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July 5, 2023



Naloxone Saves Lives But Fails to Stop Overdosing

Naloxone saves lives.  The efficacy of Naloxone in reversing an overdose is remarkable and shown repeatedly in study after study.  Unfortunately, however, Naloxone and overdose reversals are not good predictors of medium-term survival.

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The article:  One-Year Mortality and Associated Factors in Patients Receiving Out-of-Hospital Naloxone for Presumed Opioid Overdose in Annals of Emergency Medicine
Volume 75, Issue 5, May 2020,
studied over 3,000 opioid overdose victims who received out-of-hospital naloxone, and tracked their mortality over a year.

This retrospective cohort study of 3,085 patients in North Carolina showed that mortality at one year was 12% in those who responded to treatment. Older age and being black were associated with 1-year mortality.  This rate, in comparison to the population at large, indicates that the Naloxone users were 13.2 times more likely to be dead at 1 year than age-matched controls in the general population.

This suggests the obvious - that people who received Naloxone are a high-risk population that needs focused intervention from public health officials, policymakers, and health care providers.  Naloxone use is both a short-term lifesaving medication, and a medium-term klaxon indicating that sustained and comprehensive intervention is required.

Naloxone use must be paired with additional addiction treatment services and support, otherwise there is a 12% chance the recipient will be dead in a year


Study Notes Association Between Alcohol Outlet Density and Violent Crime

In a paper, published in February in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers looked at the association between alcohol outlet density and violent crime in NYC between 2014 and 2018. They found that high alcohol outlet concentration was strongly associated with violent crime, and that the relationship was stronger in neighborhoods that had a legacy of redlining.R

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The paper illustrates how the impact of redlining continues to negatively influence health despite the passage of time,  Examining the legacies of racist structures, and their lasting effects, intended or unintended, must be a part of the path to healing communities like Harlem.


Can Medical Cannabis Address Pain More Safely and Equitably?

In CUNY's Podcast: Making Public Health Personal podcast, host Laura Meoli-Ferrigon and CUNY's School of Public Health (SPH) focus on an aspect of health and social justice that affects our daily lives.  CUNY SPH’s expert faculty, researchers, alumni and students look at how public health policy, advocacy and practices can benefit our ever-evolving community, and our world. 

In this podcast, Laura speaks to Danielle Greene, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, Executive Director of State and Local Public Health Initiatives at CUNY SPH and one of the authors of the groundbreaking study on medical cannabis and opioid prescriptions.

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The study, “Changes in Prescribed Opioid Dosages Among Patients Receiving Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain,” found an association between receiving medical cannabis for chronic pain for a longer duration and a reduction in prescription opioid dosages.

Dr. Greene brings over 30 years of public health leadership experience to the discussion and shares her insights on how medical cannabis can be used as another tool in response to the opioid epidemic. Listen and learn about the history of cannabis and opioids in the country, the evolution of pain management practices and the future of medical and recreational cannabis as more states legalize it. Join the conversation on how legalization can be done safely and equitably.


Fentanyl And Texas Teens

Notes from the national overdose crisis.  The New Yorker reports on fentanyl's impact on Texas teenagers.

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Overdoses among young people are up across the country; nearly forty per cent of the fentanyl overdoses recorded by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office in 2022 involved people younger than eighteen. That rise has been attributed in part to a mental-health crisis among teen-agers, which has itself variously been blamed on pandemic disruptions, smartphones, social media, and political division. At the same time, synthetic opioids have made teen-age drug experimentation much more dangerous. Many of the Hays County kids who overdosed thought they were taking Xanax or Percocet; instead, the pills turned out to be counterfeits laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is easier and cheaper to manufacture than natural opioids. It’s also much stronger, and can be unevenly distributed in counterfeit pills, making dosing more difficult. “My daughter told me that her and him were both taking Percs in Indiana,” Kerry Jeffrey, whose sixteen-year-old son has overdosed on fentanyl twice since he moved to Texas two years ago, told me. “But they were real Percocets. That’s what these kids think they’re taking, and it’s not. So is it worse down here? Yeah.”

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