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Opioid Epidemic

  • McConnell: Senate Likely to Consider Anti-Opioid Package  Associated Press by Bruce Schreiner — The U.S. Senate is working on crafting a comprehensive package to combat the nation's opioid addiction problems and ease the transition from treatment to the workforce, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday. The Kentucky Republican attended discussions in Louisville that included business representatives and executives on the front lines of treating people battling drug addiction. McConnell emerged to promote his recently introduced measure aimed at helping people make the successful journey from treatment to the workplace. "We're likely to put together an opioid package in the Senate," he told reporters. "This bill will be a part of it. There are other aspects that others are taking the lead on."

  • If You're Worried About Prescription Opioids, You Should Be Really Scared of Fentanyl  Los Angeles Times by Karen Kaplan — The U.S. opioid crisis has passed a dubious milestone: Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids like illicit fentanyl have surpassed deaths involving prescription opioids. This switch occurred in 2016, according to data published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. And it seemed to happen pretty suddenly. Data from the National Vital Statistics System show that there were 42,249 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016. That includes 19,413 that involved synthetic opioids, 17,087 that involved prescription opioids and 15,469 that involved heroin. (In some cases, more than one type of drug was implicated in the death.) That means synthetic opioids were a factor in 46% of all fatal opioid overdoses in 2016, compared with 40% for prescription opioids Just one year earlier, in 2015, 29% of all opioid-related overdose deaths involved a synthetic opioid (9,580 out of 33,091 deaths).

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