost Drivers of Prescription Opioid Abuse in Commercial and Medicare Populations. Pain Practice 14(3):E116–25, doi:10.1111/papr.12147.

Continuing their study of Humana Inc. claims data, researchers analyzed costs, resource use, and comorbidities 365 days prediagnosis and postdiagnosis in 8,390 diagnosed prescription opioid abusers versus 16,780 matched nondiagnosed controls. Postdiagnosis, abuse-related costs were $2,099 for commercial members, $539 for Medicare members aged < 65, and $170 for Medicare members aged ≥ 65. Total healthcare costs for abusers were significantly higher for controls, $1,550 for commercial members, $3,442 for younger Medicare members, and $2,692 for elderly Medicare members. A higher percentage of cases than controls had pain conditions (82.0 percent versus 57.4 percent commercial, 95.9 percent versus 87.5 percent Medicare members age < 65, 92.9 percent versus 82.4 percent Medicare members age ≥ 65) and had multiple opioid prescribers (3.7 versus 1.4 commercial, 3.3 versus 2.2 Medicare < 65, 2.2 versus 1.6 Medicare ≥ 65). Cases had higher rates of substance abuse and psychiatric diagnoses prediagnosis and postdiagnosis. Adjusted costs were 28 percent higher for cases than for controls.

Read more:

Journal Articles and Reports

Adis Medical Writers. 2014. Rapid and Individualized Management Is Required When Overdose With an Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Drug Occurs. Drugs and Therapy Perspectives, doi:10.1007/s40267–014–0114–8.

Patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often require pharmacological treatment for symptom control. Overdose of stimulant or nonstimulant ADHD drugs is relatively common among children, adolescents, and adults and is associated with major morbidity. Rapid supportive care, including cardiovascular and respiratory support, as well as individualized drug-specific treatment, is essential when individuals overdose on ADHD drugs.

Read more:

K.A. Beyene, J. Sheridan, and T. Aspden. 2014. Prescription Medication Sharing: A Systematic Review of the Literature. American Journal of Public Health 104(4):e15–26, doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301823.

Researchers reviewed the literature on nonrecreational prescription medication sharing. They searched PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and a customized database for all relevant articles published through 2013. They identified 19 studies from nine countries with 36,182 participants, ranging in age from children to older adults, and published between 1990 and 2011. The prevalence rate for borrowing someone's prescription medication was 5.0 percent to 51.9 percent and for lending prescription medication to someone else was 6.0 percent to 22.9 percent. A wide range of medicines were shared between family members, friends, and acquaintances.

Read more:

Corinne Canestrelli, Nicolas Marie, and Florence Noble. 2014. Rewarding or Aversive Effects of Buprenorphine/Naloxone Combination (Suboxone) Depend on Conditioning Trial Duration. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, doi: 10.1017/S146114571400025X.

This study compared the rewarding effects, assessed by conditioned place preference, of buprenorphine and buprenorphine/naloxone combination following i.v. administration in mice. Animals were treated with different doses of buprenorphine or buprenorphine/naloxone combination (ratio 4:1), and conditioned place preference conditioning trial duration was 5 or 30 minutes. At the longest trial duration, a bell-shaped dose-response curve was obtained with buprenorphine; it shifted significantly to the right with naloxone combination. At the shortest trial duration, an aversive effect was observed with the buprenorphine/naloxone combination in animals, involving opioid receptor-like 1. These findings may explain discrepancies reported in the literature, as some authors have shown a reduced buprenorphine/naloxone misuse compared with buprenorphine in opioid abusers, while others have not.

Read more:

Bryan N. Cochran, Annesa Flentje, Nicholas C. Heck, Jill Van Den Bos, Dan Perlman, Jorge Torres, Robert Valuck, and Jean Carter. 2014. Factors Predicting Development of Opioid Use Disorders Among Individuals Who Receive an Initial Opioid Prescription: Mathematical Modeling Using a Database of Commercially Insured Individuals. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.02.701

This investigation used a large commercial insurance claims database to identify demographic, mental health, physical health, and healthcare service utilization variables that differentiate persons who receive an opioid abuse or dependence diagnosis (disordered) within two years of filling an opioid prescription from those who do not receive such a diagnosis within the same time frame (nondisordered). When compared with nondisordered, the disordered were more likely to 1) be male (59.9 percent versus 44.2 percent for nonopioid prescription) and younger (M=37.9 versus 47.7); 2) have a prescription history of more opioids (1.7 versus 1.2), and more days supply of opioids (M=272.5, versus M=33.2; 3) have prescriptions filled at more pharmacies (M=3.3 per year versus M=1.3); 4) have greater rates of psychiatric disorders; 5) use more medical and psychiatric services; and 6) be prescribed more concomitant medications. A predictive model incorporating these findings was 79.5 percent concordant with actual opioid disorder in the data set.

