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Awakn expands Ketamine study beyond gambling disorder to include additional behavioral addictions

1/5/22--Awakn Life Sciences Corp., a biotechnology company developing and delivering psychedelic medicines to better treat addiction, announced today that it has received ethical committee approval to expand its existing ketamine study beyond Gambling Disorder to include three other behavioral addictions including Binge Eating Disorder, Compulsive Sexual Behaviour and Internet Gaming Disorder. The study will explore and monitor whether the ketamine can increase neuroplasticity using EEG (Electroencephalogram). Read

Online popularity of JUUL and puff bars in the USA: 2019-2020

12/21/21-- A piece-wise regression and autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) algorithms was performed to compare the relative search volume (RSV) of JUUL and Puff Bar (a disposable vaping product) using the 1-year Google Trends data from 24 February 2019 to 20 February 2020, separated by three events that may have spurred changes in RSV for each product. Results indicate that the popularity of Puff Bar on Google Search may replace cartridge-based vaping products with disposable e-cigarettes in the circumvention of the partial flavor ban. Read

Prevalence and childhood precursors of opioid use in the early decades of life

12/20/21--This cohort study assessed opioid use among 1252 non-Hispanic White individuals and American Indian individuals in rural counties in the central Appalachia region of North Carolina from January 1993 to December 2015. By age 30 years, approximately one-quarter of participants had used opioids, and the findings revealed that childhood tobacco use and depression were associated with later non-heroin opioid use in general, weekly non-heroin opioid use, and heroin use. Read

U.S. judge tosses $4.5 bln deal shielding Sacklers from opioid lawsuits

12/17/21--U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon overturned a roughly $4.5 billion settlement that legally shielded members of the Sackler family who stand accused of helping fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic, a decision that threatened to upend the bankruptcy reorganization of their company, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP. Purdue said it would appeal the decision. Read

Washington seek over $38 billion from opioid distribution

11/15/21--Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Monday took the state's case against the nation's three biggest drug distributors to trial, saying they must be held accountable for their role in the nation's opioid epidemic. Ferguson is seeking a "transformative" payout of tens of billions of dollars from the companies to help undo the epidemic's damage in Washington state, which includes more than 8,000 deaths from 2006 to 2017 and untold devastation to families. Read

Stop Overdose

11/2/21--To address the increasing number of overdose deaths related to both prescription opioids and illicit drugs, the Centers for Disease Control created a website to educate people who use drugs about the dangers of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, the risks and consequences of mixing drugs, the lifesaving power of naloxone, and the importance of reducing stigma around recovery and treatment options. Together, we can stop drug overdoses and save lives. Read

Opioid makers win major victory in California trial

11/2/21--Four manufacturers of prescription opioids won the pharmaceutical industry’s first major legal victory in the opioid crisis, turning aside claims by local California governments that they contributed substantially to the epidemic. Read

State plans for government-sanctioned ‘Injection Sites,’ would evaluate quality of hard drugs and allow users to shoot up

10/24/21--Rhode Island is nearing the start of a pilot plan to give drug users a legal place to use illegal drugs. The two-year pilot is a first for any state, the Wall Street Journal reported. Rhode Island hopes to finish crating the rules for the sites in January and determine where the sites will be located in March. Some have questioned the project, but legislators who supported the project say the time is right. Read

Rhode Island set to be the first state to pilot safe-injection sites for drug users

10/24/21--Rhode Island plans to create supervised spaces for users to inject illegal drugs, in a big test of the idea that reducing harm to drug users is more effective than criminalization. The two-year pilot, a first for a state, would establish sites where users could also have drugs tested for potentially fatal doses of fentanyl, the potent synthetic opioid that drove overdose deaths to a nationwide record in 2020. Read

In a bid to stop overdose deaths, California could allow drug use at supervised sites

