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Friday, December 27, 2013

Attorneys General Urging FDA Mandate Drug Abuse-Deterrent Features

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The prescription drug epidemic in the United States has been exacerbated by drug companies who fail to create products with abuse deterrents because of the costs associated with doing so. While a number of brand-name prescription opioid painkillers makers have incorporated abuse-deterrent features, there is a concern that companies who produce generics will not.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being urged by Attorneys General from 42 U.S. states and territories to mandate prescription drug makers producing generic opioids to incorporate abuse-deterrent features. The attorneys general said they are concerned about generic versions of opioids lacking abuse-deterrent features because of the cost, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

The Attorneys General wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, where they said, we “respectfully request that the FDA provide clear and fair regulatory standards for the incorporation of abuse-deterrent technologies into generic opioids.”

“Requiring abuse-deterrent formulations for generic opioids is a common sense improvement that provides us another important tool to help fight this epidemic,” Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said in a news release.

What’s more, the Attorneys General from 28 states would like the FDA to reassess its decision to approve a pure form of the painkiller hydrocodone - Zohydro ER (extended release). They said in a letter to Commissioner Hamburg, the attorneys general believe the approval of Zohydro ER “has the potential to exacerbate our nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic because this drug will be the first hydrocodone-only opioid narcotic that is reportedly five to ten times more potent than traditional hydrocodone products, and it has no abuse-deterrent properties.”
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Friday, December 20, 2013

More Drunk Driving On New Years Eve Than Christmas

christmas tree
Christmas and New Years Eve are on the horizon, once again it is imperative for drivers to be extra vigilant on the road due to the rise of drinking and driving. People who do not commonly drink a lot will be on the road, as well as people who drink more when around their families. Every year there are drunk driving related deaths around the holidays, turning what should be a time of joy into a time of hardship.

The National Safety Council (NSC) has found that more fatal car crashes caused by alcohol happen on New Year’s Eve rather than Christmas. 

Between 2007 and 2011, there were 93 alcohol-related deaths during the Christmas holiday, with 35 percent linked to alcohol. Over the New Year’s holiday there were an average of 108 traffic deaths and 42 percent could be linked to alcohol, according to Bloomberg.

This year, there will be an estimated 105 traffic deaths and 11,200 injuries requiring medical professionals during the Christmas holiday. The NSC estimates 156 traffic deaths and 16,700 injuries during New Year’s.

“The difference between the two holidays is that everybody on New Year’s Eve is going out to parties and at their parties, they’re having the alcohol,” Capt. Nancy Rasmussen, Chief of Public Affairs for the Florida Highway Patrol, told Bloomberg. Christmas is more of a “stay-in-the-house, do-the-family thing, so there’s less drinking,” she added.

Holidays are a bad time for driving altogether and the report showed that traffic deaths are more likely during the July 4, Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends than New Year’s, Thanksgiving or Christmas, the article notes. We wish you a safe and merry Christmas and New Years.

If you cannot avoid drinking be sure to have a plan for getting home that does not involve you driving.
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Female Drug Offenders Report Police Sexual Misconduct

An estimated 1.3 million American women were incarcerated or under correctional supervision in 2009, up from 600,000 in 1990, the MedicalXpress reports. In the St. Louis area, a study of surveys completed by female drug offenders, showed that one-quarter report experiencing police sexual misconduct.

The study included 318 women who were on probation or parole for a non-violent offense. One-quarter of women said they had a lifetime history of police sexual misconduct and 96 percent said they had sex with an officer who was on duty. Shockingly, 24 percent of the women claimed they had sex with an officer in the presence of the officer’s partner or another officer.

“It’s important that the police force acknowledges that sexual misconduct may exist among the force, so that it can be stopped and eventually prevented,” lead investigator Linda B. Cottler of the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, said in a news release.

What’s more, 54 percent of the women said the officer offered to throw out the arrest in exchange for sex, with 87 percent stating officers kept their promises. A third of the women viewed what the officers did as a form of rape.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Anesthesiology Residents Substance Abuse Study

A study into substance abuse rates among anesthesiology residents in the United States has found that slightly less than 1 percent (the overall rate was 0.86 percent) have a substance use disorder. 

Researchers followed 45,000 anesthesiology residents who began training between 1975 and 2009, HealthDay reports. The research has shown that the rate of substance use has been increasing and relapse rates are higher. During the study period twenty-eight anesthesiology residents passed away as a result of their substance abuse.

Over the 30 year period, 43 percent had at least one relapse and 11 percent died from a substance use disorder. At the beginning of the study rates of substance abuse were higher, then decreased between 1996 and 2002 and rose again in 2003.

Most commonly abused substances were:
  • Intravenous Opioids
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Anesthetics
  • Hypnotics
The Journal of the American Medical Association published the findings.
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