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  • The Crisis Continues: Opioids in the News, March 2018

    Last week President Trump signed a 2018 budget bill that includes more than $3 billion for opioid efforts. The plan allocates $500 million in grant funding for research on opioid addiction, development of opioid alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment; $20 million for telemedicine and distance learning in rural areas to help address opioids; and $1 billion among states and American Indian tribes. The spending plan includes wins for other areas of health care, even as some providers and public health experts say it falls short of what's needed.

    But that's just 1 recent development related to the nation's opioid crisis. Here's a brief roundup of other recent opioid-related news reports and stories.

    Opioid Painkiller Is Top Prescription in 10 States
    Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (brand name Norco or Vicodin) is 1 of the most commonly filled prescriptions in the United States, according to an analysis by GoodRx, an online prescription cost service.

    Measuring the Toll of the Opioid Epidemic Is Tougher Than It Seems
    Comprehensive national data on opioid prescribing, treatment, overdoses, and deaths is often incomplete, contradictory, or simply unavailable.

    Americans Take More Pain Pills—but not Because They're in More Pain
    Despite levels of chronic pain similar to Italy and France, researchers say Americans consume 6 to 8 times as many opioid painkillers per capita.

    The Opioid Crisis Is Surging In Black, Urban Communities
    Because African Americans have "historically been less likely" to be prescribed pain medication, it probably protected them from the initial wave of opioid addiction that hit white suburban and rural areas, says a DC physician who treats patients with opioid use disorder. But with the introduction of fentanyl, opioid overdose deaths among black individuals in urban counties are increasing at a faster rate than in suburban and rural areas

    ER Visits for Opioid Overdose Up 30%, CDC Study Finds
    Increases were highest in the Midwest and lowest in the Southeast. The largest state-level increases were in Wisconsin, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, while Kentucky saw a slight decrease.

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