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TUESDAY, Oct. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Methadone is often used in the fight against opioid addiction, but long travel times in rural areas may be hampering efforts to get more people treated, a new study finds.

If methadone for opioid addiction was available in primary care clinics, more people would have better access to treatment, researchers suggest.

In the United Sta...

FRIDAY, July 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who take prescription opioid painkillers to get high could be taking a step toward heroin use, researchers say.

"Prescription opioids and heroin activate the brain's pleasure circuit in similar ways," said senior author Adam Leventhal. He's director of the Institute for Addiction Science at the University of Southern California Keck Scho...

TUESDAY, June 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- When people who are addicted to opioids make the difficult decision to quit, the last thing they need to face are barriers to treatment.

Yet, a new "secret shopper" study suggests most addicts seeking a prescription for buprenorphine -- which helps people stop using opioids -- would have trouble even getting an appointment with a doctor qualif...

TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Cannabidiol (CBD) has been receiving a lot of attention lately as a potential treatment for everything from epilepsy to anxiety. Now, researchers report it might also help curb the cravings that come with opioid addiction.

Like marijuana, CBD comes from the cannabis plant. Unlike pot, it does not produce a high.

The study included 4...

THURSDAY, May 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- After years of steady increases, the number of Americans showing up in emergency departments with heroin overdoses is on a downswing, at least in some states.

Between 2017 and 2018, many states saw a dramatic drop in the number of people being rushed to hospitals as a result of a heroin overdose, according to a new report from the U.S. Center...

THURSDAY, April 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The cost of America's opioid epidemic just keeps rising, with new research showing that overdose deaths among teens and young adults are soaring.

The death rate from drug overdoses rose from eight in every 100,000 people aged 15 to 24 in 2006 to nearly 10 per 100,000 in 2015, researchers found.

"Drug poisoning deaths affect famil...

THURSDAY, March 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The number of Americans dying from overdoses of the powerful narcotic fentanyl rose 12-fold in recent years, health officials reported Thursday.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that's hundreds of times more potent than heroin or cocaine. But sometimes drug users don't know they're buying it, because fentanyl is often mixed with other opioids...

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Though they know that nearly all heroin is laced with the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, many Baltimore users aren't prepared to prevent or treat fentanyl-related overdoses, a new study finds.

Baltimore has a thriving heroin trade and 1,000 opioid overdose deaths a year.

The study, by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Sc...

WEDNESDAY, March 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- New research uncovers more damage wrought by the opioid epidemic: Cases of a dangerous heart infection linked to injection drug use have spiked in recent years at an Ohio medical center.

Researchers found that admissions for infective endocarditis at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center doubled between 2012 and 2017, and that a 4...

MONDAY, Feb. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- An effort to make the opioid painkiller OxyContin harder to abuse drove addicted patients to heroin and caused a dramatic increase in hepatitis C, a new study suggests.

In a classic case of unintended consequences, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma reformulated its powerful and popular drug OxyContin for the right reasons. It became harder to cr...

THURSDAY, Jan. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The rate at which middle-aged American women die from overdoses involving opioids and other drugs nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2017, new government data shows.

In 1999, about seven out of every 100,000 deaths among U.S. women aged 30 to 64 was caused by a drug overdose, but by 2017 that rate had risen to about 24 women per 100,000 -- a...

THURSDAY, Dec. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- It's not standard practice in the United States, but supervised access to medical-grade heroin may reduce the risk of harm for heroin addicts unable to kick the habit, new research suggests.

This approach has been successful in other countries and should be tried and studied in the United States, according to a study by the RAND Corporation, ...

TUESDAY, Nov. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- As the U.S. opioid epidemic rages unchecked, new research shows that pregnancy-related deaths due to opioid misuse more than doubled between 2007 and 2016.

Deaths during or soon after pregnancy rose 34 percent during that time, and the percentage involving heroin, fentanyl or prescription painkillers (such as OxyCo...

TUESDAY, Nov. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- More than 2 million Americans have hepatitis C -- and the opioid epidemic is a major contributor to the problem, according to a new government study.

The study, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, does highlight progress against the potentially fatal liver disease. It also shows how much more work remains, CDC officials sa...

THURSDAY, Oct. 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Fast-acting test strips for fentanyl could reduce drug overdose deaths, a new study suggests.

"Test strips could be a lifesaving intervention for many young adults who use drugs," said study leader Brandon Marshall, of Brown University in Rhode Island.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid often used to lace other drugs, includin...