10/23/21--According to a Los Angeles Times article, deaths from drug overdoses have surged during the pandemic, claiming more than 90,000 lives last year across the country, according to federal data. As the numbers have soared, many experts, advocates and lawmakers have promoted an idea giving people a safe place to inject drugs under supervision. State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and other lawmakers are pushing to allow San Francisco, Oakland and the city and county of Los Angeles to approve entities to run such programs. Read

Study could pave way for creating safer opioids

10/14/21--In a study published in Nature Oct. 13, researchers looked at how opioids may have become so widely abused, and researchers may have uncovered answers on how to create a safer opioid: Design it to bypass the part of brain that feels pleasure, but retain the analgesic properties, which make opioids one of the most effective pain relievers. Read  

Florida would study psychedelics’ medical benefits under top senate Democratic new bill

9/27/21--Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book (D) filed a bill on Friday that would require the state of Florida to research the medical benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA. If enacted, the state Department of Health would be directed to “conduct a study evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of alternative therapies” such as those substances, as well as ketamine, “in treating mental health and other medical conditions,” including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, chronic pain and migraines. Read

Fireside Project Partners with UCSF to study effectiveness of psychedelic peer support line

9/8/21--The non-profit Fireside Project announced its collaboration with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) on a study of the effectiveness of its Psychedelic Peer Support Line for assisting people with their challenging psychedelic experiences. This will be the first study to analyze the potential public health impact of a psychedelic peer support line. Read

Opioid prescribing to US children and young in 2019

9/9/21--This study identified opioid prescriptions dispensed to children and young adults in 2019 in the IQVIA Longitudinal Prescription Database. Results indicate that almost half of pediatric opioid prescriptions are high risk, and to reduce high-risk prescribing, initiatives targeting high-volume prescribers may be warranted. However, broad-based initiatives are also needed to address the large share of high-risk prescribing attributable to other prescribers. Read

Two models of legalization of psychedelic substances

8/2/21--Two of the most ambitious measures, in Oregon and California, take different paths to legalization. This Viewpoint reviews these initiatives and the concerns they raise by looking to the cautionary precedents involving the legalization and commercialization of other controlled substances. Read

Tryp Therapeutics announce plans for Phase 2a clinical trial for fibromyalgia with the University of Michigan

7/21/21--Tryp Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company focused on developing psilocybin-based compounds for diseases with unmet medical needs through accelerated regulatory pathways, announced today its plans to conduct a Phase 2a clinical trial with the Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. The open-label Phase 2a clinical trial will evaluate the efficacy of TRYP-8802, an oral formulation of synthetic psilocybin, in tandem with psychotherapy for treating fibromyalgia. The study is expected to be the world's first Phase 2a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of psilocybin and psychotherapy to treat fibromyalgia. Read

RI Gov. McKee legislation allowing safe-injection sites into law

7/7/21--Gov. Daniel McKee on Wednesday signed into law a proposal to help combat the opioid overdose crisis by creating safe injection sites for people to use illegal drugs under the oversight. The legislation, which makes Rhode Island the first to enact a statewide measure, establishes a two-year pilot program to prevent drug overdoses through the establishment of so-called “harm reduction centers,” or safe injection sites. Read

Pfizer pauses Chantix distribution after finding carcinogen

6/24/21--Pfizer Inc. said it’s pausing worldwide distribution of its smoking-cessation drug Chantix after finding elevated levels of nitrosamines, a likely carcinogen, in the pills. Read

Johnson & Johnson to end sale of opioids, settles New York case for $230 million

6/26/21--Johnson & Johnson will pay $230 million to resolve an opioids lawsuit, days before the company was slated to go to trial, in a settlement reached with New York Attorney General Letitia James. In the agreement, the company will end the sale of all opioid products nationwide. Read

