The Coronavirus Is Blowing Up Our Best Response to the Opioid Crisis

Before the pandemic took hold, overdose deaths hit a national record of almost 71,000 in 2019, according to preliminary data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published last week. The highest peak yet comes on the heels of a meager 4.1 percent decline in overdose deaths in 2018, at the time celebrated by President Trump as “tremendous” progress. That flimsy and fragile achievement has rapidly unraveled, and by all indicators, overdose deaths are on track to get even worse in 2020. Anecdotal reports and local data illustrate an alarming spike in overdoses since stay-at-home orders were issued in March.

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FDA Requiring Labeling Changes for Opioid Pain Medicines, Opioid Use Disorder Medicines Regarding Naloxone

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it is requiring that labeling for opioid pain medicine and medicine to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) be updated to recommend that as a routine part of prescribing these medicines, health care professionals should discuss the availability of naloxone with patients and caregivers, both when beginning and renewing treatment.

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(Scotland) Lord Advocate gives reassurance that naloxone supply can expand

On Sunday at a media briefing in Edinburgh, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced that “the Lord Advocate has confirmed that – for the duration of this crisis – it would not be in the public interest to prosecute any individual – working for a service registered with the Scottish Government – who supplies naloxone in an emergency, to save a life”. This development aims to increase the distribution of naloxone kits by relaxing the rules around who can supply the life-saving medication. It remains the case that anyone can legally administer naloxone, to anyone, for the purpose of responding to a suspected opiate-related overdose.

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