The Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association (LAPPA), a recipient of ONDCP’s Model Acts grant, has just released a new fact sheet on fentanyl test strips.

LAPPA’s new fact sheet outlines how states can make this important harm reduction tool more accessible to their citizens. As ONDCP stated in their release this afternoon “bending the curve on the overdose epidemic requires us to meet people where they are and provide life-saving interventions, including fentanyl test strips. Read the full fact sheet here.

LAPPA concludes that “are a useful tool in the fight against overdoses and can lead to changes in an individual’s drug use as well as provide an opportunity to engage individuals in recovery, extend life-saving interventions, and offer social service supports.”

WARWICK — Anthony Perito, 39, says he was in elementary school when he started using drugs. “I was a big fan of Fred Flintstones chewables,” the multivitamin supplement for children, he said …

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Substance use and overdoses are an epidemic in this country, and Rhode Island is not immune. But efforts to combat substance use are often highly misunderstood. This week’s episode sheds light on some of those efforts, commonly referred to as harm reduction and overdose prevention strategies.  

Our guest expert is Dr. Brandon Marshall, a professor of epidemiology from Brown University’s School of Public Health who’s research covers substance use, infectious diseases, and the social determinants of health of urban populations.  Dr. Marshall leads the development team at the Brown University School of Public Health for Prevent Overdose RI, the statewide overdose data dashboard.

With our co-hosts Dr. Jim McDonald and Dr. Philip Chan, Dr. Marshall  directly addresses some of the common misconceptions that people have about prevention efforts like safe injection sites, needle exchange programs, and the availability of naloxone, which is a medication that can reverse the effects of a drug overdose. 

Listen to this week’s episode to learn what Rhode Island is doing to address substance use, and find out how local efforts compare to what’s going on around the globe.  

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by Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance


Over the past year, we have witnessed visceral examples of how the systems that purport to protect and support us too often cause harm, especially to communities of color. Yet not enough attention has been given to the central role played by the war on drugs in creating this harm, and to how ending it is integral to reimagining public safety within our communities.”

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Dating violence is a serious issue on many college campuses throughout the country.

Unfortunately, substance misuse can make a troubled relationship even more volatile.

A study that surveyed 72 female college students, titled “Daily and situational reports of substance use and dating violence among college students: A 10-week prospective study,” took a closer look at this issue. In addition to physical violence, the study included “psychological aggression and sexual coercion.”

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NIH-supported pilot study found team-based approach may improve buprenorphine care.

A collaborative approach to treating opioid use disorder that relies heavily on community pharmacists is feasible and may increase adherence and participant satisfaction, according to a pilot study published  in Addiction.

Most people with opioid use disorder who would benefit from medication do not receive it. Buprenorphine is a safe and effective medication that has been used in opioid addiction treatment for nearly two decades, but providers must complete training and receive a special waiver in order to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder. In the United States, fewer than 10% of primary care providers are authorized to prescribe buprenorphine, and more than 20 million people in the United States live in a county without a buprenorphine-waivered physician. This lack of access is a significant barrier to treatment, especially to people in underserved communities.

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The Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research Substance Use Research Core (CFAR SURC) is the only CFAR Core in the nation that focuses specifically on the intersection of substance use and HIV. The SURC is composed of 16 faculty members, who are leaders in the field of substance use and HIV research, and is led by co-Directors Christopher Kahler, PhD (Brown University) and Karsten Lunze, MD, MPH, DrPH (Boston University). 

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Sara Becker, PhD, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences and of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, has won the 2020 G. Alan Marlatt Mid-Career Research Award from the Addictive Behaviors group of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Dr. Becker was a COBRE Research Project Leader studying contingency management as a way to improve patient abstinence from opioids when combined with FDA-approved pharmacotherapy. Dr. Becker received independent funding in 2018.

By Mary A. Burke and Riley Sullivan

“Since the early 2000s Rhode Island has been among the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. In response, the state has made it a priority to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD), which refers to the use of the FDA-approved medications methadone, buprenorphine, and/or naltrexone in conjunction with behavioral therapy. MAT is strongly supported by scientific evidence and endorsed by US public health officials and yet fails to reach many OUD patients. Using administrative data covering medical treatments and selected health outcomes for more than three-quarters of the Rhode Islanders covered by health insurance from mid-2011 through mid-2019, this report considers MAT’s efficacy in preventing opioid overdoses in Rhode Island and sheds light on the barriers to receiving MAT.”

New England Public Policy Center Research Reports (2020 | 20-3) 

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The government eased access to drug addiction treatment during the pandemic. Now that could go away.

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced much of the US to lock down in the spring of 2020, officials and experts worried the necessary social distancing measures would make another public health crisis — the opioid epidemic — worse. Addiction treatment is traditionally done in person, and restrictions on gatherings and closed businesses would make it much less accessible.

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