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1.
Curr Opin Psychiatry ; 34(4): 344-350, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1631191

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review provides an update on recently published literature on the rise of illicit fentanyls, risks for overdose, combinations with other substances, e.g. stimulants, consequences, and treatment. RECENT FINDINGS: Overdose due to illicit synthetic opioids (e.g. fentanyl and fentanyl analogs) continues to rise in the US both preceding and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fentanyl-related overdose is rising in new geographic areas e.g. the western USA. Stimulant-related overdose is also increasing nationwide driven by methamphetamine and cocaine. Polysubstance use, e.g. the use of a stimulant along with an opioid is driving stimulant-related overdose. Other medical consequences of injection drug use are rising including HIV and hepatitis C infections. Medication approaches to treating opioid use disorder remain the standard of care and there are new promising pharmacological approaches to treating methamphetamine use disorder. SUMMARY: A 'fourth wave' of high mortality involving methamphetamine and cocaine use has been gathering force in the USA. Availability and use of illicit fentanyls are still the major drivers of overdose deaths and the current rise in stimulant-related deaths appears entwined with the ongoing opioid epidemic.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Central Nervous System Stimulants/poisoning , Cocaine-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Fentanyl/poisoning , Opiate Overdose/epidemiology , Opioid Epidemic/statistics & numerical data , Cocaine/poisoning , Comorbidity , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Humans , Illicit Drugs/poisoning , Methamphetamine/poisoning
2.
Public Health Rep ; 136(1_suppl): 72S-79S, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495836

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Traditional public health surveillance of nonfatal opioid overdose relies on emergency department (ED) billing data, which can be delayed substantially. We compared the timeliness of 2 new data sources for rapid drug overdose surveillance-emergency medical services (EMS) and syndromic surveillance-with ED billing data. METHODS: We used data on nonfatal opioid overdoses in Kentucky captured in EMS, syndromic surveillance, and ED billing systems during 2018-2019. We evaluated the time-series relationships between EMS and ED billing data and syndromic surveillance and ED billing data by calculating cross-correlation functions, controlling for influences of autocorrelations. A case example demonstrates the usefulness of EMS and syndromic surveillance data to monitor rapid changes in opioid overdose encounters in Kentucky during the COVID-19 epidemic. RESULTS: EMS and syndromic surveillance data showed moderate-to-strong correlation with ED billing data on a lag of 0 (r = 0.694; 95% CI, 0.579-0.782; t = 9.73; df = 101; P < .001; and r = 0.656; 95% CI, 0.530-0.754; t = 8.73; df = 101; P < .001; respectively) at the week-aggregated level. After the COVID-19 emergency declaration, EMS and syndromic surveillance time series had steep increases in April and May 2020, followed by declines from June through September 2020. The ED billing data were available for analysis 3 months after the end of a calendar quarter but closely followed the trends identified by the EMS and syndromic surveillance data. CONCLUSION: Data from EMS and syndromic surveillance systems can be reliably used to monitor nonfatal opioid overdose trends in Kentucky in near-real time to inform timely public health response.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Population Surveillance/methods , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Sentinel Surveillance , Analgesics, Opioid/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Emergencies/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/trends , Humans , Kentucky/epidemiology , Pandemics , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 218: 108355, 2021 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-866644

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Expanding access to and utilization of naloxone is a vitally important harm reduction strategy for preventing opioid overdose deaths, particularly in vulnerable populations like Medicaid beneficiaries. The objective of this study was to characterize the landscape of monthly prescription fill limit policies in Medicaid programs and their potential implications for expanding naloxone use for opioid overdose harm reduction. METHODS: A cross-sectional, multi-modal online and telephonic data collection strategy was used to identify and describe the presence and characteristics of monthly prescription fill limit policies across state Medicaid programs. Contextual characteristics were described regarding each state's Medicaid enrollment, opioid prescribing rates, and overdose death rates. Data collection and analysis occurred between February and May 2020. RESULTS: Medicaid-covered naloxone fills are currently subject to monthly prescription fill limit policies in 10 state Medicaid programs, which cover 20 % of the Medicaid population nationwide. Seven of these programs are located in states ranking in the top 10 highest per-capita opioid prescribing rates in the country. However, 8 of these programs are located in states with opioid overdose death rates below the national average. CONCLUSIONS: Medicaid beneficiaries at high risk of opioid overdose living in states with monthly prescription fill limits may experience significant barriers to obtaining naloxone. Exempting naloxone from Medicaid prescription limit restrictions may help spur broader adoption of naloxone for opioid overdose mortality prevention, especially in states with high opioid prescribing rates. Achieving unfettered naloxone coverage in Medicaid is critical as opioid overdoses and Medicaid enrollment increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Drug Prescriptions , Medicaid/legislation & jurisprudence , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , COVID-19 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/mortality , Humans , Pandemics , Practice Patterns, Physicians' , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States/epidemiology
6.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 119: 108153, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-813712

