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November 7, 2012

SAMHSA Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace Listserv

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November 7, 2012 (PDF version)
Journal Articles

Frank, Joseph W., et al. "Management of Substance Use Disorders in Ambulatory Care in the United States, 2001-2009." Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012:1-2. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.4504.

An estimated 22.5 million Americans meet criteria for a substance use disorder diagnosis. Opioid use has recently attracted attention as overdose deaths related to opioid analgesic use have increased nearly fourfold in the past decade. Effective treatment options have also increased during this period. The effect of these developments on the delivery of substance abuse treatment in traditional ambulatory care settings is not known. More change is expected as federal legislation is implemented.
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Miech, Richard, et al. "Increasing Use of Nonmedical Analgesics Among Younger Cohorts in the United States: A Birth Cohort Effect." Journal of Adolescent Healthdoi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.07.016

Researchers analyzed the National Survey on Drug Use and Health data from 1985 to 2009 and found a substantial increase in the prevalence of nonmedical analgesics among all cohorts and ages. However, the rate was significantly higher among today's youth.

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Related News Article:
Young People Driving Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse
October 16, 2012

In a new study conducted by the University of Colorado, researchers found adolescents are abusing prescription medication at a rate 40 percent higher than previous generations.

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Shahly, Victoria, et al. "The Associations of Insomnia with Costly Workplace Accidents and Errors: Results From the America Insomnia Survey." Archives of General Psychiatry. 2012;69(10):1054-1063. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.2188

When researchers surveyed 4,991 participants, they found average costs of insomnia-related accidents and errors were significantly higher than those related to other accidents and errors. In addition, insomnia accidents cost employers $31 billion a year.

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Related News Article:
Study Links Insomnia to $31 Billion in U.S. Workplace Errors
October 1, 2012

Insomnia is to blame for 274,000 workplace accidents and errors each year, according to a new study by a Harvard Medical School clinical psychologist. A lack of sleep may be linked to problems on the job; however, the study is not conclusive. Insomnia treatment that incorporates 4 to 5 hours of cognitive behavioral therapy is relatively inexpensive.

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Billioti de Gage, Sophie, et al. "Benzodiazepine Use and Risk Of Dementia: Prospective Population Based Study." British Medical Journal. 2012;345:e6231.

In this prospective population-based study, new use of benzodiazepines was associated with increased risk of dementia. The result was robust in pooled analyses across cohorts of new benzodiazepine users throughout the study and in a complementary case-control study.

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Truxillo, Donald M., et al. "Reactions to Employer Policies Regarding Prescription Drugs and Medical Marijuana: The Role of Safety Sensitivity." Journal of Business and Psychology. 2012:1-14.

Researchers found employees who perceived their jobs as low in safety sensitivity reported more favorable reactions to policies allowing prescription drugs than policies allowing medical marijuana. Employees in high safety sensitive jobs did not differentiate between the two drugs, reacting negatively to policies accommodating either drug.

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News Articles & Reports

Drop in Illicit Drug Use in Cities, Uptick in Prescription Drug Abuse
October 15, 2012

Over a 2-year period (2007-2009), the Drug Abuse Warning Network found an 8 percent decline in emergency department visits for street drugs, whereas prescription drugs increased 2 percent. Data and conclusions are preliminary.

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The DAWN Report: Highlights of the 2010 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Findings on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits 
SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality
July 2, 2012

There were 4.9 million drug-related emergency department (ED) visits in 2010. Of the 2.3 million ED visits related to drug misuse or abuse, 1.3 million involved pharmaceuticals. ED visits related to pharmaceutical misuse or abuse increased 115 percent between 2004 and 2010.

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Did Prescription Abuse Drop Among Young Adults or Has the Problem Shifted?
October 25, 2012

Prescription drug abuse is an unexpected but very real problem. For many, it's the start of a long road of drug addiction leading to broken families and shattered self-respect. According to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, however, prescription drug use is down 14 percent among adults ages 18 to 25. The decrease is likely due to recent measures addressing prescription drug abuse.

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Substance Abuse Diagnoses Increasing In U.S.
October 22, 2012

Possibly driven by a surge in painkiller abuse, the number of drug and alcohol problems diagnosed by doctors in the U.S. increased by 70 percent between 2001 and 2009, according to new research. "We know that increases in prescription drug use are a big part of what's going on nationally. I also think--in our study--the availability of effective treatment is a big part of it as well and likely drawing people into care," said the study's lead author Dr. Joseph W. Frank.

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Quest Diagnostics Health Trends Report. Prescription Drug Misuse in America, Laboratory Insights into the New Drug Epidemic
Quest Diagnostics

From January to December 2011, Quest Diagnostic analyzed 75,997 urine samples from females and males age 10 and up. The company tested for 26 commonly prescribed and abused drugs. Researchers found most people (63 percent) misused their prescription medications. The risk of misuse was highest among 10- to 24-year-olds.

