ADDICTION PROGRESS SLOWED BY PANDEMIC

By Felice J. Freyer, Boston Globe, May 2021

“Opioid-related overdose deaths increased by 5 percent in Massachusetts last year and rose dramatically among non-Hispanic Black men, as the pandemic erased the state’s recent progress in combating the addiction crisis. In its semiannual report, the state Department of Public Health revealed that there were 2,104 opioid deaths in 2020 — 102 more than 2019 and two more than the peak year of 2016.”

“The state also released numbers for the first quarter of 2021, which showed a continued increase. There were 507 overdose deaths, 2 percent more than in the same period in 2020.”

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HOW THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC CREATED A “PERFECT STORM” FOR OPIOID ADDICTION

By Elizabeth Elkind, CBS News, May 2021

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 90,237 people in the U.S. died of opioid overdoses between October 2019 and September 2020. The figure is the highest ever recorded since the opioid crisis began in the late 1990s.”

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FAKE PRESCRIPTION PILLS MAY CONTAIN LETHAL DOSE OF FENTANYL, DEA SAYS

By NBC Boston, March 2021

“The Drug Enforcement Administration warns this is not an isolated incident, NBC News reports. Earlier this month, the agency made a huge bust in Mexico, seizing 600,000 counterfeit pharmaceutical pills. The pills are made to look like real prescription drugs of various types, and they would have been sold as anything from Adderall to Percocet to Xanax, but they actually included fentanyl, which is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin.”

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WITH ALL EYES ON THE PANDEMIC, STATE FUNDING FOR OPIOID ADDICTION SERVICES HAS BEEN CUT

By Joe Mathieu, WGBH, March 2021

March 10th marked 1 year since Governor Baker declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19.

“GBH Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu spoke with GBH News State House reporter Mike Deehan about how Beacon Hill’s attention and resources have shifted since the pandemic began. “

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MASS AG’S OFFICE AWARDS $1.5 MILLION IN GRANTS TO ADDRESS RACIAL DISPARITIES IN OPIOID TREATMENT SERVICES

By The Associated Press, WBUR February, 2021

“The grant program supports treatment and recovery programs committed to standards that serve Black, Indigenous, and people of color, Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement {last} week.”

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QUINCY POLICE BUST ILLEGAL PILL MANUFACTURING OPERATION, SEIZE FENTANYL

By Frank O’Laughlin, WHDH, January 2021

“QUINCY, MASS. (WHDH) – Police in Quincy busted an illegal pill manufacturing operation and seized a “large quantity” of fentanyl during a raid last week, officials announced Monday.”

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AG HEALEY PLANS TO FIGHT $8 BILLION PURDUE PHARMA SETTLEMENT

By Tori Bedford, WGBH, October 2020

“Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says she plans to fight an $8 billion settlement reached [October 21, 2020] between OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and the federal government, after the company pleaded guilty in a criminal investigation to its role in the opioid epidemic.”

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GATEWAY-THE MOVIE

By Backlot Productions-Run Time 40 minutes

“GATEWAY is a film about 3 families inadvertently impacted by opioid addiction that began with a prescription to manage pain after surgery. It provides an intimate look into the struggles that can be caused by legal opioid prescriptions when the dangers of these medications are not properly understood.”

Please CLICK HERE to watch the Film. For more information, please visit www.gatewayfilm.com


OPIOID SCANDAL HAUNTS DRUG COMPANIES AS THEY RESPOND TO PANDEMIC

By Brian Mann, WBUR, August 2020

“As drug firms race to position themselves as key players in the coronavirus fight, the industry faces a renewed wave of civil lawsuits stemming from its role in the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic.”

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29% OF MASS NURSING HOMES REFUSE PATIENTS WHO’VE USED OPIOIDS, STUDY FINDS

By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, July 2020

“Twenty-nine percent of nursing facilities in Massachusetts refused to take patients in 2018 who had a history of drug use and needed post-hospital care. The findings are in a study out of Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction. Researchers said they were surprised to see ‘do not take people who use drugs’ or ‘do not accept methadone patients’ in comments explaining why skilled nursing and rehab centers rejected a referral.”

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NEW PEAK OF 71K OVERDOSE DEATHS IN 2019 DASHES HOPES

By Carla K. Johnson, AP Medical Writer, July 2020

“Preliminary numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the trend is driven by fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths. Deaths involving cocaine and methamphetamine also are rising.”

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A GUIDE FOR COMPANIES THAT WANT TO END THE STIGMA AROUND OPIOID ADDICTION

By Christopher J. Swift, Fortune Magazine, July 2020

“I personally have seen, as CEO, how I can change the perception of addiction by leading a companywide dialogue. I encourage all business leaders to drive cultural change within their companies and change the way we think and talk about addiction so that we can remove the hurdle of stigma for those who might otherwise seek timely help.”

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COVID DEEPENS THE OTHER OPIOID CRISIS-A SHORTAGE OF HOSPITAL PAINKILLERS

By Lisa Girion, Dan Levine & Robin Respaut, Reuters, June 2020

“As opioid pills and patches fueled a two-decade epidemic of overdoses in the United States, hospitals faced chronic shortages of the same painkillers in injectable form – narcotics vital to patients on breathing machines.”

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POST-CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, KEEP METHADONE EASY TO OBTAIN

By The Boston Globe Editorial Board, May 2020

“Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, there was the opioid overdose epidemic to contend with — which has now become a crisis within a crisis. But in a remarkable case of coronavirus silver linings, medications to treat opioid use disorder have never been easier to access, and there are even signs that more patients are seeking treatment.”