ABSTRACT

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will exacerbate the negative health outcomes associated with the concurrent opioid overdose crisis in North America. COVID-19 brings unique challenges for practitioners who provide opioid use disorder (OUD) care. The majority of overdose deaths in the Canadian province of British Columbia occur in housing environments. Some supportive housing environments in Vancouver, British Columbia, have on-site primary care and substance use disorder treatment clinics. Some of these housing environments also include supervised consumption services. These housing environments needed to make adjustments to their care to adhere to COVID-19 physical distancing measures. Such adjustments included a pandemic withdrawal management program to provide patients with a pharmaceutical grade alternative to the toxic illicit drug supply, which allow patients to avoid the heightened overdose risk while using illicit drugs alone or potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19 while using drugs in a group setting. Other modifications to the OUD care continuum included modified supervised injection spaces to adhere to physical distancing, the use of personal protective equipment for overdose response, virtual platforms for clinical encounters, writing longer prescriptions, and providing take-home doses to promote opioid agonist treatment retention. These strategies aim to mitigate indoor overdose risk while also addressing COVID-19 risks.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Opioid-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Analgesics, Opioid/supply & distribution , British Columbia , COVID-19 , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Housing , Humans , Illicit Drugs/poisoning , Illicit Drugs/supply & distribution , Needle-Exchange Programs , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment , Risk , Substance Abuse Treatment Centers/statistics & numerical data
7.
J Urban Health ; 97(6): 802-807, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-812533

ABSTRACT

We described the change in drug overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic in one urban emergency medical services (EMS) system. Data was collected from Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis), including EMS calls for service (CFS) for suspected overdose, CFS in which naloxone was administered, and fatal overdose data from the County Coroner's Office. With two sample t tests and ARIMA time series forecasting, we showed changes in the daily rates of calls (all EMS CFS, overdose CFS, and CFS in which naloxone was administered) before and after the stay-at-home order in Indianapolis. We further showed differences in the weekly rate of overdose deaths. Overdose CFS and EMS naloxone administration showed an increase with the social isolation of the Indiana stay-at-home order, but a continued increase after the stay-at-home order was terminated. Despite a mild 4% increase in all EMS CFS, overdose CFS increased 43% and CFS with naloxone administration increased 61% after the stay-at-home order. Deaths from drug overdoses increased by 47%. There was no change in distribution of age, race/ethnicity, or zip code of those who overdosed after the stay-at-home order was issued. We hope this data informs policy-makers preparing for future COVID-19 responses and other disaster responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Adult , Age Factors , Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Indiana/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Naloxone/administration & dosage , Narcotic Antagonists/administration & dosage , Pandemics , Residence Characteristics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Factors , Socioeconomic Factors
8.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 214: 108176, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-640296

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Individuals with opioid use disorder may be at heightened risk of opioid overdose during the COVID-19 period of social isolation, economic distress, and disrupted treatment services delivery. This study evaluated changes in daily number of Kentucky emergency medical services (EMS) runs for opioid overdose between January 14, 2020 and April 26, 2020. METHODS: We evaluated the statistical significance of the changes in the average daily EMS opioid overdose runs in the 52 days before and after the COVID-19 state of emergency declaration, March 6, 2020. RESULTS: Kentucky EMS opioid overdose daily runs increased after the COVID-19 state emergency declaration. In contrast, EMS daily runs for other conditions leveled or declined. There was a 17% increase in the number of EMS opioid overdose runs with transportation to an emergency department (ED), a 71% increase in runs with refused transportation, and a 50% increase in runs for suspected opioid overdoses with deaths at the scene. The average daily EMS opioid overdose runs with refused transportation increased significantly, doubled to an average of 8 opioid overdose patients refusing transportation every day during the COVID-19-related study period. CONCLUSIONS: This Kentucky-specific study provides empirical evidence for concerns that opioid overdoses are rising during the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for sharing of observations and analyses from different regions and surveillance systems with timely data collection (e.g., EMS data, syndromic surveillance data for ED visits) to improve our understanding of the situation, inform proactive response, and prevent another big wave of opioid overdoses in our communities.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , Data Collection , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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