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National survey shows decrease in alcohol, cigarette and illicit drug use among U.S. teens

National survey shows decrease in alcohol, cigarette and illicit drug use among U.S. teens

A national survey of students in U.S. middle schools and high schools shows some important improvements in levels of substance use. [More]
Doctors prescribe fewer opioids for pain as prescription drug abuse rises

Doctors prescribe fewer opioids for pain as prescription drug abuse rises

Nine in 10 primary care physicians say that prescription drug abuse is a moderate or big problem in their communities and nearly half say they are less likely to prescribe opioids to treat pain compared to a year ago, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests. [More]
Research to understand how medical marijuana laws may influence overdose deaths

Research to understand how medical marijuana laws may influence overdose deaths

In states where it is legal to use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where medical marijuana remains illegal, new research suggests. [More]
Once-a-day pill for patients experiencing opioid-induced constipation

Once-a-day pill for patients experiencing opioid-induced constipation

Opioids - strong morphine-based painkillers - are widely prescribed to patients experiencing chronic severe pain. While these drugs are very effective for treating and managing pain, they have one particularly bothersome side effect: constipation. [More]
State highlights: N.C. lawmakers reach Medicaid agreement; Idaho asks SCOTUS to take up Medicaid reimbursement

State highlights: N.C. lawmakers reach Medicaid agreement; Idaho asks SCOTUS to take up Medicaid reimbursement

For the past few weeks, two big issues have kept the two chambers of the General Assembly from reaching an agreement on next year's state budget: teacher salaries and Medicaid. But on Wednesday, the Senate and the House of Representatives finally moved closer to agreement on their Medicaid forecasts, loosening a logjam that's kept legislators in Raleigh past July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year (Hoban, 7/3). [More]

Prescription drug deaths drop in Fla. after crackdown on doctors

Deaths involving narcotic painkillers dropped 26 percent over two years in Florida after stricter doctor scrutiny, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [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 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]
First Edition: May 22, 2014

First Edition: May 22, 2014

Today's headlines include coverage of the Senate Finance Committee vote to recommend Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Department of Health and Human Services. [More]

Special Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation conference to focus on issues surrounding addiction

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's Professionals in Residence program in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Scaife Family Foundation will host a special conference June 20-21 in Minnesota for primary health care providers to learn more about the issues surrounding addiction. [More]
Research roundup: Palliative care and ACOs; employers and Supreme Court case on contraception

Research roundup: Palliative care and ACOs; employers and Supreme Court case on contraception

In preparation for the new ACO environment, leaders recognized the contribution palliative care can make to health care "value," especially in the care of our sickest (and most expensive) patients ... [More]
Pairing school and home programs most effective in curbing teen prescription drug abuse

Pairing school and home programs most effective in curbing teen prescription drug abuse

Programs that aim to curb teen prescription drug abuse have vastly differing effectiveness, ranging from big drops in drug abuse to no measurable effect, according to a new study of 11,000 teenagers by researchers at Duke and Pennsylvania State universities. [More]
Viewpoints: Health law distorting--or 'undistorting' the labor market; gas stations should follow CVS' lead; ways to fight heroin

Viewpoints: Health law distorting--or 'undistorting' the labor market; gas stations should follow CVS' lead; ways to fight heroin

On Wednesday, Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said the obvious: losing your job and choosing to work less aren't the same thing. [More]
Scientists investigate factors that influence choice of abused drugs

Scientists investigate factors that influence choice of abused drugs

Prescription opioid abuse has reached epidemic levels in the past 15 years. Scientists investigating why people favor one drug over another have found that oxycodone and hydrocodone are the drugs of choice for 75% of opioid-dependent individuals. [More]

FDA takes steps to restrict the use of pain meds

The Food and Drug Administration will require a class-wide label change for long-acting opioids aimed at limiting use of these drugs to patients with severe, refractory pain. [More]
First Edition: September 11, 2013

First Edition: September 11, 2013

Today's headlines include reports that some House GOP lawmakers are taking a hard line against funding for the health law in the ongoing debate about raising the nation's debt limit. [More]
Reformulated OxyContin®: an interview with Dr. Paul Coplan, Executive Director, Risk Management and Epidemiology, Purdue Pharma

Reformulated OxyContin®: an interview with Dr. Paul Coplan, Executive Director, Risk Management and Epidemiology, Purdue Pharma

OxyContin contains oxycodone, which is an opioid agonist. It is used for the management of moderate to severe pain when a constant opioid analgesic is needed for a prolonged period of time. [More]
Viewpoints: Medicare's lessons for the health law; Krauthammer says Obama shouldn't try to write his own laws

Viewpoints: Medicare's lessons for the health law; Krauthammer says Obama shouldn't try to write his own laws

As a Sept. 30 budget deadline approaches, many in the Republican Party are pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The law's most radical opponents are even threatening to shut down the government by refusing to pass a continuing resolution, which would fund existing government programs at current or slightly adjusted levels. [More]
State highlights: Texas waits for feds' ok on higher Medicaid payments

State highlights: Texas waits for feds' ok on higher Medicaid payments

California schools may give students insulin injections and other medications without having to call in licensed nurses, the state's highest court ruled Monday. … The unanimous decision was a defeat for the powerful California Nurses Assn., which had argued that only licensed health care workers could administer medicine under a state law that bars the unauthorized practice of nursing (Dolan, 8/12). [More]
State highlights: Hundreds lost D.C. Medicaid without cause, some allege; N.Y. firms accused of political wrongdoing in Medicaid; unions fight NYC health care plan

State highlights: Hundreds lost D.C. Medicaid without cause, some allege; N.Y. firms accused of political wrongdoing in Medicaid; unions fight NYC health care plan

A selection of health policy stories from the District of Columbia, New York, California, Florida, North Carolina and Colorado. [More]