May 2017 In 2015, two million people had a prescription opioid use disorder and 591,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder; prescription drug misuse alone cost the nation $78.5 billion in healthcare, law enforcement, and lost productivity. But while the scope of the crisis is staggering, it is not hopeless. By Nora Volkow (Director, NIDA) and Francis Collins (Director, NIH) Read More.
May 2017 Cigarette smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, responsible for over 480,000 deaths a year. Even though smoking has been decreasing overall, the smoking rate for persons with behavioral health conditions (mental and/or substance use disorders) is about twice that of the rest of the population. Read More.
April 2017 In 2015, over 33,000 Americans died from opioids—either prescription drugs or heroin or, in many cases, more powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Hidden behind the terrible epidemic of opioid overdose deaths looms the fact that many of these deaths are far from accidental. They are suicides. Guest blog by Dr. Maria Oquendo Read More.
April 2017 Every day, 91* Americans fatally overdose on an opioid drug. It may be a prescription analgesic or heroin but increasingly it is likely to be heroin’s much more potent synthetic cousin fentanyl. In the space of only two years, fentanyl has tragically escalated the opioid crisis. *Update: Overdose rates seen in 2018 are more than 115 a day. Read More.
February 2017 The new report is based on reviews of research on both the cannabis plant itself and its constituents, but its conclusions are substantially similar to the 1999 report: While cannabis use, particularly smoked cannabis, poses some long-term health and safety risks, there is evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can treat certain medical conditions, which include nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, spasticity from multiple sclerosis, and pain. Read More.
February 2017 Tackling the opioid crisis and overdose epidemic in our nation is a task that involves partnerships among stakeholders at all levels: federal, state, and local governments and other organizations and health care systems in the community. Read More.
January 2017 The need for better substance use disorder treatments, better diagnostic methods, and better prevention strategies has never been greater. The beginning of a new year gives us an opportunity to take stock of all we have recently accomplished toward meeting these scientific goals, as well as to set our sights on the challenges facing us ahead. Read More.
December 2016 After the election on November 8, marijuana is now or will soon be legal for adult recreational use in eight states plus the District of Columbia. Careful thought should be given to creating regulatory frameworks that prioritize public health. Science needs to be the guide. Read More.
December 2016 One of the best available strategies for reducing the spread of HIV among drug users is syringe-exchange programs (also called syringe service programs); their effectiveness has been proven through abundant research. Read More.
November 2016 Today marks, I hope, another turning point in our country’s health, as Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. It is the first such report released by the Surgeon General on the health consequences alcohol and drug misuse Read More.