An international team of researchers has found that people age 50 and older who are affected by opioid use disorder die more often than their younger counterparts.
In America and certain other countries, opioid use disorder is the diagnosis used to identify people addicted to an opioid drug or medication, as well as people who develop a dysfunctional pattern of opioid abuse in the absence of addiction. Inappropriate consumption of an opioid substance can have fatal consequences, whether or not an individual meets the criteria for this condition. In a study published in December 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a team of Australian, American and British researchers assessed the odds that an older person with opioid use disorder will die at a relatively early age.
Opioid addiction, known formally in the U.S. as opioid use disorder, is known for its ability to produce seriously negative outcomes for affected individuals. Addiction specialists can help significantly reduce the impact of these outcomes by providing appropriate treatment options. However, the potential for problems does not end when treatment begins. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Addiction, an international research team looked at the long-term mortality rates of individuals who seek help for an opioid addiction. The researchers concluded that the vast majority of these individuals ultimately die from preventable causes.
Methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone are two of the primary medication options for treatment of people affected by opioid addiction. Both medications belong to a treatment approach called opioid substitution therapy. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Addiction, researchers from six U.S. institutions compared the effectiveness of methadone to the effectiveness of buprenorphine/naloxone. These researchers found that each medication option has its unique benefit as an opioid addiction treatment. They also found that relatively high doses of each medication produce better results than relatively low doses.
Personality disorders are entrenched patterns of thought and behavior that damage affected individuals’ ability to do such things as maintain friendships or relationships, maintain a productive daily routine or take advantage of social opportunities. The American Psychiatric Association gives doctors the freedom to diagnose 10 main forms of these disorders. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, a Belgian research team assessed the impact of various personality disorders on the chances that a person will successfully complete an opioid addiction treatment program that uses an oral medication called naltrexone.
Buprenorphine is an opioid-based medication that sometimes plays a role in the treatment of people addicted to stronger opioid substances. Normally, the medication is taken in a sublingual form that dissolves when placed under the tongue. However, in March 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new buprenorphine product, known as Probuphine, which a doctor must implant under the skin. In a study published in December 2013 in the journal Addiction, the medication’s manufacturer and researchers from 12 U.S. institutions compared the effectiveness of buprenorphine implants to the effectiveness of oral doses of the medication.
The Food and Drug Administration wants stronger restrictions on a class of prescription painkillers that contain hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that is now the most widely prescribed drug in the United States.
In a major policy shift, the FDA recommends reclassifying Vicodin and other products that contain hydrocodone more restrictively — from Schedule III controlled substances to Schedule II. Examples of current Schedule II drugs are OxyContin and morphine, also opioid painkillers. They are considered the most addictive, legally prescribed drugs. Schedule I is a classification reserved for illicit substances that are rarely used medically, such as LSD, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana and peyote.
It’s a nightmare no parent should ever have to endure, but fortunately in this woman’s case, a happy outcome is the result. In April 2010, Elizabeth Mort gave birth to a baby girl, Isabella Rodriguez, at Jameson Hospital in Lawrence County, Penn. Three days later, a child welfare caseworker arrived at Mort’s home and took Isabella away. Lawrence County child welfare agency had issued an emergency protective custody order because Mort had reportedly failed Jameson Hospital’s drug screening test.
Remaining abstinent from opiate abuse is a significant challenge for those addicted to drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. People who are recovering from opiate addiction often report severe withdrawal symptoms and feeling “off” for several weeks or even months after withdrawing from the drugs. This can make it very hard for recovering addicts to complete drug rehab, as the symptoms can lead to relapse.
Deaths from opioid use in Ontario, Canada, have doubled since 1991, and a new study found that the addition of long-acting oxycodone to the drug formulary was associated with a five-fold increase in oxycodone-related deaths. Most of these additional deaths were accidental. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
A series of articles in the July 2009 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings closely examines prescription opioid abuse among patients and physicians. Steven Passik, PhD., of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, says that addiction to and abuse of prescription drugs are prevalent and that they exact an immense toll on patients, physicians, and society.