Strategies of effectively allocating opioid settlement funds

6/16/21--States and communities have one chance to get the allocation of settlement funds right and to avoid some of the missteps that substantially diminished the potential public health impact of tobacco settlements. Therefore, OPTIC researchers have compiled materials that include guiding principles for allocating opioid settlement funds, recommendations for addressing the root causes of overdose death, and profiles of studies assessing the effectiveness of specific programs and policies as a resource to focus on different aspects of the crisis, and use different methods to derive their assessments. Read

More than 80% of Americans report one or more symptoms of depression, and many have turned to substances to cope with negative emotions during COVID-19 pandemic

5/18/21--Field Trip Health Ltd. (“Field Trip”) today announced the results of a survey commissioned by Field Trip and conducted by YouGov Plc to look into the state of mental and emotional health in the US. After nearly 15 months of rolling global lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is to no one's surprise that the survey results show a nation in the depths of a mental health crisis. Read

It’s high time to decriminalize psychedelics in Seattle

5/28/21--At the beginning of this century Washingtonian voters made pot possession the lowest priority for law enforcement, and then a decade later Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes stopped charging people caught with marijuana. Those were major progressive wins at the time, but since the. its fallen a little behind when it comes to decriminalizing other plants with certain psychoactive benefits. Read

The psychedelic revolution is coming. Psychiatry may never be the same.

5/9/21--Psychedelic drugs are on the cusp of entering mainstream psychiatry, with profound implications for a field that in recent decades has seen few pharmacological advancements for the treatment of mental disorders and addiction. The need for new therapeutics has gained greater urgency amid a national epidemic of opioid abuse and suicides. Read

‘The crisis was manufactured’: inside a damning film on the origins of the opioid epidemic

5/10/21--Alex Gibney’s two-part docuseries The Crime of the Century reframes the opioid crisis as a crime of fraudulent marketing and callous corporate greed. Read

24 states mount legal fight to block sackler bid for opioid immunity

5/3/21--Members of the Sackler family that owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, have portrayed their bid for immunity from future opioid lawsuits as somewhat of a take-it-or-leave-it fix to a legal morass. They have offered to forfeit control of their bankrupt drug company and pay $4.2 billion from their private fortunes. A growing group of public officials and activists is mounting a last-ditch effort to derail the plan, describing it in legal briefs as an unethical, and possibly unlawful, use of the bankruptcy court's power. Read

Unlocking federal funding for fentanyl test strips will save lives

5/4/21--According to a STAT article by Regina LaBelle, Tom Coderre, and Rochelle Walensky, fentanyl test strips not only have the potential to reduce overdoses, but the process of obtaining them can bring individuals with substance use disorders in contact with a community organization or other harm reduction supports for the first time and can lead to reduced risk for drug-related harms and improved health outcomes. Read

Effects of psilocybin microdosing on awe and aesthetic experiences : a preregistered field and lab-based study

4/30/21--Following subjective reports that microdosing enhances the experience of nature and art, this study is designed to examine the effects of psilocybin microdosing on feelings of awe and art perception. In this preregistered combined field- and lab-based study, participants took part in a microdosing workshop after which they volunteered to self-administer a psilocybin microdose or a placebo for three consecutive weeks, while the condition was kept blind to the participants and researchers. Read

The future of psychedelic medicine investment

5/6/21--A free webinar to discuss psychedelic medicine investment presented by Arcview. Read

Understanding risk factors for persistent opioid use among youths

4/22/21--Growing evidence indicates that youths exposed to opioids for legitimate medical purposes have an increased risk of opioid use disorders in the future. According to a study, adolescents and young adults are especially susceptible to negative consequences of opioid misuse because of their ongoing biological, social, and psychological development. Read

Trajectories of opioid use following first opioid prescription in opioid-naive youths and young adults

4/22/21--Results of a study examining distinct patterns of opioid prescribing following the first prescription using group-based trajectory modeling and examine the patient-, clinician-, and prescription-level factors that may be associated with trajectory membership during the first year indicate 2 trajectories associated with elevated risk for persistent opioid receipt within 12 months following first opioid prescription. The high-risk trajectory was characterized by older age at time of first prescription, and longer and more potent first prescriptions. Read