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The ADA and Workplace Drug Testing: What Are an Employer's Rights?
October 25, 2012

An employee who works under the influence of drugs or alcohol may, at the very least, have diminished productivity and poor work performance. At worst, he poses a serious safety risk to himself and those around him. Enacting a clear drug testing policy to eliminate workplace substance abuse is an important step toward maintaining a safe work environment.

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Workers' Comp Physicians Not Following Guidelines for Opioid Use, Study Shows
Risk & Insurance
October 25, 2012

Efforts in Massachusetts and Texas aimed at curbing opioid misuse in the workers' comp system seem to be effective, according to a new study examining longer-term use of narcotics in 21 jurisdictions. The Workers Compensation Research Institute looked at nearly 300,000 claims representing injuries from Oct. 1, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2009, with prescriptions filled up to March 31, 2011. Researchers also assessed how often recommended patient monitoring occurred.

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Herb and Drug Interactions, New Study Findings
October 25, 2012

True or false: It's always safe to take herbal remedies and nutritional supplements if you're taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Even if you know the correct answer (it's false), it's important to know about herb and drug interactions and the combinations that carry potential risks.

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Minorities More Likely to View Generic Drugs as Inferior, Study Finds
Medical Press
October 24, 2012 

Negative perceptions about generic drugs are more widespread among ethnic minorities than among whites, says a new study in Ethnicity & Disease. Greater use of generic drugs could significantly reduce two major problems: patients failing to take medications properly because they cannot afford brand name drugs, and the amount spent overall on prescription medication.

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Over-Caffeinated: Will the Monster Energy Drink Debacle Prompt Change?
October 23, 2012 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received incident reports suggesting five recent deaths were linked to consumption of Monster Beverage Corp's energy drinks. One girl's parents are suing Monster, claiming her consumption of the drinks led to the caffeine toxicity responsible for her death (she did have an underlying health condition). Emergency room visits related to energy drink consumption have risen tenfold between 2005 and 2009 and now number over 13,000 annually. Whether these incidents will prompt the FDA to shift policies or change their definition of "supplement" is unclear.

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New Express Scripts Workers' Compensation Product Helps Payers Address Cost Impact of Physician Dispensing
The Sacramento Bee
October 18, 2012

In an effort to change customers' behavior, Express Scripts is sending personalized letters to injured workers, encouraging them to use generic medications. The company hopes its new Consumerology program--an advanced application of behavioral science to healthcare--will help employers save money on medications.

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ADA Doesn't Cover Operator's Illegal Vicodin Use
Risk & Insurance
October 18, 2012

The United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, explained the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect the operator because he illegally used prescription drugs by obtaining multiple Vicodin prescriptions. In addition, the Family and Medical Leave Act does not apply because the reinstatement of his employment was contingent upon completion of rehabilitation, according to the employee's policy.

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Workstation Medication: Prescription Drug Use at Work Leads to Conflict
Urban Tulsa Weekly
October 17, 2012

Several employees who lost their jobs due to prescription drug use are suing employers. This article describes the cases and drug-testing policies.

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Promoting Global Workplace Health: 13 Companies That Get It
October 11, 2012

The success of workplace health promotion and wellness programs depends on senior management's belief that such programs are valuable to business, according to a new report by Buck Consultants. The group profiled 13 multinational workplace health promotion programs and identified eight success factors for organizations to implement global health promotion.

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Experts Suggest Lower Initial Doses of ER Oxymorphone in Elderly
Pain Medicine News
October 2012

Researchers found older women can have up to 40 percent higher plasma drug levels than younger women. In such cases, lower doses of extended-release oxymorphone are recommended.

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Pain Management and Employers
Northeast Business Group on Health

Employee pain can cost employers up to $336 billion a year in lost productivity. The Northeast Business Group on Health conducted a roundtable of 17 employer representatives from 10 organizations to discuss how pain affects employees and employers. In addition, the group discussed how new approaches to early recognition and effective management can help improve the system.

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Drugstores Struggle to Fill Prescriptions in Areas Hard-Hit by Hurricane Sandy 
The Huffington Post 
November 1, 2012

Many New Jersey and New York pharmacies are still without power after Hurricane Sandy ravished the Northeast corridor, and drugstores are scrambling to ensure patients get their prescription medications. Although chains like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens stocked up on drugs and medical supplies before the storm, smaller stores are struggling to recover or operating without electricity.
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Hurricane Sandy Looting, Fights Plague South Brooklyn 
The Huffington Post
October 31, 2012
As flooding in Brooklyn, N.Y., continued last week, looters broke into shops and pharmacies and rifled through more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items and prescription drugs.
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Please e-mail Rekaya Gibson at rgibson@pire.org with questions or comments about the SAMHSA Prescription Drug Abuse 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.
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