Read more:

E. Jennifer Edelman, Tongtan Chantarat, Sarah Caffrey, Amina Chaudhry, Patrick O'Connor, Linda Weiss, David A. Fiellin, and Lynn E. Fiellin. 2014. The Impact of Buprenorphine/Naloxone Treatment on HIV Risk Behaviors Among HIV–Infected, Opioid-Dependent Patients. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.03.006.

Researchers conducted a longitudinal analysis of 303 HIV–infected, opioid-dependent patients initiating buprenorphine/naloxone treatment. Outcomes included self-reported past 90-day needle-sharing and noncondom use. Needle-sharing decreased over the 12 months following initiation of buprenorphine/naloxone (9 percent versus 3 percent, p < 0.001), while noncondom use did not (23 percent versus 21 percent, p=0.10). HIV risk behaviors did not vary based on the presence of a detectable HIV–1 RNA viral load. Patients who were homeless and used heroin cocaine/amphetamines or marijuana were more likely to report sharing needles. Heroin use fully mediated the relationship between time since treatment initiation and needle-sharing. Women, patients who identified as being gay/lesbian/bisexual, those married or living with a partner, and those who reported heroin or alcohol use were more likely to report noncondom use. Older patients were less likely to report noncondom use.

Read more:

Grace E.C. Frankel, Howard Intrater, Malcolm Doupe, and Michael Namaka. 2014. Opioid Misuse in Canada and Critical Appraisal of Aberrant Behavior Screening Tools. World Journal of Anesthesiology 3(1):61–70, doi:10.5313/wja.v3.i1.61.

Researchers reviewed available clinical screening tools for detecting aberrant behaviors associated with opioid misuse. Tools reviewed included the Drug Abuse Screening Test, the Addiction Behaviors Checklist, Diagnosis, the Intractability, Risk and Efficacy Inventory, the Pain Assessment and Documentation Tool, the Prescription Drug Use Questionnaire, the Prescription Opioid Therapy Questionnaire, the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients With Pain, the Revised Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients With Pain, the Pain Medication Questionnaire, the Opioid Risk Tool and Current Opioid Misuse Measure. The tools varied widely in quality, sensitivity, and specificity. Most have been validated only in pain clinic populations.

Read more:

Jason A. Gregg and Jill S. Jones. 2014. What Clinical Practice Strategies Can Be Utilized to Help Reduce the Incidence of Heroin Abuse in Rehabilitation Patients on Chronic Opioid Therapy? Rehabilitation Nursing, doi: 10.1002/rnj.151.

This case study discusses Justin Smith, a 26-year-old white male receiving biweekly physiotherapy and Oxycodone for chronic low back pain. The physical rehabilitation team is weaning the patient off his pain medication. Smith was confronted when his urine drug screen detected a high level of morphine activities and 6–AM indicating positive use of heroin. He admitted to snorting heroin over the past six weeks. His nonopioid therapies were increased to four times a week, and ultrasound heat therapy was added to the regimen. Smith's opioid prescription was changed from Oxycodone to Percocet at a comparable dosage. He also was referred to an addiction specialist who assumed responsibility for weaning him off the opiate prescriptions while addressing the heroin abuse. The authors suggest that research in the prevention and identification of heroin abuse in patients on chronic opioid therapy is lacking. Risk screening tools and prevention education components specific to heroin abuse are needed for prescription opioids users.

Read more:

Kohei Hasegawa, David F.M. Brown, Yusuke Tsugawa, and Carlos A. Camargo Jr. 2014. Epidemiology of Emergency Department Visits for Opioid Overdose: A Population-Based Study. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.12.008

Researchers analyzed opioid overdose events in 2010 and 2011 inpatient and emergency department (ED) discharge census data for California and Florida. They identified 19,831 unique patients with 21,609 ED visits for opioid overdose. During a one-year period, 7 percent of the patients had more than one ED visit, accounting for 15 percent (n=3167) of all opioid overdose ED visits. Middle age, male sex, public insurance, lower household income, and comorbidities (such as chronic pulmonary disease and neurological diseases) were associated with frequent ED visits for overdose. Overall, 53 percent of ED visits for opioid overdose resulted in admission and 10 percent led to a near-fatal overdose involving mechanical ventilation.