Trial of Psilocybin versus Escitalopram for depression

4/15/21-- This trial did not show a significant difference in antidepressant effects between psilocybin and escitalopram in a selected group of patients. Secondary outcomes generally favored psilocybin over escitalopram, but the analyses of these outcomes lacked correction for multiple comparisons. Larger and longer trials are required to compare psilocybin with established antidepressants. Read

DEA: ‘Take Back Day’ collects over 9,000,000 pounds of drugs

4/13/21--Annually, the DEA holds their national "Take Back" drug campaign for the public to get rid of any unused or expired prescriptions by taking them to locations designated by the DEA. In 2020 alone, Americans returned more than 900,000 pounds during Take Back Day - almost 500 tons of unused prescription drugs across the country. This is the safest way to dispose of prescription meds you no longer need. Read

Provisional drug overdose death counts

4/13/21--This data visualization presents provisional counts for drug overdose deaths based on a current flow of mortality data in the National Vital Statistics System. Counts for the most recent final annual data are provided for comparison. Provisional data presented in this visualization will be updated on a monthly basis as additional records are received. Read

Australia’s “injecting rooms enriching drug trade”: UN complaint

4/12/21--A formal complaint was sent by Major Brian Watters, President of Drug Free Australia, to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) citing overwhelming evidence that Australia’s two injecting rooms – one each in Sydney and Melbourne – are both tacitly aiding and abetting the local drug trade, significantly enriching drug dealers. Read

Infant mortality associated with prenatal opioid exposure

4/12/21-- In this cohort study of more than 1 million maternal-infant dyads, the odds of mortality in infants with a history of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome was not significantly different from the reference population in adjusted analyses. In contrast, the odds of mortality in opioid-exposed infants not diagnosed with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome was 72% greater than the reference population. Read

UCSF, Johns Hopkins release documents shining light on opioid crisis

3/24/21--UCSF and John Hopkins University released a trove of documents Wednesday culled from legal rulings, settlements and ongoing lawsuits related to the nation’s opioid crisis, which to date has claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 Americans since 1999. Read

Medicinal psychedelics for mental health and addiction: Advancing research of an emerging paradigm

3/21/21--The medical use of psychedelic substances is attracting renewed interest due to a pressing need for research and development of novel therapies for psychiatric disorders, as well as promising results of contemporary studies. The sum of this research points towards medicinal psychedelics as a potential new class of psychiatric treatments when used within a medically supervised framework with integrated psychotherapeutic support. Read

Overdose deaths far outpace COVID-19 deaths in San Francisco

3/25/21--Since COVID-19 first started upending day-to-day life for Americans in March 2020, public health officials have been sounding the alarm about a potential surge in drug overdoses. Overdose deaths rose during the second half of 2019, and experts feared the pandemic would produce conditions that would further increase overdoses and deaths: economic shock, social isolation and increased mental health distress, and disrupted access to addiction support and medications that require face-to-face visits. Read

Self binding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing

3/2/21--This study used a ‘self-blinding’ citizen science initiative, where participants were given online instructions on how to incorporate placebo control into their microdosing routine without clinical supervision. The study was completed by 191 participants, making it the largest placebo-controlled trial on psychedelics to-date. Read

The societal burden of the opioid crisis estimated at $1 trillion in 2017

2/28/21--This study found that the overall estimated cost of opioid use disorder and fatal opioid overdoses was $1.2 trillion in 2017, with 85% of this burden from the value of the reduced quality of life from opioid use disorder and life lost to opioid overdose, while lost productivity was estimated at $100 billion, healthcare costs were estimated at $34.8 billion, and criminal justice costs estimated at $14.8 billion. Read

America’s silent killer: the opioid addiction crisis (ex-congressman Patrick Kennedy)

