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NIH - Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Nora Volkow. www.directorsblog.nih.gov

The NIH Director's Blog: Dr. Nora Volkow shares, "And as I see the movements across the country speaking out against injustice, I would hope that this will also extend to diseases that have been stigmatized. We need to modify our stigma so we provide the same level of importance to treating these diseases and supporting people afflicted by them."

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Rising Stimulant Deaths Show that We Face More than Just an Opioid Crisis

National Institute on Drug Abuse shares, "Although deaths from opioids continue to command the public’s attention, an alarming increase in deaths involving the stimulant drugs methamphetamine and cocaine are a stark illustration that we no longer face just an opioid crisis." 

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blood cells with covid-19

Dr. Nora Volkow wrote in the National Institute on Drug Abuse on Oct. 5, 2020, "As I wrote in April when the COVID-19 pandemic was an emerging health threat in the U.S., there is reason to be concerned that people with substance use disorders (SUDs) may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and its most adverse health outcomes."

Read More about New Evidence on Substance Use Disorders and COVID-19 Susceptibility
A Mexican guardsman descends into the system. (Kevin Sieff/The Washington Post)

NOGALES, Mexico — As the U.S. border wall rose just north of this city, the drug trade here has been driven underground. Mexican and U.S. patrols have found tunnel after tunnel drilled into an 80-year-old drainage system that connects the two countries, 15 feet below the surface. 

Read More about Drug Trafficking through tunnels under the U.S.-Mexican Border worth Millions
Telemedicine used for Drug Addiction Treatment

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, deaths from drug overdoses have reportedly surged, even as a relaxing of federal restrictions and a rapid shift by treatment providers has led to an explosion in telemedicine options for receiving help with substance use disorders.

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Alcohol bottles

The population level changes for women, younger, and non-Hispanic White individuals highlight that health systems may need to educate consumers through print or online media about increased alcohol use during the pandemic and identify factors associated with susceptibility and resilience to the impacts of COVID-19.

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Department of Justice photo

DEA.gov - “Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries—with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well—shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”

Read More about Intrn'l law enforcement operation targeting opioid traffickers on the Darknet results in over 170 arrests worldwide
Drug warehouse camouflaged with cardboard in Mexicali, Baja California

Borderland Beat reports, "More than 8 tons of various products that would be used for the manufacture of drugs were discovered by elements of the State Security and Investigation Guard (GESI), during an operation carried out in the Heriberto Jara ejido, on September 5 in the Poniente area of Mexicali, Baja California."

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WREG-3 Memphis: Seizures of "hard" drugs spike as Mexican drug cartels change tactics. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

EL PASO, Texas — Seizures of illegal drugs are on the rise along the U.S.-Mexico border, as drug cartels have adjusted their tactics amid the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. officials say. Quantities of meth seized at the border through August are already double the amount that U.S. border agents came across all of fiscal year 2019; fentanyl seizures are up 30 percent and 24,264 more pounds of marijuana have been seized.

Read More about Drug trafficking organizations have adopted to challenges posed by COVID-19 and now smuggling more meth and fentanyl (opens in new window/tab)
Map provided by Quest Diagnostics.

"Sample said increases in the positive rate for cocaine and methamphetamine among U.S. workers is cause for concern. Although the number of workers testing positive for methamphetamine remains well under 1%, the positivity rate has risen 12% during the past five years, according to Quest."

Read More about Drug use among U.S. workers surges, major screening firm finds (opens in new window/tab)
US Customs and Border Protection agents with seized fentanyl and methamphetamine. Handout via Reuters

Business Insider reports, "US border officials are seizing more meth, showing how the coronavirus is changing the drug market. The recent seizure of $16 million worth of methamphetamines by US customs officials underscores rising seizure and overdose trends in the United States.

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DEA Reports Significant Increase in Counterfeit Pills in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS– Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents from the Minneapolis/St. Paul District Office are reporting a significant increase in counterfeit pills entering Minnesota from drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) in California, Arizona and Mexico.

