October 13, 2010
Addiction to opioids is a huge problem in the United States. In addition to heroin addiction, a growing number of people are getting hooked on prescription painkillers, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. In a 2009 survey, more than 5.3 million people reported prescription opioid abuse in the past month. Researchers reported Tuesday on a new method for treating opioid addiction that takes one big problem out of the equation: getting the addict to adhere to treatment.
April 6, 2011 |
Patients on higher doses of opioid painkillers are more likely to accidentally overdose than those prescribed lower doses, a new study finds. Those who were prescribed more than 100 milligrams of painkillers a day overdosed more than people limited to 1 to 20 milligrams, researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Ann Arbor, Mich., found. The trend stayed true whether the patient had acute pain, chronic pain, a substance abuse problem or cancer. White, middle-age men were statistically more likely to overdose.
March 2, 2011 |
Consuming opioid pain relievers such as codeine, oxycodone or hydrocodone just before pregnancy or early in pregnancy increases the risk of certain birth defects, especially congenital heart defects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday. The warning extends to such prescription painkillers as Vicodin, OxyContin and Tylenol-3, as well as a variety of generic versions of the drugs. Although there is an increased risk of some major types of birth defects from exposure to the drugs, "the absolute risk for any individual woman is relatively modest," said epidemiologist Cheryl S. Broussard of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, who led a study of the drugs that will be published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology . The findings come from the ongoing CDC-sponsored National Birth Defects Prevention Study , the largest study of birth defects ever performed in the United States, covering pregnant women in 10 states, including California.
February 19, 2013 |
Fatal drug overdoses have increased for the 11th consecutive year in the United States, new data show. According to a research letter published Tuesday from the National Center for Health Statistics, 38,329 people died of drug overdoses in the United States in 2010, an uptick from the previous year and the latest sign of a deadly trend involving prescription painkillers. In 2010, 57% of overdoses, or more than 22,000, involved known prescription drugs. Three-quarters of those involved painkillers like Oxycontin and Percocet while another 9,400 involved some unidentified drug cocktail.
July 11, 2012 |
In the record book of unintended consequences, this one's sure to be a groan-worthy entry: A frightening rise in addiction to the drug OxyContin prompts a reformulation that makes the prescription pain medication harder to abuse. So addicts switch to heroin instead. Clearly, not the hoped-for effect. But according to a letter published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, it's a switch that appears to be happening across the country -- especially in rural and suburban communities, where OxyContin abuse and addiction had gained a firm foothold.
July 26, 2008
Re "The 411 to avoid boredom," Opinion, July 19 Irving Biederman states that human beings seek information to get the accompanying hit of brain opioids and therefore are obsessed with staying connected. I draw a different conclusion. Scientists have noted similar brain opioid levels in advanced meditators, who make a practice of not processing any information during meditation. A feeling of completion can be gained from integrating and then letting go of a new experience -- and this completion seems to be what actually generates the opioid reaction.