2/27/21--On this episode of Going Underground, Patrick Kennedy, a former Congressman who is a nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, discusses the US opioid & drug-addiction crisis, why the public health infrastructure built after the pandemic must also be able to deal with mental health and addiction problems, how the administration of President Joe Biden will approach the crisis, and much more. Read

NYU Langone Health Established Center for Psychedelic Medicine

2/24/21--Philanthropic support of more than $10 million is helping NYU Langone Health advance its already world-renowned reputation in the study of psychedelic medicine. This is being achieved through the establishment of a one-of-a-kind center that will expand research and physician training in this exciting and resurging field. Read

20-year-old Kansas lawmaker files drug decriminalization bill

2/12/21--Rep. Aaron Coleman (D), a 20-year-old Kansas lawmaker, introduced a bill on Tuesday to broadly decriminalize drug possession in the state. He stated that told he was inspired by a voter-approved initiative in Oregon that ends the threat of jail time for simple drug possession. This bill’s introduction comes as Kansas lawmakers and the governor step up their push to legalize medical cannabis in the state. Read

Neural roots/origins of alcoholism identified by British and Chinese researchers

2/9/21--The physical origin of alcohol addiction has been located in a network of the human brain that regulates our response to danger, according to a team of British and Chinese researchers, co-led by the University of Warwick, the University of Cambridge, and Fudan University in Shanghai. Read

Trends and geographic patterns in drug and synthetic opioid overdose – United States, 2013 – 2019

2/12/21--From 2013 to 2019, the age-adjusted rate of deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone increased 1,040%, and for psychostimulants increased 317%. During 2018–2019, the largest relative increase in synthetic opioid-involved death rates occurred in the West (67.9%), and the largest relative increase in psychostimulant-involved death rates occurred in the Northeast (43.8%). Read

Continued increases in overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids

2/11/21--According to an article published in JAMA, drug overdose death rates have increased in all age groups, among both sexes, across most races and ethnicities, within all urbanization levels, and in the majority of US states. This increase in overdose deaths are occurring against a backdrop of overall stable or declining rates of illicit drug use other than cannabis, underscoring that the illicit drug supply is a key driver of the current overdose crisis. Read

Methamphetamine overdose deaths in the US by sex and race and ethnicity

1/20/21--According to this study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, US age-adjusted rates of drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine increased nearly 5-fold during 2012-2018. Although addiction outcomes can be improved with sex-specific and culturally tailored prevention and treatment interventions, the extent to which fatalities differ as functions of sex and race and ethnicity has not been analyzed, to our knowledge. Read

Field Trip Health Ltd. announces opening of Field Trip Health Center in Atlanta, GA, as it continues expansion in the US

1/26/21--Field Trip Health Ltd., a global leader in the development and delivery of psychedelic therapies, announced today the opening of their fifth location in the United States in the city of Atlanta, GA, one of many locations that Field Trip is planning to open in 2021. Located in the Glenwood Park neighborhood, the Atlanta location is the first Field Trip Health center to open this year, and will continue to execute on its strategy to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of psychedelic-enhanced therapies to promote mental and emotional health and well-being across the country. Read

McLaren Health and feds reach record $7.75M settlement of drug allegations

1/19/21--McLaren Health Care Corp. agreed Tuesday to pay a record $7.75 million penalty to settle a federal investigation into officials distributing opioids and other drugs without prescriptions, the largest amount in U.S. history involving allegations of drug diversion. The penalty settles a years-long investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration into whether officials at the Grand Blanc-based health system violated federal drug laws by illegally distributing powerful pain medication central to the nation's opioid crisis. Read

Tianeptine use: Another dangerous substance emerges during opioid crisis

12/1/20--Several countries that initially approved tianeptine have since either removed it from sale or restricted its use due to concerns about risks for abuse. Although it is not an FDA-approved product, tianeptine is sold in the U.S. via online merchants and in convenience stores. In 2018, based on findings from the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN), the agency sent warning letters to two companies illegally marketing tianeptine-containing products labeled as dietary supplements claiming to treat opioid use disorder, pain and anxiety, among other unlawful and unproven claims. Read

