Opioid Dependence Claims Up by More Than 3,000% Since 2007

A new report on the opioid crisis—this one focused on private insurance data–presents yet another litany of chilling statistics on the reach of the epidemic, this time including a startling 3,203% increase in claims related to opioid dependence from 2007 to 2014.

The latest report, conducted by the nonprofit FAIR Health, is the result of an analysis of the organization’s collection of more than 20 billion privately billed health care claims. Like previous research, the FAIR Health report points to a public health crisis that has ballooned rapidly, and is affecting certain age groups and regions disproportionately.

In addition to the 3,000% leap in opioid dependence diagnoses, the FAIR Health report also includes other alarming statistics. Among them:

Full story of opioid dependence claims rising at APTA

White House Proposes $1.1 Billion to Reduce Opioid Abuse

In a proposal aimed in part at building on an initiative that includes APTA, President Barack Obama has designated $1.1 billion in new funding over 2 years to intensify the fight against the country’s opioid use and heroin abuse epidemic.

According to a White House fact sheet, Obama’s proposal takes a “2-pronged approach” to address the drug problem: $1 billion in new mandatory funding for expanding treatment for individuals with an opioid use disorder, and $500 million to increase prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, including more funding for medication-assisted treatment. Some of the funds will be directed specifically to rural areas of the country, which have seen disproportionately high levels of abuse and overdose.

The proposal, which requires congressional approval, further intensifies the administration’s focus on the opioid abuse epidemic. That focus received national attention in October 2015, when Obama announced the creation of a public- private partnership to combat opioid abuse and heroin use. APTA is participating in the initiative along with 39 other health care provider groups that include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Nurses Association.

Full story of proposal to reduce opioid abuse at APTA

Drug Users With HIV at Much Higher Overdose Risk

By Robert Preidt

Drug Users with Aids Overdose RiskHIV-infected drug users are 74 percent more likely to have an overdose than those without HIV, a new evidence review finds.

Behavioral and biological factors may be among the reasons for this increased risk, according to the Rhode Island Hospital researchers. Drug overdose is a frequent cause of non-AIDS death among people with HIV.

The link between HIV infection and drug use is well documented, but the association between HIV and overdose has received less attention and was the focus of this study, which involved a review of 24 previous studies.

"Over the past 30 years, we have made impressive strides incaring for and prolonging the lives of people with HIV. Our study found that premature death by overdose is an issue that affects people with HIV disproportionately," study leader Traci Green, a researcher with Rhode Island Hospital and the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research, said in a hospital news release.

Full story at Everyday Health