Read more:

Sharlene Kaye, Shane Darke, and Michelle Torok. 2014. Diversion and Misuse of Pharmaceutical Stimulants Among Illicit Drug Users. Addiction Research and Theory 22(2):109–16, doi:10.3109/16066359.2013.779677.

Researchers recruited 269 Australian cocaine or methamphetamine abusers during 2009–10 through needle and syringe programs, residential rehabilitation services, street press, and word of mouth and paid them Au$30 to answer a survey. Of the 31 percent who had ever used diverted pharmaceutical stimulants, most had used repeatedly. Half initiated use in adulthood. In multivariate regression, diversion was significantly associated with being younger (OR=0.93), more years of schooling (OR=1.28), and a more extensive history of polydrug use (OR=1.58).

Read more:

Alison Looby, Kyle T. Kassman, and Mitch Earleywine. 2014. Do Negative Stimulant-Related Attitudes Vary for Prescription Stimulants and Cocaine Among College Students? Addictive Behaviors, doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.03.012.

Ninety-one students completed a survey for partial fulfillment of psychology research credit at a large northeastern U.S. university. Predictably, nonmedical prescription stimulant use users and cocaine users reported more positive attitudes toward the drugs they used than other respondents.

Read more:

Maryann Mazer–Amirshahi, Peter M. Mullins, Irit Rasooly, John van den Anker, and Jesse M. Pines. 2014. Rising Opioid Prescribing in Adult U.S. Emergency Department Visits: 2001–10. Academic Emergency Medicine 21(3):236–43, doi: 10.1111/acem.12328.

Researchers analyzed trends in opioid and nonopioid analgesia prescriptions among patients 18 and older, using 2001 through 2010 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey emergency department (ED) data. Between 2001 and 2010, the percentage of ED visits where any opioid analgesic was prescribed increased from 20.8 percent to 31.0 percent. Use of Drug Enforcement Administration Schedule 2 analgesics increased from 7.6 percent to 14.5 percent. Use of Schedule 3 through 5 agents increased from 12.6 percent to 15.6 percent. Prescribing of hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, and Oxycodone all increased significantly, while codeine and meperidine use declined. Prescribing of nonopioid analgesics was unchanged (26.2 percent in 2001 and 27.3 percent in 2010). From 2005 to 2010, hydromorphone and Oxycodone increased most in ED administration while Oxycodone and hydrocodone increased most in discharge prescriptions. The percentage of visits for painful conditions during the period increased from 47.1 percent to 51.1 percent.

Read more:

Sean Esteban McCabe, Brady T. West, Christian J. Teter, and Carol J. Boyd. 2014. Trends in Medical Use, Diversion, and Nonmedical Use of Prescription Medications Among College Students From 2003 to 2013: Connecting the Dots. Addictive Behaviors, doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.03.008.

Researchers examined trends in the lifetime and past-year prevalence of student medical use, diversion, and nonmedical use of four prescription medication classes (sedative/anxiety, opioid, sleeping, and stimulant). They analyzed self-administered, cross-sectional Web surveys conducted in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 at the University of Michigan. About one individual in five reported nonmedical use of at least one prescription medication class in his or her lifetime. Past-year prevalence of medical use, diversion, and nonmedical use of prescription stimulants increased significantly between 2003 and 2013, while past-year prevalence of medical use, diversion, and nonmedical use of prescription opioids decreased significantly. The odds of past-year nonmedical use of each prescription medication class were generally greater among males, whites, members of social fraternities and sororities, and those with a lifetime history of medical use of prescription medications or a past-year history of being approached to divert their prescription medications.

Read more:

R. Kathryn McHugh, Sara Park, and Roger D. Weiss. 2014. Cue-Induced Craving in Dependence Upon Prescription Opioids and Heroin. American Journal on Addictions, doi:10.1111/j.1521–0391.2014.12129.x

This study found evidence for cue-induced craving in individuals dependent on prescription opioids. A sample of 50 adults diagnosed with opioid dependence (20 prescription opioid users, 25 heroin users, and 5 mixed opioid users) completed a cue reactivity assessment. Participants were administered a series of 90 pictures, including heroin-specific, prescription opioid–specific, and neutral images, and were asked to rate craving and cue salience after each image. Both the prescription opioid and heroin groups experienced significantly more craving to drug than to neutral stimuli. Cravings were weaker in the prescription opioid group than in the heroin group.

