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  • December 18, 2018 2:08 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Marijuana was among the big winners at the polls in November, with voters in counties across the state signaling their support for legalization. Backers also have a friend in Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who has said doctors should be able to use cannabis to treat patients. 

    Meanwhile, CBD, which is extracted from hemp plants, has been heralded as a cure-all for everything from seizures to chronic pain to better sleep. State lawmakers recently approved its use, but questions over its health benefits - and legality - remain.

    A Jan. 8 Wisconsin Health News panel in Madison will take a closer look at the legal and health issues around marijuana and CBD oil – and their future in the state. Confirmed panelists include:

    • Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison
    • Sen. Pat Testin, R-Stevens Point
    • Dr. Mike Miller, American Board of Addiction Medicine

    Learn more and register to attend.

  • December 18, 2018 2:04 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    December 18, Wisconsin Health News

    More than $1.3 million in state grants will support medication-assisted treatment programs for inmates living with opioid use disorder at 16 county jails, according to a recent Department of Health Services statement.

    Grant recipients are working with jails in Bayfield, Brown, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Kenosha, Iowa, Manitowoc, Racine, Rock, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Waushara and Vilas counties.

    The money, provided under a law enacted earlier this year, is available through June 30. Up to $750,000 is available in future state fiscal years.

  • December 14, 2018 11:59 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Editor's note: the following excerpt is taken from "For One Rural Community, Fighting Addiction Started With Recruiting The Right Doctor" heard on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, Sunday, December 9, 2018.

    The story features Mark Lim, MD, an active member of WISAM/ASAM who has presented at WISAM annual conferences and recently led a session in WISAM's 2018 Webinar Series. He is board certified in both Addiction Medicine and Family Medicine, and serves as the Medical Director of NorthLakes Community Clinic in Ashland, Wisconsin.

    Dr. Mark Lim says he is surprised he's here in this 8,000 person port-town on Lake Superior. He'd dreamed of living in a big city since he moved to the U.S. from the Philippines. When he got the call about the job, he was hesitant at first. "I didn't know where that was on a map," he recalls.

    But he saw this part of Wisconsin, where the death rate from drug and alcohol abuse is nearly twice as high as the state average, as a place where he could make a difference.

    Lim's been board certified in addiction medicine since it was officially recognized as a subspecialty in 2016, but he's been working in the field since about 10 years ago when he started working in an addiction practice in Maine.

    He took the Wisconsin job, with one stipulation: He would start a program to address addiction as a whole. His expertise would be just one part of the treatment approach.

    "If I'm just going to be the Suboxone doctor I'm not doing the full practice of addiction," Lim says. Read full story.

  • December 03, 2018 1:23 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    December 3, Wisconsin Health News

    A Milwaukee task force finalized recommendations Friday on how to reduce drug misuse and overdoses.

    The recommendations from the City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force aim to guide efforts in Milwaukee County. The task force hopes to implement the changes through grants and collaboration.

    Alderman Michael Murphy, who co-chairs the task force, noted that more than 400 people died last year from overdoses. He recently received new data from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office showing a decline.

    “Right now, god willing, if things hold, we’ll see a 25 percent reduction compared to last year,” he said. “So that’s a great story.”

    Murphy wants to determine what’s working and support those programs. The task force plans to continue to meet and follow up on the recommendations.

    “Sometimes, being in government, you look at reports and you wonder if they just gather dust after they’re done,” he said. “We don’t intend to have that happen.” 

    Among the changes the report recommends are:

    • A widespread public health education campaign on substance abuse as well as efforts targeting children and teenagers.
    • Collaborating with local medical groups to increase use of the Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
    • Supporting harm reduction strategies beyond anti-overdose drugs like Naloxone, including rapid testing kits for drugs users to test substances for fentanyl and safe needle exchanges.
    • Developing a system for rapidly detecting spikes in overdoses in the county to ensure that resources target high-need areas.
    • Pursuing policies that incentivize property owners to rent to those in recovery.
    • Integrating medication-assisted treatment into federally qualified health centers, opioid treatment programs, prisons and other places.
    • Expanding drug courts that offer treatment to those serving time in prison.
  • November 27, 2018 6:56 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The Department of Health Services awarded grants to expand medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in Madison and Milwaukee, according to a Monday statement.

    ARC Community Services in Madison and United Community Center in Milwaukee each received $250,000 grants that last through September.

    The money comes from an $11.9 million federal grant DHS received last month. It's expected to be an annual award, according to the statement.