Prevalence and childhood precursors of opioid use in the early decades of life

12/28/20--A study designed to examine how common opioid use is in the early decades of life, and which childhood risk factors are associated with opioid use in young adulthood indicates that childhood tobacco use and chronic depression may be associated with impaired reward system functioning, which may increase young adults’ vulnerability to opioid-associated euphoria. Preventing and treating early substance use and childhood mental illness may help prevent later opioid use. Read

Incidence and characteristics of nonfatal opioid overdose among youths aged 11 to 24 years by sex

12/17/20-- This cohort study found differences between female and male youths in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics and incidence of NFOD. Although female and male youths who experience overdose appear to have different risk factors, many of these risk factors may be amenable to early detection through screening and intervention. Read

Psychedelics in Psychiatry – Keeping the renaissance from going off the rails

12/2/20--This Viewpoint segment offers perspectives on how the psychedelic research renaissance can stay on the path that leads to the integration of these medications into the standard of care rather than recapitulating the ethical and sociopolitical problems that led to the previous period of research going off the rails. Read

Richmond emergency room experienced a surge in opioid overdoses during pandemic

9/21/20--Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have released data showing an alarming surge in opioid-related overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonfatal opioid overdose visits to the VCU Medical Center emergency department in Richmond increased from 102 between March and June 2019 to 227 between March and June 2020. That's an increase of 123%. Read

Association of opioid prescription initiation during adolescence and young adulthood with subsequent substance-related morbidity

8/10/20--Results of a study published in JAMA Pediatrics indicate that among the adolescents and young adults analyzed, initial opioid prescription receipt was associated with an approximately 30% to 40% relative increase in risk of subsequent substance-related morbidity in multiple designs that adjusted for confounding. These findings suggest that this increase may be smaller than previously estimated in some other studies. Read

Association of opioid prescription initiation during adolescence and young adulthood with subsequent substance-related morbidity

8/10/20--Among adolescents and young adults analyzed in this study, initial opioid prescription receipt was associated with an approximately 30% to 40% relative increase in risk of subsequent substance-related morbidity in multiple designs that adjusted for confounding, According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics. These findings suggest that this increase may be smaller than previously estimated in some other studies. Read

NCIS warns Navy after LSD investigations surge 70%

7/2/20--The Naval Criminal Investigative Service issued a warning about the drug activity, which they say is largely taking place on the dark web, a difficult-to-regulate portion of the internet accessible only via specific configurations. In a release, NCIS officials said users of illicit substances purchased on the dark web risk their own safety, and asked those with information about the LSD activity to come forward and report. Read

Federal Judge puts hold on Philly safe-injection site

6/25/20--A federal judge ruled it is in the public’s best interest that the nation’s first supervised drug-injection site in Philadelphia be barred from opening while federal prosecutors appeal the site’s legality. An appeals court will now have the chance to review if the facility is legal before the Philadelphia nonprofit Safehouse can move toward opening the site. Read

New study could lead to therapeutic interventions to treat cocaine addiction

4/22/20--A new study explains how cocaine modifies functions in the brain revealing a potential target for therapies aimed at treating cocaine addiction. The study indicates that D2R activation in cholinergic interneurons is indeed central to the control of striatal neuronal circuits and significantly affects the motor and cellular responses to cocaine. Read

Washington voters could see drug decriminalization and treatment initiative on November ballot

4/21/20--Activists in Washington State are working to place an initiative to decriminalize drug possession and expand access to treatment services on the November ballot. ACLU of Washington says they remain determined to qualify Initiative 1715, which would make possession of illegal substances for personal use a civil infraction that does not carry the threat of jail time. Read