US Patients’ Opioid Overdoses Leading to More ICU Admissions & Deaths

US Patients’ Opioid Overdoses Leading to More ICU Admissions & Deaths

US Patients’ Opioid Overdoses Leading to More ICU Admissions & Deaths


  • Now more and more patients are Opting for CBD instead of Rx pain medications.

A growing number of Americans are needing IC (intensive care) for opioid overdoses and dying after receiving treatment for serious complications, a US study revealed Wednesday.

Opioid-related overdose deaths have doubled since Y 2000 as a worsening epidemic of addiction to both Rx painkillers like oxycodone and illegal drugs like heroin, researchers note in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Parallel to this worsening trend, opioid overdose admissions requiring treatment in hospital ICU’s intensive care units rose 34% from Y’s 2009 to 2015, the study found.

During this same frame, the death rate for these ICU patients climbed from 7.3 to 9.8%.

“There are growing numbers of people who are so sick from their opioid overdose that they need ICU-level care, and despite everything we can do in the ICU more patients are dying in the ICU with complications from their overdose than ever before,” said lead study author Dr. Jennifer Stevens of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

“So when we think of overdoses, we need not to just think about whether people died or survived, but also about the tremendous personal and societal costs of the serious medical problems that can come from overdoses for people who didn’t die, or didn’t die immediately,” Dr. Stevens wrote.

She and her colleagues examined data on more than 4.1-M patients admitted to ICUs in 162 hospitals in 44 states, including 21,705 with opioid overdoses, usually from heroin.

During the 7-year study period, the cost of caring for ICU patients who had opioid overdoses increased from $58,517 to $92,408 in Y 2015.

Among the opioid overdose patients, 25% experienced aspiration pneumonia, bacterial infections that happen when food, saliva or vomit is breathed into the lungs instead of remaining in the digestive tract.

The 2nd most common complication was rhabdomyolysis, or the release of dead muscle fiber into the bloodstream, which occurred with 15% of the overdose patients in the hospital ICU.

8% of the patients had brain injuries and 6% had septic shock, a life-threatening response to infections that can cause serious organ damage.

10% of the people treated in the ICU after overdoses needed mechanical ventilation machines to help them breathe.

The study was not designed to explain why more overdoses are being treated in ICUs. It’s possible that heightened awareness about overdoses is helping more people survive long enough to be admitted to the hospital. It is also possible that people are having worse overdoses today than they did in the past, the researchers noted.

Most likely, both possibilities are behind the surge in overdose patients in the ICU, said Dr. Marc LaRochelle, a researcher at Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It likely reflects some contributions from at least two factors: one is increasing potency of opioid supply with a spike in illicit fentanyl in recent years,” Dr. LaRochelle wrote, referring to a fast-acting, highly potent Rx opioid that’s become a common recreational drug.

“A 2nd would be more widespread overdose education and naloxone distribution programs,” Dr. LaRochelle added. Naloxone can block the effect of opioids and rapidly reverse the effects of an overdose.

HeffX-LTN has learned that unfortunately there is a lot of stigma about pain medication treatments, and the long-term change is possible and recovery is a realistic goal, but it requires education and time to reverse this deadly epidemic.

Now more and more patients are opting for CBD instead of Rx pain medications.

A recent study reveals at 40% of patients who consume high-CBD forms of cannabis stopped using traditional pharmaceutical medications and now use marijuana to treat their symptoms.

The survey was conducted by Brightfield Group, a market research firm focused on the legal Cannabis industry, in partnership with HelloMD, an online healthcare platform for Cannabis.

This is the largest know study to date specifically researching CBD usage and its effectiveness for treating a variety of medical conditions including insomnia, depression, anxiety, and joint pain.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the primary cannabinoids found in Cannabis.

Unlike THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in Marijuana, CBD is non-psychoactive and is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and anti-convulsant properties.

“We are seeing an exponential rise in the interest of CBD products from our patient community—particularly among women,” said the Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD. “While we still have much to learn about CBD, we cannot ignore this one fact; the majority of those using CBD product today receive great benefit. This has the potential for far-reaching consequences.”

Key findings from the study include the following;

  1. 42% of CBD users stopped using traditional medications and now use Cannabis instead
  2. 80% of CBD users found CBD be very or extremely effective for treatment.
  3. 90% of those surveyed said they would buy CBD-only products derived from Marijuana.

“This study is exciting because it shows there is potentially a huge barely-tapped market for CBD products that could improve the lives of many people. With further research and public education, CBD could be an effective alternative treatment for many people, particularly at a time when our nation is in the midst of an opioid crisis,” said the Director of Research for Brightfield Group.

Recently, I spoke with Bruce Barren a highly recognized and experienced corporate executive, with deep understanding and relations in the sector after his MoneyTV interview (see the entire interview below).

Mr. Barren believes that, “…because of the uncertainties in legislative direction in Washington, DC marijuana stocks are not where one wants to invest, though some of them have performed very well YTD.

Mr. Barren noted that less than 50% of the States have approved the sale of Marijuana, and where the approval is limited, it has been done mostly for medical purposes.

He said that Hemp based stocks, commonly referred to as CBD,  is where major profits are to be made.

These companies can sell their products, especially those with a non-restrictive medical benefit in all 50 states and most countries around the world without restrictions. And that this is where savvy Wall Street participants in the sector are currently focused.

Notably, the survey was conducted by Brightfield Group that I refer to above tells us that the patient/consumer is embracing these alternative, not addictive treatments in lieu of traditional narcotic pain relief.

One company that I cover is focusing on unique and innovative product delivery systems PotNetwork Holdings Inc. (OTCMKT:POTN) is developing therapeutic products and nutraceuticals manufactured according to the highest standards, and maintaining the highest levels of compliance across the supply chain.

The firm’s distinguished Israeli scientists have standardized dosages designed and adapted for several medical conditions, including pain, anxiety disorders, metabolic disorders and inflammatory disorder.

Last week a Presidential Commission issued a preliminary report calling for a Declaration of National Emergency to address opioid addiction.

The Presidential Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis led by Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) issued a preliminary report whose lead recommendation is for the President “to declare a national emergency under either the Public Service Act or the Stafford Act.”

The report largely takes a public health approach to the issue, calling as well for expanding drug treatment capacity under Medicaid, increasing the use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid disorders, mandating that all police officers carry the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, broadening Good Samaritan laws, and encouraging the development of non-opioid pain relievers.

In-light of the attention now being paid to the misuse of Rx addicting pain relief it is heartening to learn that in many instances consumers/patients across the nation are opting for alternative not addicting relief in the form of  CBD-only products derived from Hemp and Marijuana.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
OTCMKT:POTN 0.0575 16 August 2017 0.00 0.06 0.06 0.054 969,512
HeffX-LTN Analysis for POTN: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Neutral (-0.07) Bearish (-0.34) Neutral (0.15) Neutral (-0.03)

Stay tuned…


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