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NEW SYNTHETIC OPIOID, MIXED WITH COCAINE, DETECTED IN OVERDOSE CASES

By Partnership News Service Staff, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, May 2020

“Health officials in Illinois and Indiana say a new synthetic opioid appears to be linked to some overdose cases, USA Today reports. The drug, isotonitazene, was mixed with cocaine.”

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THE HEALTH 202: CORONAVIRUS COULD WORSEN THE OPIOID ABUSE EPIDEMIC

By Paige Winfield Cunningham, with Paulina Firozi, The Washington Post, May 2020

“Before the virus struck, politicians and policymakers were wringing their hands over how to stem an opioid abuse crisis that has killed more than 400,000 people in the United States since 2000.”

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THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC HASN’T GONE AWAY WITH COVID-19. IT’S JUST HARDER TO ADDRESS

By Karen Brown, Connecticut Public Radio, April 2020

“In the best of circumstances, addiction is incredibly challenging to treat. Add in the anxiety of a global pandemic, and the distance it’s putting between people, and drug abuse becomes an even greater risk.”

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11 MASS. POLICE DEPARTMENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN FENTANYL

By Associated Press (AP) on Boston.com, April 2020

“Advocates for the program said the kits are meant to inform and protect the health of people who use drugs, with the hope of leading them to change their use and behavior.”

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OPIOID ADDICTION IS ‘A DISEASE OF ISOLATION,’ SO PANDEMIC PUTS RECOVERY AT RISK

By Martha Bebinger , NPR, March 2020

“Before the spreading coronavirus became a pandemic, Emma went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every week in the Boston area and to another support group at her methadone clinic. She says she felt safe, secure and never judged.”

“Now, with AA and other groups moving online, and the methadone clinic shifting to phone meetings and appointments, Emma is feeling more isolated.”

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WHAT OPIOID USE IN RATS CAN TELL US ABOUT ADDICTION IN HUMANS

By Angela Nelson, Tufts Now, March 2020

“A neuroscientist at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine studies opioid use in rats to understand how drugs affect the next generation.”

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THE DEATH TOLL OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC IS HIGHER THAN ORIGINALLY THOUGHT, RESEARCHERS SAY

By Meryl Kornfield, The Washington Post, February 2020

“Opioid-related overdoses could be 28 percent higher than reported because of incomplete death records, researchers found in a study published Thursday.”

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MA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION TO PROVIDE MEDICATION FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT, IN ACLU VICTORY

By ACLU Massachusetts, February 2020

“Three people currently incarcerated in Massachusetts prisons will be provided their prescribed medication for addiction treatment (MAT) for the duration of their time in Department of Correction (DOC) custody. A final resolution filed today in an ACLU of Massachusetts lawsuit marks a first-of-its-kind victory.”

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MIND-BODY THERAPIES CAN REDUCE PAIN AND OPIOID USE

By Subramaniam Balachundhar, MD, MPH, FASA & Preeti Upadhyay, MBBS, MPH, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, February 2020

Mind-body therapies (MBTs) are integrative practices, and they include breathing exercises and/or body movements aimed at achieving relaxation of mind and body.

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PROGRESS SLOWS IN MASSACHUSETTS: DEATH RATES FLAT IN OPIOID CRISIS

By Martha Bebinger, WBUR, February 2020

“The state Department of Public Health says preliminary data shows virtually no change from 2018 to 2019 in the number of residents who overdosed and could not be revived. Examiners found fentanyl in 93% of these men and women, a new high.”

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U.S. DRUG DEATHS MIGHT BE TWICE AS HIGH AS THOUGHT

By HealthDay News, January 2020

“Drugs may kill twice as many Americans as government records suggest, a new study claims.”

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NEW TOOLS NEEDED IN THE FIGHT AGAINST SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER

By Lori Trahan & James Baker, The Boston Globe, December, 2019

“According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, over 2 million Americans suffer from Opioid Use Disorder specifically. To talk about this issue, it is critical to understand the facts. OUD is a chronic but treatable disease resulting from misuse of prescription opioids, heroin, or other illicit opioids.”

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FENTANYL FOUND IN UNREGULATED VAPE CARTRIDGES IN OTHER STATES.

By Sydney Glenn, Fox 13 NOW News, October 2019

“We are starting to see fentanyl make its way into the vaping industry, and we see that we are definitely going to see the death counts go up,” 


OPIOID CRISIS COST U.S. ECONOMY AT LEAST $631 BILLION, STUDY FINDS WHY TWO OHIO COUNTIES SUED DRUG COMPANIES OVER OPIOIDS

By Rachel Siegel, The Washington Post, October 2019

“As a landmark trial begins over who should pay for the nation’s opioid crisis, a new report estimates the epidemic has cost the U.S. economy at least $631 billion — and that more than two-thirds of that toll fell on individuals and the private sector.”


WORKOUT AND RECOVERY: OPIOID EPICENTER SHAPES UP

By Jazmine Ulloa, Globe Staff, October 2019

“Once dubbed America’s Pill Mill, an Ohio River city hits the gym and fights back, proving that the crisis is bigger than politics.”


THE ANGEL ON METHADONE MILE

The Boston Globe, October 2019


PURDUE PHARMA OFFERS MASSIVE SETTLEMENT FOR ROLE IN THE OPIOID CRISIS,

Vanity Fair, August 2019

The Sackler family will reportedly give up their ownership of the company as part of the $10-12 billion settlement.


GOOGLE’S NEW ADDICTION RECOVERY WEBSITE IS MORE USEFUL THAN A GOOGLE SEARCH,

The Verge, September 2019

“Google is launching a new website it’s calling “Recover Together” that collates resources for addiction recovery in the United States. The site includes Google Maps-based search for resources like recovery support meetings and pharmacies that offer Naloxone without a prescription — it’s a drug that can be used to counteract opioid overdoses.”