Last updated on April 13, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has state governments scrambling to manage both the health crisis and budget shortfalls caused by the economic downturn. In some states, that has led to budget cuts in many areas, including funds to fight the opioid epidemic. Treatment professionals worry that funding cuts to treatment programs and the pandemic shutdown could cause patients to drop out of treatment, potentially increasing addiction and mortality rates. Many Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) patients in recovery and treatment programs share those concerns.

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Most parents worry about their teens getting access to drugs at school or in social settings – not at the dentist. However, the American Dental Association and private insurers have expressed concerns about the widespread practice of prescribing opioid painkillers to teens after oral surgeries. The patients who filled those opioid prescriptions were nearly three times as likely to use opioids in the year after the prescription.

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Last updated on April 13, 2021

Recent research shows that patients who receive education and counseling about the importance of safe disposal of opioid medications are associated with a higher likelihood of the patient properly disposing of their unused medications. That peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Pain Research also found “a clear need to increase patient awareness about the importance and methods of proper medication disposal, and a great opportunity for health care providers to increase patient education efforts.”  


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Last fall, Congress passed the “Access to Increased Drug Disposal (AIDD) Act as part of a larger package of bills aimed at controlling the national opioid epidemic. AIDD allows states to compete for $10 million in federal grants designed to increase participation in safe medication disposal programs. Five states will be chosen to receive grant money to implement drug take back demonstration projects that encourage “authorized collectors,” such as hospitals and retail pharmacies, to increase public access to drug collection boxes.


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Last updated on April 13, 2021

Ninety-five percent of pet owners say they consider pets a part of the family, but there’s a darker side to some of those families. Sadly, as in so many human families, drug addiction is breaking the bonds of affection and trust. Veterinarians have reported cases where opioid addiction is leading pet owners to steal their pets’ medications or even injure their pets in an effort to get pain meds prescribed.


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