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1US MN: U Researchers 'Getting Closer' To Trials Of Vaccine For OpioidSat, 14 Apr 2018
Source:Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Author:Olson, Jeremy Area:Minnesota Lines:Excerpt Added:04/17/2018

Researchers at the University of Minnesota are getting closer to clinical trials of a vaccine for opioid addiction.

Three studies published in the past six months show incremental success, including one in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics that demonstrated that a vaccine could prevent oxycodone and heroin opioid molecules from reaching the brain.

"We are getting closer," said Marco Pravetoni, the lead researcher who has been studying a vaccine to treat addiction for 10 years.

A vaccine to confront addiction might sound unusual, but it would work like any vaccine by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies. Instead of targeting influenza or poliovirus, the antibodies would be coaxed to bind to opioid molecules and prevent them from crossing the bloodstream barrier to the brain.

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2 US: Opioid Addiction Treatment With Medicine Works Best. Why Don'tTue, 10 Apr 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Giordano, Rita Area:United States Lines:250 Added:04/10/2018

"By the time I was 17, 18," Nelson Abbott said, "I graduated to heroin."

He tried to stop many times, both by going cold-turkey and tapering off the drugs, but he hated the withdrawal pains and he wasn't really ready to quit. Therapy didn't work out, either. But then his best friend overdosed and died. When Abbott's parents checked him into the Caron Treatment Center in Berks County, he didn't fight.

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3US FL: Are Medical Marijuana, Acupuncture Alternatives To Opioids?Mon, 02 Apr 2018
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Griffin, Justine Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:04/03/2018

After battling Lyme disease and other ailments for nearly 20 years, Bridgitte Pascale tried "almost everything" to alleviate her pain without relying on opioids.

Though doctors prescribed Percocet and muscle relaxers, she turned to acupuncture and later medical marijuana, which she says are the "only things that help" with the chronic aches and pains she manages daily.

Such alternative treatments are emerging as safe havens for some patients concerned about the dangers of painkillers. But while many swear by the benefit, health insurance generally doesn't cover them.

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4 US NJ: Gov. Murphy Greatly Expands New Jersey's Medical MarijuanaTue, 27 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Hefler, Jan Area:New Jersey Lines:106 Added:03/31/2018

Gov. Murphy greatly expanded New Jersey's medical marijuana program Tuesday, opening the door to tens of thousands of new patients and allowing the five dispensaries spread across the state to add satellite retail centers and cultivation facilities.

The governor added to the list of ailments that qualify for a cannabis prescription. He also cleared the way for any doctor in the state to prescribe cannabis, ending a system in which only those physicians who registered -- and thus, joined a publicly available list of providers - -- could do so. He said some doctors had been reluctant to participate in the program because they viewed joining the list as a stigma.

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5US FL: Editorial: Fighting Meth's Killer ComebackFri, 23 Mar 2018
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:03/23/2018

While opioids hold center stage in the nation's drug war, methamphetamine is making a destructive comeback. Though meth has largely fallen off the public's radar, seizures and arrests are up, and more people are dying from the drug. Its evolution is a reminder of the durability of the illegal drug supply, the impermanence of any single enforcement tactic and the need for a comprehensive approach to fighting and treating addiction.

Potent, addictive and deadly, meth bears many of the pernicious traits of opioids. It became popular in the early 2000s, easily produced in small batches using the decongestant in over-the-counter cold medicine. In rural parts of Tampa Bay, especially eastern Hillsborough and Pasco counties and throughout Polk County, exploding "meth labs" routinely drew law enforcement's attention. Congress responded in 2005 with a law putting pseudoephedrine behind the counter, limiting the amount individuals could purchase and creating a tracking system pharmacies were required to use. Meth became much harder to make and faded from notice, overtaken by a new drug of choice: opioids.

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6 US IL: Oped: The Opioid Epidemic And 'Do No Harm'Mon, 19 Mar 2018
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Robb, William Area:Illinois Lines:82 Added:03/22/2018

Historically opioid medications were used cautiously by physicians for selected patients to reduce pain associated with acute injury or illness, and for those suffering from life-threatening diseases such as cancer.

This caution was based upon recognition that improper use of opioids could result in patient harm. However, in 1996, the American Pain Society, supported by opioid pharmaceutical manufacturers, promoted acknowledgment and expanded treatment of pain as the 'fifth vital sign" by physicians in hospitals. In 2001, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations introduced new pain standards recognizing the under-assessment and treatment of pain, which then expanded the use of opioids. In the two decades that followed opioid use and abuse has exploded, with nearly 80 percent of the world's opioid medications now being consumed in the U.S.

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7 CN ON: Demanding Answers For The 'Undetermined'Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:White, Patrick Area:Ontario Lines:153 Added:03/16/2018

Curtis McGowan wrestled with his opioid addiction for years, but his suspected overdose while in prison raises serious questions

On one of his many trips home from jail, Curtis McGowan beamed with pride and clutched a Dr. Seuss book.

