Tag Archives: opioids

Opioid epidemic: Focus turns to how dentists are treating pain

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

While oral health and dentist-use are generally similar in United States and England, U.S dentists write 37 times as many opioid prescriptions as their English counterparts, according to a newly published study.

The findings, reported in May in JAMA Network Open, highlight an ongoing concern about the prescribing habits of US health practitioners and how they may be contributing to America’s epidemic of opioid abuse. Continue reading

New data resource on opioids available in AHCJ’s medical studies topic area

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.

Deaths from drug overdose in 2017 alone exceeded the total number of Americans who died during the entire Vietnam War, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. The majority of those, of course, were opioids.

It’s virtually impossible to report on health today and not cover the opioid epidemic, whether in-depth, occasionally or tangentially. That’s particularly true in areas hit hardest by opioid use and overdoses, such as Appalachia (Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia), Maryland/D.C., and New England (Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts). Continue reading

Beyond addiction: Medical consequences for opioid misuse

Catherine Wendlandt

About Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt is a graduate research assistant at AHCJ, pursuing a master's degree in journalism-magazine editing at the University of Missouri. She has a degree in journalism-magazine publishing in 2018 from MU and minored in Spanish and religious studies. As an undergrad, she worked at Vox Magazine and the Columbia Missourian.

Photo: Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

What are people leaving out in the conversation about the opioid crisis?

Joshua Barocas, who teaches Boston University’s School of Medicine, said the answer is embedded in the question. “Opioids themselves aren’t the crisis,” he said. “Overdoses are the crisis.” Continue reading

Report highlights patient safety issues with EHRs and the opioid epidemic

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Photo: The.Comedian via Flickr

While technology alone cannot solve the opioid epidemic, it can play an important role in reducing overprescribing and co-prescribing opioids with other drugs that can raise the risk of overdose. A new report has offered recommendations on improving technologies in clinical settings for safer prescribing practices.

The ECRI Institute, a respected patient safety research nonprofit, and the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association, an electronic health records (EHR) trade group, convened a workgroup to analyze health IT data from patient safety organizations and other sources. Continue reading

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

Tips for examining the risks, benefits of OTC pain relief

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.

Photo: ^Thais^ via Flickr

Physicians are being encouraged to curtail prescribing of powerful narcotics in response to the nation’s opioid crisis. So some patients who need relief from pain due to chronic conditions, trauma, or post-surgical recovery are turning to over-the-counter options. But just because they’re sold at your local drug store doesn’t mean OTC drugs are completely safe either. Continue reading