Tackling opioid overdoses
Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller
* We talked yesterday about how opioid use is soaring in the Metro East.
There is a bill out there which would make abuse a bit more difficult by using some new technology…
A coalition of physicians, law enforcement agencies, addiction survivors and substance abuse counselors urged state lawmakers during a press conference Tuesday to pass legislation that would make it more difficult to misuse prescription opioid medication.
House Bill 2743, which has been sitting idle in the Rules Committee since last May, would require Illinois health insurance companies to cover opioid painkillers made with abuse deterrent properties (ADP).
Prescription opioids containing this relatively new technology are significantly harder to crush and helps prevent users from breaking a pill’s extended release mechanism to achieve a quick and intense high through snorting, smoking or melting and injecting the powder, says Dr. Michael Rock, an attending anesthesiologist and pain mangement director at Community First Medical Center in Chicago.
During a demonstration, Rock showed a pill with abuse deterrent properties can withstand blows from a metal hammer, while a pill that doesn’t have the technology is pulverized with a single strike.
* But there’s also this research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association…
OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between the presence of state medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A time-series analysis was conducted of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the United States from 1999 to 2010; all 50 states were included.
EXPOSURES: Presence of a law establishing a medical cannabis program in the state.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Age-adjusted opioid analgesic overdose death rate per 100,000 population in each state. Regression models were developed including state and year fixed effects, the presence of 3 different policies regarding opioid analgesics, and the state-specific unemployment rate.
RESULTS: Three states (California, Oregon, and Washington) had medical cannabis laws effective prior to 1999. Ten states (Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont) enacted medical cannabis laws between 1999 and 2010. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate (95% CI, -37.5% to -9.5%; P = .003) compared with states without medical cannabis laws. Examination of the association between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in each year after implementation of the law showed that such laws were associated with a lower rate of overdose mortality that generally strengthened over time: year 1 (-19.9%; 95% CI, -30.6% to -7.7%; P = .002), year 2 (-25.2%; 95% CI, -40.6% to -5.9%; P = .01), year 3 (-23.6%; 95% CI, -41.1% to -1.0%; P = .04), year 4 (-20.2%; 95% CI, -33.6% to -4.0%; P = .02), year 5 (-33.7%; 95% CI, -50.9% to -10.4%; P = .008), and year 6 (-33.3%; 95% CI, -44.7% to -19.6%; P < .001). In secondary analyses, the findings remained similar.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates. Further investigation is required to determine how medical cannabis laws may interact with policies aimed at preventing opioid analgesic overdose.