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September 01, 2023

Washington Roundup

  • Congress remained on its August State/District workbreak this week. The Senate reconvenes on September 5, and the House reconvenes the following Tuesday, September 12. 
  • The Hill adds
    • “Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Sunday he does not want short-term stopgap funding to butt up to the holidays as lawmakers struggle to come to an agreement over appropriations levels in the midst of a push by conservatives cut federal spending.” 
  • HHS Secretary Xavier Berrara reflected on the Administration’s efforts to end the opioid public health emergency on August 31’s International Overdose Awareness Day. 
  • In related news, the New York Times informs us 
    • “Narcan, the first opioid overdose reversal medication approved for over-the-counter purchase, is being shipped to drugstore and grocery chains nationwide, its manufacturer said Wednesday. Big-box outlets like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid said they expected Narcan to be available online and on many store shelves early next week.
    • “Public health experts have long called for greater accessibility to the drug, which they describe as a critical weapon against rising overdose rates. There were more than 100,000 opioid overdose fatalities in each of the last two years in the United States.
    • “Narcan is already a staple for emergency personnel and street outreach teams. Now scientists and health officials are hoping Narcan will eventually become commonplace in public libraries, subways, dorms, corner delis and street vending machines.
    • “They also predict it may become a fixture in medicine cabinets, as more people realize that illicit party drugs like cocaine and counterfeit Xanax pills may be tainted with deadly fentanyl, an opioid.”
  • CNN tells us, 
    • “A group of novel synthetic opioids emerging in illicit drugs in the United States may be more powerful than fentanyl, 1,000 times more potent than morphine, and may even require more doses of the medication naloxone to reverse an overdose, a new study suggests.
    • Nitazenes are a synthetic opioid, like fentanyl, although the two drugs are not structurally related. In the small study published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open most of the patients who overdosed on nitazenes received two or more doses of the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, whereas most patients who overdosed on fentanyl received only a single dose of naloxone.
    • “Clinicians should be aware of these opioids in the drug supply so they are adequately prepared to care for these patients and anticipate needing to use multiple doses of naloxone,” the researchers, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Lehigh Valley Health Network based in Pennsylvania, and other US institutions, wrote in the study. “In addition, to date there has been a lack of bystander education on repeat naloxone dosing.”
  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force proposed an inconclusive recommendation for requiring primary care providers “to assess the balance of benefits and harms of primary care interventions to prevent child maltreatment.” The relevant population is “Children and adolescents younger than age 18 years without signs and symptoms of maltreatment.” Public comment is open through September 25, 2023.


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