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U.S. Opioid Deaths May be Plateauing

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-10-24 18:28:31
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Opioid Deaths May Be Starting To Plateau, HHS Chief Says [npr.org]

The American opioid crisis is far from over, but early data indicate the number of deaths are beginning to level off, according to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing "encouraging" results in overdose trends.

[...] In 2017, the number of Americans dying from opioid overdoses rose to 72,000 from 64,000 the previous year. However, according to new provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control [cdc.gov], the numbers stopped rising toward the end of 2017, a trend that has continued into the beginning of this year. It is "finally bending in the right direction," Azar said [youtube.com]. He added that the death toll flattening out is "hardly a victory," especially at such high levels. Current government statistics [drugabuse.gov] show that opioids kill over 115 Americans each day.

[...] On Wednesday, President Trump is expected to sign a bill recently passed by Congress [congress.gov] that expands Medicaid opioid treatment programs and workforce training initiatives, and supports FDA research to find new options for non-opioid pain relief.

It's Too Soon to Celebrate the End of the Opioid Epidemic [theatlantic.com]

While we don't know why deaths have begun to fall, experts say there are a few likely reasons. Doctors are prescribing fewer [medicalxpress.com] painkillers. More states are making naloxone [theatlantic.com], which reverses opioid overdoses, widely available. And it's possible that more addicts have started medication-assisted therapies like buprenorphine, which is how France [theatlantic.com] solved its own opioid epidemic years ago. Indeed, the states with the biggest declines in overdose deaths were those like Vermont [vox.com] that have used evidence-based, comprehensive approaches to tackling opioid addiction.

[...] Still, it's possible this is a "false dawn," as Keith Humphreys, an addiction expert at Stanford University, put it to me. "Opioid-overdose deaths did not increase from 2011 to 2012, and many people declared that the tide was turning. But in 2013, they began racing up again," he said. Deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl are still rising, as are those from methamphetamines.

Related: President Trump Declares the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency [soylentnews.org]
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis [soylentnews.org]
"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S. [soylentnews.org]
Tens or Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Needed to Combat Opioid Crisis? [soylentnews.org]
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Opioid Legislation; China Will Step Up Cooperation [soylentnews.org]
The Dutch Supply Heroin Addicts With Dope and Get Better Results Than USA [soylentnews.org]


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