  • October 30, 2018 12:00 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    On October 24, ASAM issued a press release applauding the President for signing the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) into law. The legislation follows weeks of discussion between the House of Representatives and Senate legislative conference. The final bill signed today includes key provisions to bolster the country’s addiction treatment workforce, provide standardized, evidence-based treatment for SUD, and ensure that coverage and payment models facilitate continuity of care for patients with SUD.  Read more.

  • October 26, 2018 11:26 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)
    The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

    National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. National Take-Back Day is a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.

    Learn more about Drug Take-Back Day in Wisconsin, and find a location near you to safely drop off your unwanted or unneeded prescription painkillers and other drugs. 

  • October 26, 2018 11:11 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Oct. 25, WMS Medigram

    A statewide summit on fighting opioid and meth abuse drew more than 500 attendees from across Wisconsin earlier this week in Milwaukee. Hosted by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and U.S. Attorneys for Wisconsin Scott Blader and Matthew Krueger, the summit coincides with Drug Take Back Day, which is this Saturday, Oct. 27.

    The summit, “Making Progress through Collaborations,” brought together
    local public health agencies, law enforcement, first responders, hospital personnel and other health care professionals, social services, prevention and intervention workers, victim advocates, teachers, community groups, faith-based leaders, government officials and others—all focused on fighting opioid and meth abuse.

    Attendees kicked off national Drug Take Back Day by bringing unused and unwanted medications to temporary drug disposal units at the summit.

    This Saturday, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 300 local law enforcement agencies throughout Wisconsin will participate in Drug Take Back Day. Held every October and November, this event provides a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposal of both prescription and over-the-counter medications, while also educating the community about the potential abuse and consequences of improper storage and disposal of these medications.

    Since 2015, Wisconsinites have disposed of over 400,000 pounds of unused and unwanted medications, and the state has been a national leader in the DEA’s drug disposal program. To find a Drug Take Back location, click here.

  • September 18, 2018 4:36 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Sept. 18, MedPage Today

    The FDA said Tuesday that it is broadening its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for opioids to include immediate-release agents prescribed for outpatients, and will cover all "providers who are involved in the management of patients with pain" -- not just those writing prescriptions.

    But although the agency is requiring opioid manufacturers to create new training modules for nonprescribers, and that cover immediate-release products, the training will remain voluntary for professionals.

    The broadened REMS will also apply to extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioids for outpatient use, for which the FDA first imposed a REMS in 2012. The agency noted that Tuesday's action raises the number of individual products subject to the opioid REMS from 62 to 347.

    "Our aim is to make sure the medical community can take advantage of the available education on pain management and safe use of opioid analgesic products," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, in announcing the changes.

    "At the same time, we're also taking new steps to advance the development of evidence-based, indication-specific guidelines to help further guide appropriate prescribing of opioids. The goal is that these guidelines will provide evidence-based information on the proper number of opioid doses that should be dispensed for different medical conditions for which these drugs may be indicated. The aim is to reduce overall dispensing as a way to further reduce exposure to these drugs," Gottlieb added. He did not give a timeline for when these more specific guidelines would be released.

    The FDA noted that the new training -- components of which were outlined in a "blueprint" document -- must be made available to nurses and pharmacists, for example, in addition to those authorized to prescribe opioids. "The new REMS also requires that the education cover broader information about appropriate pain management, including alternatives to opioids for the treatment of pain. The agency is also approving new product labeling containing information about the health care provider education available through the new REMS," the agency said.

    That labeling about education will now appear as part of the boxed warnings and other sections on "warnings and precautions."

    Previously, the opioid REMS ordered manufacturers of ER/LA opioids to develop training materials for prescribers, with the aim of minimizing risks of overuse and abuse. However, the FDA stopped short of requiring prescribers to undergo special training. REMS requirements for many other types of medications do include mandatory training, and the agency said opioids could eventually be added to that list.

    "The FDA's Opioid Policy Steering Committee continues to consider whether there are circumstances when the FDA should require some form of mandatory education for health care providers and how the agency would pursue such a goal," according to the Tuesday announcement.

  • September 13, 2018 6:05 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The American Society of Addiction Medicine is seeking nominations for:

    • The 2019 John P. McGovern, ASAM Annual Award, and 
    • The ASAM Media Award

    Awards will be presented at the ASAM 50th Annual Conference in Orlando, FL in April 2019. Members are encouraged to nominate deserving individuals for these awards.

    Nomination submissions are being accepted through the ASAM Online Portal on or before October 31st . To be eligible for consideration, all nominations must be submitted electronically.  A separate nomination form for each nominee and/or award is required.

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