Tag Archives: addiction

More adults over 50 risk benzodiazepine misuse

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Prescription rates of opioids and benzodiazepines are on the rise among the older adult population, according to two recent studies. And that is cause for concern, say researchers.

In one study, Greg Rhee, Ph.D., an adjunct assistant professor in the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, examined prescribing trends in outpatient settings of opioids and benzodiazepines. His analysis found that between 2006-07 and 2014-15, the prescription rates of benzodiazepine drugs such as Xanax and Halcion increased from 4.8 percent to 6.2 percent; the rate of prescription opioids alone increased from 5.9 percent to 10 percent, and the co-prescribing rate of both benzodiazepines and opioids increased over time from 1.1 percent to 2.7 percent, respectively. Continue reading

Dental leaders, researchers take new look at opioid crisis

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: ME via Flickr

Calling upon the nation’s oral health providers to do their part in addressing a national opioid crisis that claims an estimated 115 lives a day, the American Dental Association (ADA) has endorsed statutory dosage and seven-day duration limits on opioid prescriptions for the treatment of acute pain.

In a recent announcement, the professional group, which represents more than 161,000 dentist members*, also supported mandatory continuing education to inform dentists about evidence-based opioid prescribing practices. Continue reading

Examining the latest efforts in integrative health

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: City of Santa Clarita via Flickr

In the face of sky-rocketing rates of chronic disease and addiction, some health care leaders are searching beyond pills and procedures for solutions to America’s health care crisis.

They are turning toward integrative health, a field that combines conventional Western medicine with self-care coaching and complementary therapies such as meditation and acupuncture.

“We do not have a chronic disease model that works. That is why we are in a crisis in health care,” said physician Wayne B. Jonas, speaking at the panel “Newest Efforts in Integrative Health” during Health Journalism 2018. Continue reading

Are you up to date on alcohol use disorder?

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Investigative journalism from Stat News, Wired and the New York Times recently revealed how the alcohol industry is influencing the kind of research the National Institutes of Health will conduct as the NIH seeks funding for alcohol research. That story simply adds more evidence to what some journalists and public health folks have been pointing out: alcohol is one of the most dangerous, destructive drugs there is, but it rarely gets treated as such. Continue reading

Story about genetic testing company’s problems shows how good reporting stands up to criticism

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Canadian Blood Services via Flickr

In December 2016, Charles Piller (@cpiller), the west coast editor for Stat, reported that a genetic test to identify patients who could be prone to addiction lacked a firm scientific basis.

With an eye-opening headline, “Called ‘hogwash,’ a gene test for addiction risk exploits opioid fears,” the article raised important questions about the Proove Opioid Risk test from Proove Biosciences in Irvine, Calif. Continue reading

Strong social media presence helps Md. reporter cover her community’s opioid crisis

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: nadja robot via Flickr

For Heather Wolford, a reporter for the Cumberland Times-News, covering the growing opioid crisis in the rural hills of Western Maryland was, quite literally, a calling.

Now two years into her health coverage of the epidemic, Wolford was driven by a journalist’s instinct to find out what was happening in her community, from those using the drugs, police officers and government officials, to family members on all sides of the crisis.

“When I repeatedly heard daily overdose calls over the office scanner, I asked my boss if I could dive into the crisis,” she said. Continue reading