THURSDAY, Sept. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The opioid epidemic has been front-page news for a few years now, with rising overdose deaths driving an overall decrease in Americans' average life expectancy.

But a new study suggests that the opioid epidemic is, in fact, nothing new.

Death rates from drug overdoses in the United States have been on an exponential growth curve t...

WEDNESDAY, June 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of an opioid overdose may consider themselves lucky, but they remain at heightened risk of dying -- not just from drugs, but from a host of medical problems or suicide, a new study finds.

Compared with the general population, patients who lived through an opioid overdose were 130 times more likely to die of drug-use-related causes...

TUESDAY, June 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- High school seniors hooked on heroin are likely to misuse a multitude of other drugs, a new study finds.

"It may be inadequate to focus on heroin and opioid use in isolation," said study author Joseph Palamar, an associate professor of population health at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

As the opioid epidemi...

FRIDAY, June 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Opioid overdoses are now to blame for one-fifth of deaths among young American adults, new research finds.

The study is the latest to detail the toll of the national opioid epidemic.

Researchers found that between 2001 and 2016, the number of opioid-related deaths in the United States more than quadrupled. By 2016, one in 65 deaths n...

MONDAY, May 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Prescription drug monitoring programs are touted as a way to reduce overdoses from opioid painkillers, but they might have the unintended effect of increasing heroin overdose deaths, researchers say.

They reviewed 17 studies that assessed the impact of these programs and found that 10 of them linked the programs to reductions in opioid overdose ...

TUESDAY, May 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Overdose deaths involving dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl have skyrocketed in recent years, surpassing deaths from prescription painkillers, a new U.S. study reveals.

Synthetic opioids -- primarily fentanyl -- were involved in more than 30 percent of fatal overdoses in 2016, up from roughly 8 percent in 2010, the researchers reported....

THURSDAY, April 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Here's yet another consequence of the U.S. opioid crisis: a rise in serious heart infections in a state hard-hit by the drug epidemic.

A new study, done at West Virginia's largest medical center, found that admissions for endocarditis related to drug abuse more than doubled between 2008 and 2015. That parallels an increase in drug use in th...

TUESDAY, Feb. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they are one step closer to testing a heroin vaccine in humans -- in what they hope will become an additional weapon in fighting America's opioid epidemic.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, in California, have developed an experimental vaccine that appears safe and effective in animals. It also has a long enough s...

TUESDAY, Dec. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental heroin vaccine has shown promise in an early animal study.

In mice and rats, the vaccine triggered antibodies that prevented heroin from crossing the blood-brain barrier.

"By eliciting antibodies that bind with heroin in the blood, the vaccine aims to block the euphoria and addictive effects [in the brain]," explain...

FRIDAY, Dec. 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A once-monthly injection of the opioid addiction drug buprenorphine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"Millions of Americans are suffering from addiction to opioid drugs, and millions more are worried that the overdose epidemic could claim the lives of a friend or loved one," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Th...

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnancy and opioid addiction are an all-too-common problem in the United States. And where you live may affect your treatment.

Addicted moms-to-be are more likely to receive recommended therapy if they live in states where anti-addiction medications are covered by Medicaid, a new study says.

Medication-assisted treatment -- usua...

TUESDAY, Nov. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. opioid epidemic seems to be taking its biggest toll on the baby boomer and millennial generations, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that since 2010, boomers -- born between 1946 and 1964 -- have had heightened rates of death from prescription opioids and heroin. Meanwhile, millennials -- people in their 20s and 30s -- also hav...

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The top two medications used to treat opioid addiction appear equally safe and effective, a new study finds.

With the United States in the midst of an unprecedented opioid crisis, researchers conducted a head-to-head trial of two leading addiction treatments -- naltrexone (Vivitrol) and buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone).

"The ne...

FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Extremely powerful synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl or carfentanil, were directly responsible for more than half of thousands of opioid overdose deaths across many states in 2016, a new report finds.

Most often, fentanyl and even more potent "fentanyl analog" drugs -- such as carfentanil -- were mixed into the heroin that addicts were using...

MONDAY, Oct. 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The number of Americans abusing prescription painkillers has leveled off in recent years, but there is no apparent decline yet.

That's the finding of a new study tracking the U.S. opioid abuse problem. Researchers found that after a large spike in the early 2000s, Americans' misuse of prescription opioid painkillers has plateaued in recent yea...