Read more:

Shannon B. Peck, Joshua Gilchrist, and Lee Clemans–Taylor. 2014. Is There a Primary Care Tool to Detect Aberrant Drug-Related Behaviors in Patients on Opioids? Journal of Family Practice 63(3):162–64.

The current opioid misuse measure predicts aberrant drug-related behaviors in primary care patients who have been prescribed opioids within the past 12 months with a sensitivity of 77 percent and specificity of 77 percent (strength of recommendation: B, cohort studies). Although not validated in primary care populations, three other instruments (the Addiction Behaviors Checklist, the Prescription Opioid Misuse Index, and the Prescription Drug Use Questionnaire) detect aberrant drug-related behaviors in pain center patients with chronic pain with sensitivities of 82.0 percent to 87.5 percent and specificities of 86.1 percent to 92.3 percent (strength of recommendation: B, cohort studies).

Read more:

Robert Taylor, Robert B. Raffa, and Joseph V. Pergolizzi. 2014. Opioid Formulations With Sequestered Naltrexone: A Perspective Review. Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, doi: 10.1177/2042098614526769

The researcher reviewed several major abuse deterrent strategies (formulations). These products should be a first step in trying to address diversion and abuse in a manner that does not discriminate against any particular patient and aligns with universal prescribing precautions. They should also comprise only one aspect of an overall opioid risk management plan.

Read more:

Khary K. Rigg and Jason A. Ford. 2014. The Misuse of Benzodiazepines Among Adolescents: Psychosocial Risk Factors in a National Sample. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 137(1):137–42, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.01.026

Using data on 12- to 17-year-old youths from the 2011 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, multivariate logistic regression models estimated lifetime risk of benzodiazepine misuse was higher for females, respondents under strain, abusers of other substances, and respondents with lackadaisical views toward substance abuse as risky or who had peers with lax views.

Read more:

L.R. Stanley, S.D. Harness, R.C. Swaim, and F. Beauvais. 2014. Rates of Substance Use of American Indian Students in 8th, 10th, and 12th Grades Living on or Near Reservations: Update, 2009–12. Public Health Report 129(2):156–63.

Researchers compared substance use rates for a large sample of American Indian students living on or near reservations for the years 2009–12 with national prevalence rates using Monitoring the Future data. They identified and sampled schools on or near American Indian reservations by region; 1,399 students in sampled schools were administered the American Drug and Alcohol Survey. Oxycontin use was higher for American Indian students than among other students.

Read more:

Eric R. Wright, Harold E. Kooreman, Marion S. Greene, R. Andrew Chambers, Aniruddha Banerjee, and Jeffrey Wilson. 2014. The Iatrogenic Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse: County-Level Determinants of Opioid Availability and Abuse. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.03.002.

Researchers used geospatial regression to analyze county-level information combined with 2011 data from Indiana's prescription drug monitoring program. Access to health care generally, and to dentists and pharmacists in particular, increases the availability of prescription opioids in communities, which, in turn, is associated with higher rates of opioid abuse. Local healthcare system density proved a major determinant of community-level access to opioids.

Read more:


Call to Battle Connecticut's Heroin Epidemic, Increase SAMHSA Authorization
March 17, 2014

Connecticut's U.S. senators are calling for more federal money and other assistance to battle a growing heroin epidemic in the state and across the nation. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal announced a five-point plan to help reduce the spread of heroin that includes increasing the $1.8 billion authorized by the Obama administration for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The senators proposed increasing federal support for a law-enforcement crackdown on heroin trafficking, increasing funding to prevent heroin and prescription drug abuse, promoting community collaboration among social service agencies, and increasing the availability of heroin-overdose drugs.

Read more:

States Consider Synthetic Drug Bans, Opioid Education for Doctors and Marijuana Laws
Partnership at Drugfree.org
March 19, 2014

This article discusses bills that state legislatures are considering across the country. Some bills would ban synthetic drugs, require education for doctors who prescribe opioids, and expand the use of the drug overdose antidote naloxone. Sherry Green, CEO of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, says she is also seeing many state bills that would require doctors and pharmacists to use state prescription monitoring databases.

Read more:

Other State and Local News

Medication Disposal Program Passes Colorado House
CBS Denver
March 19, 2014

The Colorado House passed a bill that would direct the state's Department of Public Health and Environment to create a program to collect and dispose of unused medications at approved collection sites. The bill heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Read more:

Overdoses Mounting in the Mountains
March 15, 2014

Law enforcement and health officials across western North Carolina increasingly are seeing cases of prescription drug abuse. The sheriff's office said that emergency personnel now respond to 7 to 10 overdoses a week in Henderson County, population 108,000, that are intentional or accidental. Those overdoses result in three or four deaths a month. Most involve prescription drugs. The North Carolina Division of Public Health reported that Henderson County had 138 unintentional poisoning deaths during 2002–12, with about 90 percent of them medication related. Opioid analgesics were the top three contributors.

