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Heroin is a very addictive chemical called diacetylmorphine. Heroin is a modified form of morphine, a highly abundant opium derived from the seedpods of the poppy plant.
First Edition: June 19, 2014

First Edition: June 19, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about how the 2015 insurance premium rates are shaping up across the country and details of consumers' experiences in trying to get their new coverage. [More]
State highlights: Illinois Medicaid digital shift delayed; N.C. hospitals fight cuts; heroin in New England

State highlights: Illinois Medicaid digital shift delayed; N.C. hospitals fight cuts; heroin in New England

Alexian Brothers Health System is suspending its effort to launch a new Medicaid program, blaming the difficulty of connecting physicians using different electronic records systems. The Arlington Heights, Ill.-based health system was spearheading a so-called accountable care entity (ACE) to coordinate the care of about 46,000 patients on Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled. The ACEs are a form of managed care, one of Gov. Pat Quinn's initiatives to focus on preventative treatment to keep patients healthy and reduce health care costs (Schorsch, 6/17). [More]
First Edition: June 18, 2014

First Edition: June 18, 2014

Today's headlines include a report that the cost of health law subsidies may push the measure's overall price tag beyond projections. [More]
Researchers find sharp increase in deaths from commonly prescribed painkillers in US, Canada

Researchers find sharp increase in deaths from commonly prescribed painkillers in US, Canada

The number of deaths involving commonly prescribed painkillers is higher than the number of deaths by overdose from heroin and cocaine combined, according to researchers at McGill University. [More]
State highlights: New La. abortion restrictions; new Mass. hospital deal; Medicare and ambulances in N.J.

State highlights: New La. abortion restrictions; new Mass. hospital deal; Medicare and ambulances in N.J.

A selection of health policy stories from Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri, Maryland, New York, Kansas and Washington state. [More]
First Edition: June 13, 2014

First Edition: June 13, 2014

Today's headlines include various updates on what Virginia lawmakers did in an attempt to resolve the state's budget impasse and Medicaid expansion debate. [More]

Mass. to spend $20 million to combat opioid use

Governor Deval Patrick announced the plan Tuesday that will also team with five other New England states to upgrade treatment and expand coverage abuse of the drugs. [More]
New therapeutic interventions could render addiction into manageable disease

New therapeutic interventions could render addiction into manageable disease

Neuroscientists agree that abuse of drugs hijacks circuits in the brain that are crucial for decision-making, but society as a whole tends to stigmatize addicted people for lacking self-control. [More]
BioDelivery Sciences receives approval of NDA for BUNAVAIL from FDA

BioDelivery Sciences receives approval of NDA for BUNAVAIL from FDA

BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc. received approval of the New Drug Application (NDA) for BUNAVAIL™ (buprenorphine and naloxone) buccal film (CIII) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). [More]

Many heroin users transitioned from prescription opioids, finds study

A research paper published in the May 28, 2014 issue of JAMA Psychiatry a paper entitled "The Changing Face of Heroin Use in the United States A Retrospective Analysis of the Past 50 Years" concluded that heroin abuse has left low-income urban areas and has become prevalent in more affluent suburbs and rural areas with mostly white populations. [More]

Community OOPPs can improve bystander responses to overdose of heroin

Community opioid overdose prevention programs (OOPPs)-including the use of naloxone for rapid drug reversal-can improve bystander responses to overdose of heroin and related drugs, according to a review in the June Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. [More]
State highlights: NYC mental health task force; Minn. seeks marijuana boss; N.C. disparities for gay community

State highlights: NYC mental health task force; Minn. seeks marijuana boss; N.C. disparities for gay community

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new task force Monday to overhaul how New York City's corrections system treats the mentally ill -- both in jail and out -- following the grisly deaths of two inmates with psychological problems (6/2). [More]
First Edition: June 3, 2014

First Edition: June 3, 2014

Today's headlines include coverage of Medicare data released Monday indicating that 2012 charges for some common inpatient hospital procedures dramatically increased over the previous year. [More]
State highlights: NYC plan for treating mentally ill; Kan. town gets abortion services again; Iowa medical marijuana

State highlights: NYC plan for treating mentally ill; Kan. town gets abortion services again; Iowa medical marijuana

Mayor Bill de Blasio has asked several of his commissioners and aides to provide him with a plan by September to reduce the rate of incarceration among New Yorkers with mental illness. The effort, which City Hall will announce on Monday, is the administration's first major criminal justice initiative. Named the Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System, it will include recommendations from the police and correction commissioners, the Manhattan district attorney, hospital administrators and judges (Goldstein, 6/1). [More]
Research roundup: End-of-life preferences; surviving trauma when older; ACA's big waiver for states

Research roundup: End-of-life preferences; surviving trauma when older; ACA's big waiver for states

Policies and practices that promote advance care planning and advance directive completion implicitly assume that patients' choices for end-of-life (EOL) care are stable over time, even with changes in health status. [More]
CMS says it won't review billings despite IG report that it overpays doctors

CMS says it won't review billings despite IG report that it overpays doctors

The move comes even as a report points at $6.7 billion in overspending in Medicare. The HHS inspector general also says that the program paid $457 million in 2012 to detect drugs after a sharp increase in prescription drug abuse. [More]
State highlights: Mental health funding in Kansas; EHR problems claim CEO's job; 'litany of woes' at IHS

State highlights: Mental health funding in Kansas; EHR problems claim CEO's job; 'litany of woes' at IHS

A selection of health policy stories from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, and Wyoming. [More]
State highlights: New abortion restrictions in Louisiana; aging gracefully in the Gopher State

State highlights: New abortion restrictions in Louisiana; aging gracefully in the Gopher State

A bill that could result in the shuttering of up to four of Louisiana's five abortion clinics overwhelmingly received full passage from the Louisiana Legislature Wednesday (May 21), and Gov. Bobby Jindal has indicated he will sign it into law. The legislation is, in part, based on a similar measure passed in Texas last year and led to the closing of several abortion clinics in that state. In its last legislative hurdle, the House concurred an amendment on Wednesday (May 21) that was added to the bill on the Senate side (Lane, 5/22). [More]

Braeburn announces new clinical trial for Probuphine based on clear guidance from FDA

Braeburn Pharmaceuticals announced today the initiation of a new clinical trial for Probuphine® based on clear guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The study, which was submitted for FDA review in mid-March, is expected to begin enrollment by mid-year and to be completed by the middle of 2015. [More]
Viewpoints: Boehner's 'truthful gaffe' on health law; Larry Kramer's AIDS crusade; costly drugs

Viewpoints: Boehner's 'truthful gaffe' on health law; Larry Kramer's AIDS crusade; costly drugs

Although "repeal and replace" has been the Republican position on Obamacare since 2010, "replace" has been there mainly because it polled well. Republicans were satisfied with the health-care status quo in 2009, and would have been glad to repeal Obamacare to return to it. As Steve Benen points out, Republicans voted for just-plain-repeal many times. [More]