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'Breakthrough' COVID More Likely for Those with SUD, CDC Education Campaigns Aim to Prevent Overdose, and Car Crash Deaths Involving Cannabis Increasing
Here is a recap of some of the top industry-related news stories of the week:
'Breakthrough' COVID More Likely in People With Problem Drug, Alcohol Use
A new study shows that drug and alcohol abuse increase the risk of breakthrough COVID-19 infection and severe illness and death among fully vaccinated people.
The study reviewed the health records of 580,000 fully vaccinated people who had not previously contracted COVID-19. Of those with drug and alcohol use issues, 7% had breakthrough infections, compared with 3.6% of those without substance use issues.
Among people with substance issues who had a breakthrough infection, 22.5% were hospitalized, and 1.7% died. The rates were 1.6% and 0.5%, respectively, among people with drug and alcohol problems but no breakthrough infection.
The researchers also found that the risk of severe outcomes after a breakthrough infection was higher in patients with SUDs than in others.
"These results emphasize that, while the vaccine is essential and effective, some of these same risk factors still apply to breakthrough infections," said study co-author Rong Xu, director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
CDC launches complementary education campaigns to save more lives from drug overdose
The CDC recently launched four complementary education campaigns intended for those aged 18-34 years. The campaigns provide information about the prevalence and dangers of fentanyl, the risks and consequences of mixing drugs, the life-saving power of naloxone, and the importance of reducing stigma around drug use to support treatment and recovery.
To develop the campaigns, CDC spoke with both young adults who reported using drugs and peer recovery professionals. They use new resources on all four topics to help people make informed decisions, get the help they need, and ultimately reduce the rise in drug overdoses and overdose deaths.
Illegal drugs are more potent and potentially lethal than ever before, with the increased prevalence of being mixed or laced with illicitly made fentanyl.
Over the past 20 years, there have been nearly 900,000 overdose-related deaths in America. The rate of drug overdose deaths has increased during COVID-19 pandemic, with the main driver being fentanyl.
Car crash deaths involving cannabis increasing and more likely to involve alcohol
Between 2000-2018, the percentage of car crash deaths involving cannabis has doubled, and the percentage of deaths involving both cannabis and alcohol has more than doubled. People who died in crashes involving cannabis were 50% more likely to also have alcohol in their system.
While it was originally thought that new marijuana policies could lead to a reduction in alcohol use, cannabis and alcohol are increasingly being used together in impaired driving cases, and cannabis increases the likelihood of alcohol use in crash deaths.
The percent of crash deaths involving cannabis more than doubled from 9.0% in 2000 to 21.5% in 2018, and the percent of deaths involving cannabis and alcohol also more than doubled from 4.8% to 10.3%.
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