Read more:

Kentucky Addicted Babies Increasing Despite Pain Pill Crackdown
March 14, 2014

This article and video (2 minutes, 57 seconds) discuss prescription drug abuse among Kentucky mothers who give birth to addicted babies. The increase in babies born dependent on drugs continues to rise despite Kentucky's effort to reduce prescription drug abuse. The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center reported that the state has seen hospitalizations for drug-dependent newborns increase from 28 in 2000 to 824 in 2012. Medical professionals say a recent spike in heroin use is adding to the problem. Henrietta Bada, a neonatal–perinatal medicine doctor, said the University of Kentucky sees about 12 drug-dependent babies a month. Lori Devlin, a neonatologist with the University of Louisville's pediatrics department, said about 9 percent of babies born in Kentucky are exposed to drugs during pregnancy and about two thirds probably have neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Read more:

Bethel Adopts Resolution Supporting the Administering of Narcan by Police Officers
Delaware County (Pa.) News Network
March 18, 2014

Bethel (Pa.) supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution supporting legislation to permit police officers to carry and administer Naloxone. Pennsylvania state law currently prohibits unauthorized persons from administering prescription drugs. The Bethel police chief said Bethel has volunteered to be a pilot program in the county.

Read more:

Sen. Jackson Introduces Bill to Create Statewide Drug Take-Back Program for California
March 18, 2014

Sen. Hannah–Beth Jackson is introducing a bill that would create a California drug take-back program. Her bill will help address the prescription drug abuse problem, accidental poisonings, and traces of pharmaceuticals found in drinking water. California currently has about 305 drug take-back sites, but Jackson says more sites are needed and the multibillion dollar drug industry must pay for it.

Read more:

Prescription Drug Abuse an All-Too-Familiar Story
Indy Star
March 17, 2014

This article discusses prescription drug abuse in Indiana. It also mentions the recent arrest of Indianapolis Colts' owner Jim Irsay, who was charged with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor of operating while intoxicated. Indiana has launched a prescription drug abuse task force focused on reducing the misuse of opioids, which caused 654 accidental overdoses in the state during 2010 alone. Joan Duvwe, chief medical officer at the Indiana State Department of Health and cochair of the task force, said all scheduled drugs have addiction potential and taking multiple pain relievers can be lethal.

Read more:

Rep. Sprague Announces Steps Made to Educate Children About Opioids
Ohio House of Representatives
March 14, 2014

The Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 367, an initiative to educate youth about opioids and their addictive properties. The bill requires each school district to include instruction on prescription opioid abuse prevention in their health curriculum. It mandates the governor's Cabinet Opiate Action Team to produce recommendations for this instruction and to submit them to the Ohio Department of Education.

Read more:

State Panel Issues Recommendations on Combating Drug Abuse
Press of Atlantic City
March 18, 2014

The governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse released a report saying New Jersey should expand prescription monitoring rules and make it easier for people to have drug treatment covered by insurance. The report said that admissions to licensed or certified New Jersey substance abuse programs because of prescription drug abuse have increased sevenfold over the past decade. Other recommendations included expanding mental health and substance abuse programs in county jails, creating a public awareness campaign involving pharmaceutical companies and the health insurance industry, and amending New Jersey's prescription drug monitoring program to "require pharmacies to provide real-time prescription information, as the prescription is filled or at least within 24 hours," and share information with other states.

Read more:

Two Rhode Island General Assembly Bills Target Prescribing Practices for Addictive Drugs
Providence Journal
March 19, 2014

Rhode Island introduced two bills designed to improve prescribing practices for addictive prescription drugs. Senate Bill 2523 would require doctors and other practitioners licensed to prescribe controlled substances to register with the state's PDMP when they register or renew their prescribing licenses. The bill also allows "authorized designees" and pharmacists to access information contained in the prescription drug monitoring program. Senate Bill 2561 would require the state health director to establish regulations to allow practitioners to fax prescriptions for controlled substances. Both bills were tabled for further study.

