Addiction & Mental Health News, July 22

The New York Times: When the Law Says Using Marijuana Is O.K., but the Boss Disagrees
By Dan Hyman
The relatively rapid acceptance of marijuana use in the United States has lawmakers and employers grappling with ways to adjust hiring rules.

The New York Times: 3,271 Pill Bottles, a Town of 2,831: Court Filings Say Corporations Fed Opioid Epidemic
By Jan Hoffman, Katie Thomas and Danny Hakim
Cities and counties are suing major drugstore chains and Walmart, contending they distributed billions of painkillers that devastated communities.

The New York Times: Drug Overdose Deaths Drop in U.S. for First Time Since 1990
By Abby Goodnough, Josh Katz and Margot Sanger-Katz
Total drug overdose deaths in America declined by around 5 percent last year, the first drop since 1990. The decline was due almost entirely to a dip in deaths from prescription opioid painkillers, the medicines that set off the epidemic of addiction that has lasted nearly two decades. Fatal overdoses involving other drugs, particularly fentanyl and methamphetamine, continued to rise.

The New York Times: How the Opioid Crisis Arrived at New York’s Commuter Hubs
By Annie Correal
In the throes of addiction, people congregate around Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The New York Times: States Are Making Progress on Opioids. Now the Money That’s Helping Them May Dry Up
By Abby Goodnough
Billions in federal grants for treatment and prevention programs are set to end next year. The Trump administration has not said whether it will seek to extend them.

Vox: Study: If a family member is prescribed opioids, you have a higher risk of overdose
By German Lopez
The study helps show that the drug overdose crisis was fueled by too many opioid painkiller prescriptions.

Associated Press: A peek into opioid users’ brains as they try to quit
One question researchers want to answer: Do addiction medications do more than ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms?

USA Today: ‘Fighting the wrong war’: Chronic pain patients push feds to change opioid policies
By Ken Alltucker and Jayne O’Donnell
Facing a backlash from chronic pain sufferers nationwide, federal health officials are rethinking policies that led to abrupt cutbacks to those who legitimately need these painkillers to function.

Reuters Health: Opioid treatment may reduce contact with law enforcement
By Carolyn Crist
Opioid users who get treatment for their drug dependency are less likely to have police encounters or to be charged with crimes, an Australian study suggests.

Times Herald-Record: Housing in short supply for mentally ill
By Chris McKenna
The state Office of Mental Health now funds about 40,000 mental-health beds but needs roughly another 35,000, said Antonia Lasicki, executive director of the Association for Community Living New York State, which represents nonprofits that provide housing and rehabilitation for the mentally ill.

Medical Xpress: What to call someone who uses heroin?
By Boston University School of Medicine
First-ever study to ask people who use heroin what they want to be called finds “people first” language often best, and language suggesting misuse or dependence generally worst.

Marie Claire: The Burgeoning Benzo Crisis
By Gina Ryder
Drugs that instantly relieve anxiety can feel like a godsend, but using the pills long-term may come with serious consequences.

The New York Times: Reefer Madness or Pot Paradise? The Surprising Legacy of the Place Where Legal Weed Began
By Jack Healy
Colorado’s first-in-the-nation experiment with legalized marijuana has infused the drug into almost every corner of life.