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5x Increase in Opioid Overdoses for Indigenous Americans, Leading Cause of Pregnancy-Associated Deaths is Overdose in La., and NY Safe Consumption Site Gains Traction
Here is a recap of some of the top industry-related news stories of the week:
Indigenous Americans see five-fold increase in fatal opioid overdoses over two decades, study says
Fatal overdoses among Indigenous Americans are spiking, as the U.S. remains mired in a worsening opioid crisis.
A new study found opioid overdose deaths among American Indian and Alaska Native communities increased five-fold from 1999 to 2019, while the number of drug overdoses overall in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999.
The study’s authors looked at overdose deaths attributed to opioids alone, opioids in combination with other drugs and alcohol, and deaths linked to specific types of opioids among American Indians and Alaska Natives ages 12 and older.
The analysis found mortality rates involving only opioids increased from 2.8 to 15.8 per 100,000 American Indian and Alaskan Native women, and from 4.6 to 25.6 per 100,000 among Indigenous American men over the past 20 years.
“While the type of opioid driving these trends has changed over the years, many underlying social factors that drive these patterns have not,” researchers said.
Drug overdoses are a leading cause of pregnancy-associated deaths. What should Louisiana do?
The debate over a bill that would have allowed doctors to test mothers for illegal drugs during childbirth has brought much-needed attention to a problem that is quietly a leading cause of pregnancy-associated deaths, lawmakers and advocates say.
The Louisiana Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review reported accidental overdose was the leading cause of pregnancy-associated deaths in 2018. In 2020, there were 330 hospital admissions for Louisiana infants born with Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome, according to the most recent data from the Department of Health.
The bill's proponents say Senate Bill 60 would allow physicians to drug test mothers so they could more effectively provide care for the mom and the baby. Some opponents argued that could intimidate women from getting critical medical care.
During testimony over the bill, both proponents and opponents said there are not nearly enough resources for pregnant women battling addiction.
To help women in these circumstances, experts say reaching them during pregnancy is ideal for both the mom and baby's health.
New York experiment with government-approved drug use could become a national model
The Department of Justice is expected to drop its opposition to a Trump-era case challenging an overdose prevention center, also known as a safe consumption site, in Philadelphia. The move would clear the way for centers to open across the country and create a new debate about how best to fight addiction.
In New York, where the NYPD has agreed to not enforce drug use laws at two centers, advocates for drug users and some in recovery insist the model works, even if it isn’t a cure-all.
But what is to advocates a powerful new tool to combat the opioid crisis, is to others a form of legalized narcotic use. Detractors have compared these centers to heroin shooting galleries that bring crime and quality-of-life concerns. Those behind the centers, critics say, have effectively legalized hard drugs.
Under the law, overdose prevention centers like the one in East Harlem are illegal, though local law enforcement in New York City has agreed not to enforce the statue.
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