Journal: Journal of addiction medicine
Rates of substance use and other mental health concerns among attorneys are relatively unknown, despite the potential for harm that attorney impairment poses to the struggling individuals themselves, and to our communities, government, economy, and society. This study measured the prevalence of these concerns among licensed attorneys, their utilization of treatment services, and what barriers existed between them and the services they may need.
: Atomoxetine has been considered as an agonist replacement therapy for cocaine. We investigated the safety of the interaction of atomoxetine with cocaine and also whether cognitive function was affected by atomoxetine during short-term administration.
A recent government’s prohibition policy in Poland was partially successful with a reduction of the synthetic drugs market and a decrease in drug-related poisoning mortality rates. However, a new threatening trend is observed. There are a growing number of individuals in Poland and other European countries using legal pharmaceuticals containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to produce stimulants. This case report describes a history of a male patient with polysubstance dependence who administered self-designed ephedrone derived from Sudafed using potassium permanganate. He revealed significant clinical symptoms of manganese-induced parkinsonism. No effective treatment could be recommended. Awareness of this severe neurological and social consequences should lead to prevention efforts including educational programs and initiatives reducing availability of the legal medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. More research is needed to enhance our knowledge about manganism and potential treatment regimens.
Dextromethorphan (DXM) in combination with antihistamines and/or pseudoephedrine is widely available as an over-the-counter remedy commonly used for relief of colds and cough. In supratherapeutic amounts, DXM can be extremely activating. These cough preparations have been adopted by many young users of recreational drugs for their psychoactive effects. When used in amounts exceeding those recommended, this practice, known as “robotripping,” may result in a manic toxidrome of psychomotor agitation, hostility, grandiose behavior, hallucinations, paranoia, and panic. A case illustration of this phenomenon is described and implications of this phenomenon discussed. There are few reports associating DXM use with bipolar symptomatology.
: For patients who receive opioids or benzodiazepines, urine drug tests shed some light on the question of whether patients take their medicines as directed. How often do patients prescribed these drugs fall short? A commercial laboratory’s review of 144,535 urine samples found a high prevalence of disagreement between what clinic staff reported on laboratory requisitions and what was detected in the urine. Before concluding that most patients fail to take opioids and benzodiazepines correctly, we should take into account that urine tests sent to national laboratories reflect a skewed subset of patients who receive prescriptions. Additionally, laboratory requisitions prepared by office staff are not likely to perfectly reflect what is prescribed. Nevertheless, this report by McClure et al reminds us that urine drug test results will frequently diverge from what clinicians expect. Urine tests convey a signal requiring interpretation followed by careful, patient-centered decisions.
Clinical drug monitoring has an increasingly important role in the treatment of substance use disorders. Through semistructured interviews, we asked substance-use counselors about the clinical impact of drug tests on patients' treatment planning and outcomes. This study was conducted around the time of a facility-wide switch to a laboratory utilizing definitive liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry from a laboratory that had utilized the less-sensitive, presumptive immunoassay-based drug-testing methodology. Twelve counselors volunteered to be interviewed, and each counselor chose 2 patients to discuss. Counselors reported that the facility-wide switch to definitive drug testing revealed some patients with newly identified relapses and substance use. They also reported that, as a result of the new information provided by definitive liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry monitoring, 75% of the patients they discussed had a change made to their treatment plan, 79% were provided enhanced education, and 63% had an increase in their treatment intensity. Counselors also reported that 58% of these patients reduced their illicit drug and nonmedical prescription medication use as a result of treatment changes associated with the newly implemented definitive testing. Improvements in therapeutic relationships and honesty were also reported. These preliminary data are consistent with previous data and guidelines, suggesting that the results of definitive drug monitoring inform clinical decision-making and can help clinicians enhance treatment outcomes.
Elevated mortality has been observed among individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) treated in addiction specialty clinics or programs. Information about OUD patients in general healthcare settings is needed in light of the current effort to integrate addiction services into primary healthcare systems. This study examined mortality rates, causes of death, and associated risk factors among patients with OUD in a large general healthcare system.
: Novel synthetic opioids (NSOs) include various analogs of fentanyl and newly emerging non-fentanyl compounds. Together with illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF), these drugs have caused a recent spike in overdose deaths, whereas deaths from prescription opioids have stabilized. NSOs are used as stand-alone products, as adulterants in heroin, or as constituents of counterfeit prescription medications. During 2015 alone, there were 9580 deaths from synthetic opioids other than methadone. Most of these fatalities were associated with IMF rather than diverted pharmaceutical fentanyl. In opioid overdose cases, where the presence of fentanyl analogs was examined, analogs were implicated in 17% of fatalities. Recent data from law enforcement sources show increasing confiscation of acetylfentanyl, butyrylfentanyl, and furanylfentanyl, in addition to non-fentanyl compounds such as U-47700. Since 2013, deaths from NSOs in the United States were 52 for acetylfentanyl, 40 for butyrylfentanyl, 128 for furanylfentanyl, and 46 for U-47700. All of these substances induce a classic opioid toxidrome, which can be reversed with the competitive antagonist naloxone. However, due to the putative high potency of NSOs and their growing prevalence, it is recommended to forgo the 0.4 mg initial dose of naloxone and start with 2 mg. Because NSOs offer enormous profit potential, and there is strong demand for their use, these drugs are being trafficked by organized crime. NSOs present major challenges for medical professionals, law enforcement agencies, and policymakers. Resources must be distributed equitably to enhance harm reduction though public education, medication-assisted therapies, and improved access to naloxone.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0.
: At a time when death and disability linked to problematic substance use have reached crisis levels, integration of substance use disorder (SUD) services into primary care settings is a clear national priority. Incentive-based interventions can catalyze such adoption, but have thus far demonstrated limited efficaciousness. Behavioral Economics can inform efforts to incentivize healthcare providers to adopt SUD interventions. Choice architecture principles dictate pegging rewards to defined quality metrics, improving provider information about effective and cost-effective practices, and reducing barriers to SUD service provision through technological tools, tackling stigma, and addressing real and perceived regulatory burdens and risks. Additional research is needed to inform these and other key elements in the choice environment designed to facilitate the integration of SUD care into primary care. Success in the deployment of the “cascade of care” model in primary care settings during the HIV/AIDS epidemic provides room for optimism, but also underscores the urgency of rapid scale-up in diagnostic and treatment services for SUD to address the burgeoning opioid crisis.
This study presents information on the status and impact of medical and legalized marijuana, and the latest data on attitudes and prevalence of use since implementation of these laws. Recent reports from epidemiologists in Denver and Seattle are summarized to give the readers a sense of the changes as these laws have taken effect in their communities.