opioids

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Tragic Victims of Opioid Epidemic: Curious Toddlers

Just 14 deaths in 2000, compared to 51 in 2015

(Newser) - Curious toddlers find the drugs in a mother's purse or accidentally dropped on the floor. Sometimes a parent fails to secure the child-resistant cap on a bottle of painkillers. No matter how it happens, if a 35-pound toddler grabs just one opioid pill, chews it, and releases the full... More »

Music Really Is a Drug

Rock 'n' roll hits your brain the same way as sex and drugs

(Newser) - Scientists are developing a deeper understanding of what's going on in our brains when sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll make us feel high, reports Popular Science . Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, who wrote the 2006 bestseller This Is Your Brain on Music, has published a study looking into exactly... More »

China Bans Drug So Deadly It's a 'Terror Threat'

Carfentanil is so lethal an amount smaller than poppy seed can kill

(Newser) - So deadly it's considered a terrorist threat, carfentanil has been legal in China—until now. Beijing is banning carfentanil and three similar drugs as of March 1, China's Ministry of Public Security said Thursday, closing a major regulatory loophole in the fight to end America's opioid epidemic.... More »

ER Docs All Over the Map on Doling Out Opioids

Patients of 'high-intensity' prescribers might pay the price, says study

(Newser) - Scientists trying to better understand the nation's rising opioid addictions have uncovered an interesting wrinkle: A patient's risk of getting hooked might depend on which ER doctor they happen to get. In a New England Journal of Medicine study, researchers found that patients whose ER doctors are more... More »

Cluster of Amnesia Cases in Opioid Users Puzzles Doctors

They can't explain the phenomenon in Massachusetts

(Newser) - As if opioid addiction isn't bad enough on its own, something else is going on in eastern Massachusetts (and possibly beyond) that is worrying public health officials. Doctors have identified 14 opioid users who have suffered amnesia, and they can't explain why. While memory loss in and of... More »

Even Kindergartners Get Lessons on Dangers of Opioids

Schools are going beyond 'Just Say No'

(Newser) - Schools are going beyond "Just Say No" as they teach students as young as kindergartners about the dangers of opioids in the hope that they don't later become part of the growing crisis, the AP reports. Some states have begun requiring instruction about prescription drugs and heroin, and... More »

Maker of OxyContin Sued by Drug-Addled City

Complaint filed by Everett, Wash., says Purdue Pharma valued profits over people

(Newser) - What does a city do when its citizens are wracked with opioid addiction? Sue the maker of one of the most well-known brands is the route Everett is taking, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Washington city of 100,000 north of Seattle filed a complaint Thursday against Purdue Pharma,... More »

The VA Pumped Vets With Opioids. Now There's a Bigger Problem

How ex-service members got hooked on painkillers, and how the VA is letting them down: 'WSJ'

(Newser) - Veterans who return from service not only have to deal with everyday re-entry issues (finding jobs, reacclimating to life with family and friends), but also with the injuries and PTSD they may have brought home with them. To cope with the physical and mental pain, many of them are prescribed... More »

Federal Prosecutor Opens Up About Son's Heroin Death

Erik Brandler died in 2007 at age 16

(Newser) - The phone at Bruce Brandler's home rang at 3:37am. It was the local hospital. His 16-year-old son was there. A suspected heroin overdose, the nurse said. Brandler didn't believe it. Erik had his problems, but heroin? It seemed impossible. Nearly 10 years later, the nation is gripped... More »

WV Has 1.84M People, Got 780M Pain Pills

Data covers 2007 to 2012

(Newser) - In 2015, the state of West Virginia ranked first in the nation in per-capita opioid overdose deaths, according to CDC data . A new investigation by the Gazette-Mail reveals some harrowing background on how deaths like these may be facilitated. Over the 2007 to 2012 period, some 780 million hydrocodone and... More »

Many Who Use Prescription Opioids for 2 Months or More Get Addicted

Extensive survey finds worrying results

(Newser) - A powerful survey from the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that, of the 622 long-term prescription opioid users (at least two months of use) surveyed, "virtually all" were introduced to the drugs not through illicit means but via a prescription from a doctor, more than 60%... More »

K9 Units Are Falling Victim to Powerful, Dangerous Drug

Police dogs are more susceptible than humans to dangers of fentanyl

(Newser) - Police officers conducting drug raids with their K9 units are now dealing with what the DEA has called an "unprecedented threat": fentanyl, the same powerful opioid that killed Prince earlier this year. Both the Miami Herald and NBC News report on the drug's dangers, which the cop canines... More »

Surgeon General: More People Use Opioids Than Tobacco

And other surprising news from surgeon general's first report on substance addiction

(Newser) - The latest (and first) surgeon general's report on substance addiction was released Thursday, and it offers up a surprising slew of factoids. Per NPR , Dr. Vivek Murthy says more people are hooked on prescription opioids than tobacco, 50% more people (20.8 million, per recent estimates) have substance abuse... More »

Search for Opioid 'Holy Grail' Is Killing People 40 Years Later

Synthetic opioid U-47700 has killed at least 125 people in 2016

(Newser) - "The bad guys, I hate to say it, are smart," a former DEA agent tells the Wall Street Journal . "They always seem to be a step ahead of the regulators.” The UN estimates that chemical labs around the world are cranking out "new psychoactive substances"... More »

Best Friends, 13, Killed by Opioid Named 'Pink'

Ryan Ainsworth, Grant Seaver died within 48 hours of each other in September

(Newser) - Two 13-year-old best friends in Utah died within 48 hours of each other in September, and now police know why: Toxicology results show that Ryan Ainsworth and Grant Seaver overdosed on a synthetic opioid nicknamed "pink," reports KSL . Authorities say they bought the drug, formally called U-47700, online... More »

Chemical Weapon for Sale: China's Unregulated Narcotic

The AP found 12 Chinese companies willing to ship carfentanil to the US

(Newser) - It's one of the strongest opioids in circulation, so deadly an amount smaller than a poppy seed can kill a person. Until July, when reports of carfentanil overdoses began to surface in the US, the substance was best known for knocking out moose and elephants—or as a chemical... More »

Medical Examiner's Son Dies of Drug Overdose

'No family is immune,' Wis. senator says

(Newser) - There have been more than 160 drug-related deaths in Milwaukee County, Wis., this year, 70 of them in the last seven weeks, and that is more than just a grim statistic for Chief Medical Examiner Brian Peterson. His own son, Adam Peterson, a 29-year-old with a history of drug use,... More »

Heroin Being Cut With Drug That Can Kill an Elephant

2 counties in Indiana and Ohio had up to 60 ODs in a 2-day period this week

(Newser) - One hundred times more potent than the drug that played a role in killing Prince and 10,000 times stronger than morphine, carfentanil is the strongest opioid commercially available—an animal tranquilizer so lethal it can kill if absorbed through the skin and permanently take out a 7-ton elephant, per... More »

Scientists May Have Discovered Addiction-less Painkiller

PZM21 could potentially replace morphine and other opioids

(Newser) - The Los Angeles Times reports scientists are "tantalizingly close" to the perfect painkilling drug. Researchers announced the discovery of PZM21 in a study published Wednesday in Nature . In testing on mice, the chemical compound relieved nearly as much pain as morphine—87% to 92%—and lasted longer. At the... More »

Getting Pain Meds Can Be Difficult— If You're Black

Study finds disparity in how they're doled out

(Newser) - White people are roughly twice as likely to die from prescription painkillers as black people in the US; now a new study finds that they're also twice as likely to be prescribed them. It's just the latest finding to show that minorities are treated differently when it comes... More »

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