FDA approves prescription app for outpatient use disorder patients

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved a Mobile Medical application to help increase retention in outpatient treatment programs for opioid use disorder. The app can be downloaded to a patient’s mobile device with a prescription from his/her doctor to use while participating in an outpatient treatment program under the care of a health care professional, in conjunction with treatment that includes buprenorphine and contingency management. “As part of our efforts to address the misuse and abuse of opioids, we’re especially focused on new tools and therapies that can help more people with opioid use disorder successfully treat their addiction,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “Medical devices, including digital health devices like mobile medical apps, have the potential to play a unique and important role in contributing to these treatment efforts.”

The Associated Press: Clinic 1st In Virginia To Treat Opioid-Addicted Moms-To-Be

A Charlottesville clinic has become the first in the state to offer a treatment program specifically for pregnant women trying to break opioid addictions before they give birth. “We were realizing that as the dependent population continued to grow, that the pregnant and addicted population would grow along with that,” said Dr. Christopher von Elten, a co-founder of Addiction Allies. “We kept asking why no one was addressing it, and we decided we would.” Many doctors and clinics are hesitant to offer medications to pregnant women addicted to opioids, said von Elten said, and it can be burdensome for providers to navigate necessary regulations. (Smith, 11/30)

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The Star Tribune: Opioid Epidemic Drives Thousands Of Minn. Kids Into Foster Care

The number of Minnesota children being removed from drug-addicted parents has reached crisis levels, flooding a state child welfare system that was already operating under heavy strains. As the opioid epidemic has tightened its grip on the Upper Midwest, drug abuse by parents has emerged as the eading reason why children are taken from their parents. Children have been removed from their families because of parental drug abuse on more than 6,000 occasions from 2015 to 2017, according to new data from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). (Serres, 12/1)

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USDA Launches Interactive Data Tool to Help Rural Communities Address the Opioid Crisis

New Community Assessment Tool Empowers Rural Leaders to Make Data-Driven Decisions to Build Resilient Communities

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched an interactive data tool to help community leaders build grassroots strategies to address the opioid epidemic.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural America in addressing this monumental challenge,” Hazlett said. “Local leaders in small towns across our country need access to user-friendly and relevant data to help them build grassroots solutions for prevention, treatment and recovery.”

The opioid misuse Community Assessment Tool enables users to overlay substance misuse data against socioeconomic, census and other public information. This data will help leaders, researchers and policymakers assess what actions will be most effective in addressing the opioid crisis at the local level.

The Community Assessment Tool is free and available to the public. It can be accessed on USDA’s Rural Opioid Misuse Webpage or at opioidmisusetool.norc.org.