Read more:

Staten Island District Attorney Donovan, Others Call for City Hall Attention to Prescription Drug Abuse
Staten Island Advance
March 17, 2014

This article discusses the need to reduce prescription drug abuse in Staten Island, N.Y., with the help of the mayor's Task Force on Prescription Painkiller Abuse. Local officials stressed the importance of the new mayor's support for the task force, which has not met since the Bloomberg administration. The task force had been tracking pain reliever abuse with RxStat and had launched RxCrimes, a database tracking all pharmacy robberies in New York state and most of New Jersey. The task force also issued clinical guidelines to stop doctors from overprescribing opioids, launched public health campaigns with commercials and conferences in Staten Island, and expanded the availability of naloxone.

Read more:

Changes to Prescription Database Bill Put House and Senate at Odds
WESA 90.5 FM
March 20, 2014

This article discusses a Pennsylvania measure that expands the state's prescription drug monitoring program to allow law enforcement access without a search warrant. A state Senate committee approved the measure, which the House passed last fall. The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association worked to get a search warrant requirement out of the proposal. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania called the amended measure a "travesty."

Read more:

Access Care and Resources Health to Dispense Narcan to Help Combat Fatal Overdoses
March 20, 2014

This article discusses Access Care and Resources for Health's plan to educate and dispense Narcan to public health officials and community members. The company has staff in nine counties to train responders about Narcan. The New York State Department of Health approved the organization to operate the prevention program.

Read more:


Policies, Programs, and Interventions to Prevent Prescription Drug Overdose and Abuse
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Monday, March 31, 2014
12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. MDT

This two-part seminar series will offer consultation and guidance to states on developing comprehensive evaluation plans to inform key public health research objectives and recommendations, provide data for program improvement efforts, and discuss outcomes with state and local leaders, members of the public health community, funders, and other stakeholders. Participants will learn and discuss strategies to evaluate activities to achieve public health impact across multiple domains (for example, prevention, surveillance, diversion control, treatment, and recovery), determine reasonable outcome measures, and assess potential opportunities to build on successes and expand evaluation work.

Read more:

Girls and Substance Use: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Doctor Wants Sport to Consider Sleeping Pill Ban
ABC Australia
March 14, 2014

This video (7 minutes, 37 second) discusses sleeping pill abuse among the National Rugby League. The club doctor says use is "widespread" and calls for a ban on sleeping pills. Players will be tested for Stilnox and other prescription drugs during the upcoming season. First offenders testing positive will receive counsel; second offenders will have all laws applied. Zolpidem is not banned, but its use is strongly discouraged.


Grant Announcements

Fiscal Year 2014 Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Bureau of Justice Assistance — Department of Justice
Deadline: May 6, 2014

Grants Awarded

Grant to Coordinate Care for Substance-Abusing Pregnant Women
Southern Maryland Newspapers
March 19, 2014

The Calvert County Health Department received a $230,000 grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission to provide comprehensive health care and other services to pregnant women with substance abuse issues. The program, called "Healthy Beginnings—Infant Morbidity and Mortality Reduction," will assist pregnant women and women of reproductive age with earlier entry into and coordination of prenatal care, and addiction and mental health services. The Calvert County substance abuse outpatient services have seen a 350 percent increase in requests for treatment for prescription drug abuse. The number of pregnant women who are abusing heroin also has risen.

Read more:

Take-Back Events and Drop Boxes

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan Unveils New Prescription Drug Drop-Off Box at Williamsburg Police Department
Republican (Massachusetts)
March 19, 2014

South Milwaukee (Wis.) Police Department Has Medication Collection Program
March 15, 2014

Coatesville (Pa.) Area Gets New Drug Collection Boxes
Times of Chester County (Pa.)
March 17, 2014

Save the Dates

National Take-Back Initiative
Drug Enforcement Administration
April 26, 2014

Twenty-Seventh Annual NPN Prevention Research Conference
National Prevention Network
September 15–18, 2014

Sixth Annual American Medicine Chest Challenge National Day of Awareness and Safe Disposal of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medicine
American Medicine Chest Challenge
November 8, 2014

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Pharmacy Diversion Awareness Conference
U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration
April 5–6, 2014—St. Louis, Missouri, Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
June 28–29, 2014—Phoenix, Arizona, Renaissance Phoenix Downtown
July 12–13, 2014—Sheraton Philadelphia (Pa.) Downtown Hotel
August 2–3, 2014—Denver (Colo.) Marriott Tech Center

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

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

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

2014 Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program National Meeting
Brandeis University, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Training and Technical Assistance Center
September 22–24, 2014
Washington, D.C.
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.