When people could no longer grind Oxycontin and snort it or inject, some switched drugs, a new study from Rand says, and that is leading to the spread of disease and costly treatments taxing Medicaid. Other news on the opioid epidemic looks at safe injection sites and palliative use of marijuana, also.
Stat: Study: ‘Abuse-Deterrent’ OxyContin Switch Helped Drive A Hepatitis C Spike
When Purdue Pharma reformulated its signature pain drug OxyContin in 2010, its aim was to make the pill “abuse-deterrent.” But the change may have had an unanticipated and disastrous public health impact, according to a new study: accelerating a nationwide spike in hepatitis C infections. When the new version of OxyContin became far more difficult to crush or ingest nasally, many opioid users switched to injecting illicit heroin after 2010. That shift, researchers found, caused hepatitis C rates to spike three times faster in states with the highest non-medical OxyContin use. (Facher, 2/4)
CQ: Changes In Opioids May Have Driven Hepatitis C Infections
Those findings, in a paper published Monday in Health Affairs by researchers at the RAND Corp., imply that the opioid crisis has also been a factor in another issue that Congress, the administration and the states are struggling with: drug prices. Hepatitis C treatments cost around $20,000 to $30,000 per course of treatment, putting a huge burden on state Medicaid budgets. “Even if we could find a way now to stop all overdoses, we’re going to carry the burdens of these infectious diseases for a really long time, and they are very expensive,” said David Powell, a senior RAND economist who led the study. “That’s just kind of another cost of this crisis that hadn’t really been captured before.” (Siddons, 2/4)
San Francisco Chronicle: California Bill Allowing San Francisco Safe Injection Site Reintroduced
The bill, AB362, was authored by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, and co-authored by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. It’s the second time the duo have worked together to launch a safe injection pilot program in San Francisco. A similar bill they co-authored was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October, but Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he is receptive to the idea of a safe injection site. (Fracassa, 2/4)
The CT Mirror: Lawmakers Consider Bill To Permit Marijuana Use For Opioid Withdrawal
Members of the legislature’s Public Health Committee heard testimony during a public hearing Monday from those for and against Sen. President Pro Tem Martin Looney’s proposed bill to add opioid use disorder and withdrawal as conditions that qualify for the palliative use of marijuana. (Megan, 2/4)
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