"Mom," said the six-foot, 300-pound foundry worker, handing Michele McPherson a copy of Green Eggs and Ham, "this is the first book I ever read."

To mother and son, it was a moment filled with significance. He'd struggled with illiteracy his whole life, just like he'd struggled with drug use and mental-health problems. If he could learn to read, perhaps sobriety and serenity were not far off.

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8 Canada: Column: Does Naloxone Really Save Lives?Sat, 10 Mar 2018
Source:Globe and Mail (Canada) Author:Wente, Margaret Area:Canada Lines:100 Added:03/10/2018

The life-saving drug may actually increase opioid abuse. Here's why

My friendly local pharmacy has started selling naloxone kits to the general public. They think everyone should have one. The idea is that you never know when you're going to have someone overdose in your home.

As the opioid crisis spreads like a curse across North America, naloxone - a lifesaving drug that neutralizes the effects of an opioid overdose - is not confined to first responders anymore. Schools in Toronto are stocking up in it. Librarians across the United States have been trained to administer it to overdosing visitors. Everywhere, the message is: make sure you have some on hand, just in case.

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9 US: For All Their Risks, Opioids Had No Pain-Relieving AdvantageTue, 06 Mar 2018
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Kaplan, Karen Area:United States Lines:112 Added:03/09/2018

For years, doctors turned to opioid painkillers as a first-line treatment for chronic back pain and aches in the joints. Even as the dangers of addiction and overdoses became more clear, the drugs' pain-relieving benefits were still thought to justify their risks.

Now researchers have hard data that challenges this view.

In the first randomized clinical trial to make a head-to-head comparison between opioids and other kinds of pain medications, patients who took opioids fared no better over the long term than patients who used safer alternatives.

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10 US FL: Ex-DEA Chief Blasts White-Collar PushersThu, 01 Mar 2018
Source:Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) Author:Cox, Billy Area:Florida Lines:55 Added:03/05/2018

SARASOTA - When the Drug Enforcement Administration was formed in 1973, roughly 2,000 Americans were dying from overdoses each week, largely from heroin injections. In 2016 alone, thanks to a deregulated pharmaceutical industry, fatal overdoses -- 80 percent opioid related - -- claimed 63,000 lives.

Or, as Peter Bensinger pointed out Thursday morning, opium-derived drugs have exacted a higher death toll in a single year than nearly two decades of fighting in the Vietnam War.

Appointed by President Ford in 1976 to become the nation's second DEA director, Bensinger detailed the history of America's relationship with the poppy to a Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning crowd gathered at First United Methodist Church. As the leading cause of death for U.S. residents under 50, the toll from opioids and its synthetic counterparts today would've been unimaginable to Bensinger when he was the nation's top drug cop.

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11 US CT: Medicinal Marijuana Urged To Help Combat Deadly OpioidMon, 26 Feb 2018
Source:Hartford Courant (CT) Author:Hladky, Gregory B. Area:Connecticut Lines:92 Added:02/28/2018

People who were addicted to opioids and those who lost loved ones to opioid overdoses offered emotional testimony Monday urging state officials to approve medical marijuana as an alternative painkiller that could help halt Connecticut's deadly opioid epidemic.

"My passion and drive to achieve this is fueled by my personal experience battling pharmaceutical drug addiction solely with the use of cannabis," Cody Roberts of Seymour told the state Board of Physicians, which is charged with approving conditions for the state's medical marijuana program. Roberts testified he's lost eight friends in the past year to opioid overdoses, and has been addicted himself.

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12 CN AB: Grieving Mom To Show Students The Faces Of Opioid CrisisSun, 11 Feb 2018
Source:Calgary Sun, The (CN AB) Author:Cole, Yolande Area:Alberta Lines:70 Added:02/11/2018

Following the death of her son Conner in 2013, Yvonne Clark has been sharing her story with students and parents across the region.

In presentations to young people ranging from Grade 6 to Grade 12, Clark talks about her family's experience, about the dangers of fentanyl, and about the growing number of Albertans who have died of opioid overdoses.

What she hopes to include soon as part of that presentation is a series of images that will put a face to the fentanyl statistics. Clark is appealing to other Albertans who have lost a loved one to an opioid overdose to send her a photo of the victim, with the aim of educating young people across the province about the crisis.

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13 CN ON: People Who Use Drugs Should Get A Naloxone Kit: Grey BruceTue, 06 Feb 2018
Source:Wiarton Echo (CN ON) Author:Langlois, Denis Area:Ontario Lines:77 Added:02/09/2018

Public health is urging anyone who uses drugs to get a free naloxone kit.

The call comes after Owen Sound police announced Jan. 26 that the highly potent opioid carfentanil was confirmed in a pair of investigations in the city.