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NIH - Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Nora Volkow. www.directorsblog.nih.gov

The NIH Director's Blog: Dr. Nora Volkow shares, "And as I see the movements across the country speaking out against injustice, I would hope that this will also extend to diseases that have been stigmatized. We need to modify our stigma so we provide the same level of importance to treating these diseases and supporting people afflicted by them."

Read More about Addressing the Twin Challenges of Substance Use Disorders and COVID-19 (opens in new window/tab)
pills falling out of a pill bottle

The American Medical Association’s Opioid Task Force report released July 20th shows a dramatic increase in fatalities involving illicit opioids, stimulants (e.g. methamphetamine), heroin and cocaine and a similarly dramatic drop in the use of prescription opioids.

Read More about AMA report shows evolving, deadlier overdose epidemic (opens in new window/tab)
TheAdvocate-BatonRougeLA

As of June, 108 people in the parish have died of overdoses this year, according to LSU Social Research and Evaluation Center data. This represents an increase of almost 93% from last year's overdose deaths at the same time period.

Read More about A 'perfect storm': Overdose deaths in East Baton Rouge spike dramatically amid coronavirus
Millennium-healths-signals-report-covid-19-special-edition-reveals-significant-change

Millennium Health conducted an analysis of over 500,000 definitive urine drug test (UDT) results for non-prescribed fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine in the periods before and after COVID-19 was declared a national emergency, March 13, 2020. Nationally, all four drugs had significant increases in positivity.

Read More about Millennium Health's Signals Report™ Reveals Significant Changes in Drug Use During the Pandemic
WWL News image of coronavirus

The AMA is greatly concerned by an increasing number of reports suggesting increases in opioid-related mortality—particularly from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. More than 35 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder.

Read More about Reports of increases in opioid related overdose and other concerns during COVID pandemic
Being stuck at home during lockdowns was a recipe for increased drinking for some Americans. Copyright Artem Vorobiev/Getty I

Retail alcohol sales jumped by 55% nationally during the third week of March, when many stay-at-home orders were put in place, according to Nielsen data, and online sales skyrocketed. The consumption of all this alcohol can be problematic for individuals, even those who haven't had issues with drinking in the past.

Read More about Drinking Has Surged During The Pandemic. Do You Know The Signs Of Addiction?
Ohio County Prosecutor: Pandemic Puts More Stress On Families Dealing With Addiction, NPR News

Vinton County, Ohio, has been on the front lines of the opioid crisis in the U.S. for several years. And even though the county hasn't had high infection rates of the coronavirus, the necessary social restrictions have made it harder to keep people addicted to drugs and their children safe.

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Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse with NIH Director, Francis Collins, courtesy of NIH

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse shares, "We immediately can recognize the unique challenges of COVID-19 for people having an addiction. Some of these are structural; the healthcare system is not prepared to take care of them. They relate also to stigma and social issues, because it interferes with many of the support systems that can help them to reach recovery." 

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Packages of methamphetamine and cocaine seized in Texas

CBP officers assigned to the World Trade Center on Tuesday observed a 2012 Ford pickup truck hauling a shipment of magnets from Mexico. The officers selected the truck for a secondary inspection, according to information obtained from Laredo Sector CBP officials.

Read More about $1.4 Million in Cocaine, Methamphetamine Seized at Texas Border Crossings in 24 Hours (opens in new window/tab)
Meth Image

Two women, now in recovery, talk about their struggle and experience with drugs and specifically meth and the turmoil their addiction caused. Cincinnati Enquirer

Read More about Meth is back and flooding the streets of Ohio and Kentucky, and it's uglier than ever - Cincinnati Enquirer (opens in new window/tab)
Map of US with eight hub cities for Operation Crystal Shield by the DEA

Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon announced that the DEA will direct enforcement resources to methamphetamine “transportation hubs” — areas where methamphetamine is often trafficked in bulk and then distributed across the country. 

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