An Urgent Letter on the Opioid Epidemic

(DGIwire) – About half of opioid overdose deaths involve prescription drugs, reports The New York Times. With this fact in mind, the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, sent an unusually direct plea in August 2016 to 2.3 million doctors and other healthcare workers to help fight the opioid epidemic by treating […]

U.S. Raises Cap on Number of People Who Can Receive Buprenorphine

(DGIwire) – For those with opioid addiction, a key component to medication-assisted treatment is prescription buprenorphine. However, until mid-2016, there was a strict cap in place: qualified U.S. doctors were allowed to treat up to 100 patients per year with the drug. Now that cap has been loosened: in July 2016, in an effort to […]

Macklemore, a White House Visit & the Opioid Crisis

(DGIwire) – Rap artist Macklemore has entertained millions with his catchy songs. But back on May 14, 2016, the hip-hop star had a more serious topic in mind: he appeared alongside the President during the weekly White House address to discuss addiction to opioids and those who overdose on prescription painkillers, according to a report […]

Opioid Addiction: When and How to Seek Treatment

(DGIwire) — America currently faces a daunting epidemic of opioid addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids are medications that reduce the intensity of pain signals and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus. Medications that fall within this class, NIDA reports, include hydrocodone, […]

Treatment Options Needed in Wake of President’s Heroin Initiative

(DGIwire) — In response to a national rise in fatal heroin overdoses, this past August the White House announced a new Heroin Response Strategy. The program would initially be funded for $2.5 million by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy through five “high-intensity drug trafficking areas” and cover 15 states, administration officials said […]

Fighting Back: Anti-Opioid Abuse Bill Introduced to Congress

(DGIwire) – What are the most effective ways for lawmakers to address the opioid epidemic? According to a recent article on Masslive.com, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts has introduced the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Abuse Prevention, Education, and Enforcement Act of 2015 to federally fund local programs aimed at combatting drug addiction. The bill, […]

Massachusetts Town Reforms Its Approach to Helping Opioid Abusers

(DGIwire) — If you walked into a police station in Gloucester, MA holding opioids any time after June 1, 2015, you wouldn’t be charged with a crime, according to The Christian Science Monitor. That’s because Police Chief Leonard Campanello is making a concerted effort to change how the town deals with drug addiction. Instead of being […]

Opioid Addiction: Blame it on the Brain

(DGIwire) — Toxic relationships, with another person or an addictive substance, can be hard to escape. Blame it on the brain: according to neuroscientists at Harvard University Medical School, the brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate from a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter or even a satisfying […]

The Chronic Pain Puzzle: How Treatments Can Foster Addiction

(DGIwire) — Healthcare providers have long wrestled with the puzzling question of how to best to treat patients who suffer from chronic pain—a population of roughly 116 million people in the United States alone, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Their dilemma stems from the potential risks involved with long-term treatment, such as […]

Seniors & Drugs: An Abuse Epidemic

(DGIwire) — When we think about drug addiction, seniors are certainly not the first age group that comes to mind. But here’s the reality: one quarter of the prescription drugs sold in the United States are used by the elderly, often for problems such as chronic pain, insomnia and anxiety, according to ModernMedicine.com. According to […]

Warning: Don’t Ignore These Signs of Opioid Dependence

(DGIwire) — The road to opioid addiction is sometimes paved with good intentions. Maybe someone had a bad skiing accident and broke his leg. The surgery went well, but the surgeon suggests that the patient stay in the hospital for a little while, just so they can ensure proper healing. However, the patient in constant […]

A New BEMA of Light in the Cloud of Chronic Pain

NEW YORK – (DGIwire) — Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than six months, such as migraines or back or joint pain. For those with chronic pain, life can seem like a never-ending cycle of drug treatments to find relief. Chronic pain might originate from a particular event, such as a car […]

The Grand Illusion of Fame and Drug Addiction

(DGIwire) — Some people say that much of the best art, music and literature has been created by artists while they were “under the influence” of drugs. These critics might cite The Velvet Underground’s song “Heroin,” The Beatles’ classic  “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” or the works of punk artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Drug use, […]

Senior Drug Abuse: A Quiet Epidemic

(DGIwire)  When we think about drug addiction, seniors are certainly not the first age group that comes to mind. But here’s the reality: one quarter of the prescription drugs sold in the United States are used by the elderly, often for problems such as chronic pain, insomnia and anxiety, according to ModernMedicine.com. According to the […]

When Life Hurts: Chronic Pain and the Quest for Less-Addicting Opioids

(DGIwire) – Pain is arguably the most common of all health complaints, with the discomfort usually short-lived. For many, however, pain is not easily reduced or eliminated. Insights on this dilemma were recently provided by Dr. William H. McCarberg, a founding member of the Chronic Pain Management Program at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego, and voluntary assistant clinical […]

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