"All drugs are dangerous and we don't know oftentimes what is in other drugs. So you could be getting what you think is one drug when, in fact, there could be something else in it," public health nurse Lindsay Cook said in an interview.

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14 US NJ: Judge: Insurance Company Must Pay For Medical Marijuana ForTue, 06 Feb 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Hefler, Jan Area:New Jersey Lines:111 Added:02/07/2018

In what could be a precedent-setting decision, a New Jersey administrative law judge has ordered an insurance company to pay for medical marijuana for an injured worker who suffers from lingering neuropathic pain in his left hand after an accident while using a power saw at an 84 Lumber outlet in 2008.

Judge Ingrid L. French took testimony from the worker, a 39-year-old Egg Harbor Township man, and a Cherry Hill psychiatrist/neurologist who said the marijuana treatment was appropriate because it would allow the patient to reduce his prescription opiate use and lower the risk of serious side effects.

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15 CN BC: Vancouver Blazes Psychedelic Research TrailThu, 01 Feb 2018
Source:Georgia Straight, The (CN BC) Author:Lupick, Travis Area:British Columbia Lines:373 Added:02/03/2018

Decades after Canada abandoned the field, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use is investigating the benefits of drugs like MDMA and psilocybin

In 2011, Gerald Thomas was invited to an Indigenous community in a remote area of British Columbia. Working for the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C., he was one of a small team of scientists who observed 12 people take ayahuasca, an Amazonian mixture that induces vivid visual and auditory hallucinations as well as deep emotional and intellectual reflection.

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16 CN ON: Carfentanil Prompts WarningTue, 30 Jan 2018
Source:Sun Times, The (Owen Sound, CN ON) Author:Langlois, Denis Area:Ontario Lines:73 Added:01/30/2018

Public health is urging anyone who uses drugs to get a free naloxone kit.

The call comes after Owen Sound police announced Friday that the highly potent opioid carfentanil was confirmed in a pair of investigations in the city.

"All drugs are dangerous and we don't know oftentimes what is in other drugs. So you could be getting what you think is one drug when, in fact, there could be something else in it," public health nurse Lindsay Cook said Monday in an interview.

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17 CN ON: Meth Remains Persistent Drug Problem: PoliceMon, 22 Jan 2018
Source:Observer, The (CN ON) Author:Hnatyshyn, Carl Area:Ontario Lines:158 Added:01/22/2018

'Crystal meth … in this city is a much worse problem than opioids'

The opioid epidemic that has overtaken Ontario has left its mark on Lambton County, but a more insidious problem - the widespread use of crystal methamphetamine -will have an equal, if not greater effect on crime in the future, according to the head of Sarnia Police Service's Vice Unit.

Det. Sgt. John Pearce spoke about the prevalence of opioids and methamphetamine in Sarnia, the inherent dangers of these drugs, and the legalization of marijuana during a recent presentation at the Central Forum Speaker Series.

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18 US MA: Using Marijuana To Fight The Opioid CrisisMon, 15 Jan 2018
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Eagan, Margery Area:Massachusetts Lines:94 Added:01/15/2018

IN WASHINGTON, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed Obama administration policies and freed US attorneys to prosecute the marijuana business, even where it's legal.

In Boston, US Attorney Andrew Lelling has given no assurances that he won't.

Meanwhile, in a nondescript Natick strip mall, in a physician's office above a pizza joint and dance school, and down the hall from the Ebenezer Assembly of God ministry, Dr. Uma Dhanabalan helps patients use marijuana to wean themselves from an actual drug menace. That would be opioids, legally prescribed, government approved, a drug that's made billions for the politically wired pharmaceutical industry and now kills nearly 100 Americans every day.

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19 US PA: Pa. Regulators Reverse Course Medical Marijuana Won't StopFri, 12 Jan 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:77 Added:01/12/2018

Pennsylvania will no longer provide the names of medical marijuana patients to law enforcement agencies.

The state Department of Health made the announcement late Friday afternoon in the wake of an Inquirer and Daily News story that called attention to the fact that marijuana patients would not be able to buy firearms.

The department also called for the federal government to reclassify marijuana, essentially demanding that it legalize cannabis on a national level. Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration considers all forms of the plant to be "without any accepted medical use," "highly addictive," and on par with LSD and heroin. Last week U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed Obama-era policies and said federal prosecutors had the discretion to crack down on participants in state-legal marijuana programs.

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20 CN ON: Fentanyl Found In Cocaine, Police WarnMon, 08 Jan 2018
Source:London Free Press (CN ON) Author:Daniszewski, Hank Area:Ontario Lines:88 Added:01/08/2018

London police are warning the public that cocaine seized in November contained the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Health Canada tests confirmed the presence of fentanyl - an opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine - in drugs found on a 33-year-old London man after he was arrested.

"This is the first time in London that both cocaine and fentanyl were discovered in the same sample," police said in a news release Sunday.

"It is not confirmed if the drugs were intentionally or inadvertently mixed."

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