Drug Overdose Prevention Information

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November 06, 2018

Here are your weekly opioid epidemic updates from the Indiana State Department of Health:

Preliminary numbers show a decrease in national overdose deaths

CDC data

Preliminary data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that between November 2017 and March 2018, drug overdose deaths have dropped for the first time in years. The decline was caused by a drop in the number of overdose deaths from both heroin and “natural and semi-synthetic opioids,” a category that includes most prescription opioids. Indiana’s numbers are also predicted to drop. However, public health experts warn against drawing firm conclusions based on six months of data as the ongoing addiction crisis is not limited to opioids, but also cocaine and stimulants — a group that includes methamphetamine — that are now killing more than 10,000 people a year.

Fentanyl test strips prove useful in preventing overdoses

A new study published by researchers from Brown University found that many young adults who were intravenous drug users and received fentanyl test strips reduced their overdose risk by using less of the drug, proceeding slower or using with someone else present. The fentanyl test strips are akin to over-the-counter pregnancy tests, where the strip is dipped into water containing a bit of drug residue, and after a minute, either one or two red lines appear — one line means the liquid contains fentanyl, and two lines means the test did not detect the drug. The study concludes that fentanyl test strips are an effective harm-reduction tool to prevent overdose.

Using emergency declarations to address the opioid epidemic

NGA white paper

The National Governors Association (NGA) recently released a white paper on the lessons learned from states that used an emergency declaration to address the opioid epidemic. Emergency declarations and their accompanying powers give states flexibility to respond to exigent circumstances, including reallocating state funds, mandating data sharing, and strengthening collaboration among public health and law enforcement agencies. The paper includes conclusions such as the importance of having a debate on when the emergency should conclude before a declaration is made, as well as the importance of defining success as statutory emergency periods are not always long enough to see immediate results.

President signs landmark opioid legislation

President Donald Trump signed a landmark bill intended to tackle the nation's opioid epidemic. The bill includes plans to expand recovery centers, curb illicit drug shipments, lift buprenorphine prescribing restrictions, allow the National Institutes of Health to more quickly pursue research projects related to non-addictive drugs for pain, and make changes to several Medicare and Medicaid regulations, such as expanding access to treatment.

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Webcast: Reducing Risk: Adolescent-focused Motivational Interviewing

November 8, 3:00pm
Using motivational interviewing (MI) strategies with youth has been shown to decrease substance use, reduce stress and risky sexual behaviors, improve eating habits, and more. This webinar will offer an introduction to MI, and is specifically tailored to professionals and providers who are dedicated to identifying and reducing risk behaviors among their youth populations. Register HERE.

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Webcast: Psychological Considerations in Treating Chronic Pain

November 15, 12:00pm
A critical component in managing the care of patients with chronic pain is a psychological evaluation. At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to identify factors increasing the complexity of managing patients with chronic pain, comprehend components of a psychological assessment, and outline areas for future study related to the management of chronic pain. Register HERE.

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ISDH webcast: Overdose fatality review

ISDH Nov webcast

November 20, 10:00am
ISDH is hosting a live webcast on overdose fatality review (OFR) teams, which bring together multiagency, interdisciplinary stakeholders to assess whether an overdose death could have been prevented. Indiana is piloting such teams in several counties, and this webcast brings you their latest updates. Register HERE.

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Register for the MIPA conference!


November 29-30, 2018
This year’s conference will focus on a variety of injury and violence prevention topics, including prescription drug overdose, older adult falls, emerging hazards in child injury, and other primary injury prevention topics. Additionally, it will include presentations focusing on pediatric and adult injury prevention. Registration is now open.
Location: Indianapolis, IN

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