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More than 100,000 people died over a 12-month period from fatal drug overdoses for the first time in U.S. history, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “To all those families who have mourned a loved one and to all those people who are facing addiction or are in recovery: you are in our hearts,” President Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. “Together, we will turn the tide on this epidemic.” “This tragic milestone represents an increase of 28.5%” over the same period just a year earlier, said Dr. Deb Houry with...
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While Americans were paralyzed by the global pandemic, a second killer was quietly taking lives: drug overdose. In the 12-month period ending March 2021, overdose rates in the United States hit an all-time record. As a person in recovery from opioid addiction who works with some of our most vulnerable at risk of an overdose, I constantly ask myself: how did we get to this point? Over the past year, I’ve buried a half dozen people close to me who died a preventable death. I didn’t need to see the headlines to know that we’re hitting another grim milestone. Even...
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Reported drug overdose deaths in the United States hit a new high of more than 96,000 in the 12-month period ending March 2021, according to data released this month by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. In that 12 months — a period when Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the United States and shut down normal daily routines — the US saw 96,779 reported drug overdose deaths, an increase of 29.6% from March 2020 to March 2021. The numbers released earlier this month are provisional data, as drug overdose deaths require “lengthy investigation”...
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This year’s Mobilize Recovery event was the third annual conference for recovery advocates across the United States. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the national advocacy event was a hybrid event, making it the largest and most accessible training to date. Over 300 advocates attended in person, while nearly 1,000 participants logged in to network, share skills, and cultivate community. The conference was hosted by the world-class Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino and supported by Nevada’s public health department, ensuring that participants would stay healthy and safe. The Voices Project-created event was sponsored by Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Serve You...
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On Sept. 26, 2019, the Department of Justice appointed me to serve on the Official Unsecured Creditors Committee in the bankruptcy case against Purdue Pharma, the company that helped fuel the opioid overdose crisis through the misbranding and reckless marketing of the powerful painkiller OxyContin. The committee acted as a mega-plaintiff, with broad powers to subpoena records, take depositions and cross-examine witnesses. For nearly two years, I attended countless negotiations, depositions and chambers meetings. I read thousands of pages of confidential documents revealing the true nature and depth of Purdue’s liability in the crisis. The proceedings came to a close...
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Macklemore, KT Tunstall, Evvie McKinney, Daphne Willis and The Residency will perform at a concert next month to help raise awareness around addiction and recovery. The “Recover Out Loud” concert will be pre-taped at Las Vegas’ Westgate Resort & Casino before streaming on iHeart’s Facebook and YouTube channels on International Recovery Day on Sept. 30. The event also caps off this year’s National Recovery Month. “The twin pandemics of drug overdose and COVID-19, combined with millions struggling with mental health, makes it imperative and urgent for influencers, policymakers, and corporations with global reach to come together in support of solutions through the...
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Numerous medications that are now available over-the-counter were once prescription-only, including antihistamines, nicotine replacement therapy, and certain analgesics. These nonprescription switches have benefitted public health efforts by establishing universal access, a prime example being the emergency contraceptive Plan B (levonorgestrel), a safe and effective treatment to prevent unintended pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) was one of the first groups to support Plan B’s nonprescription conversion, along with the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), who have supported it as well. After a protracted legal and ethical siege, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made Plan B an over-the-counter medication...
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Fentanyl test strips (FTS) are a simple, inexpensive, and evidence-based method of averting drug overdose. FTS are small strips of paper that can detect the presence of fentanyl in any drug batch—pills, powder, or injectables. This tool might be lifesaving for the teenager experimenting for the first time, the individual in the throes of a severe opioid use disorder, the concert-goer looking for a trip, the person using a preferred substance obtained from a new source, or the individual years into recovery. FTS also support the dignity and well-being of people who use drugs (PWUD), enabling them to make educated...
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The Yale Program in Addiction Medicine, with generous support from the Sandgaard Foundation, will host “Finding Solutions to the Opioid Crisis,” a free web-based speaker series launching in late June 2021. The series will bring together a diverse line-up of experts from across the United States to discuss priority issues in addiction treatment and recovery. The first event in this series, “Principles for the Use of Funds from the Opioid Litigation” will be held on June 29, 2021 from 12 – 1:30 p.m, with guest speaker, Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement, Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, and...
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It’s been a busy few months in the world of addiction recovery advocacy. In April, the Biden administration laid out their first year priorities for recovery. The statement acknowledges the wide impact of the overdose and addiction epidemic, and how COVID-19 has exacerbated the effects. The White House designated addressing the epidemic as an urgent priority for Biden’s administration. In March, the President signed into law the American Rescue Plan, which appropriated nearly $4 billion to enable the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand access to vital behavioral health services....
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