Inside Addiction is your weekly news recap about drug addiction and mental health in America. In the headlines for the week of August 27–31, 2018: new trends in opioid addiction research, re-evaluating the annual suicide death toll and zero tolerance for alcohol consumption.

“Modern Family” Actor Jackson Odell’s Death Deemed a Drug Overdose

Jackson Odell, the 20-year-old star of “The Goldbergs” and guest star of “Modern Family,” died on June 8, 2018, from what was recently revealed to be an accidental drug overdose. The coroner’s report released this week showed that Odell took heroin and cocaine before his death, although no drug paraphernalia was present in the sober living home where Odell’s body was found. [People]

NIH Aims to Curb Opioid Crisis Through Chronic Pain Research

On August 28, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released findings about the connection between opioid prescribing trends and opioid overdose deaths. The NIH explains that high rates of chronic pain have led to the over-prescription of opioids nationwide. With an anticipated $40.4 million budget, the medical research agency’s new initiative, Helping to End Addiction Long-Term aims to slow the opioid epidemic through a better understanding of how to treat chronic pain. [Forbes]

A guy is sitting and leaning over with his head in his arms and lap due to chronic pain.

Spice Girl Mel B Seeking Treatment for PTSD, Alcohol Addiction

In the aftermath of her recent divorce, Spice Girl and “America’s Got Talent” host Mel B was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through working on her book, “Brutally Honest,” and starting eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, Mel B has confronted “massive issues” and is planning to enroll in rehab for PTSD, alcohol use disorder and sex addiction. [MSN]

Overdose Awareness Day: This Friday, Advocates Say Do More

International Overdose Awareness Day is recognized around the world on August 31. This day is especially poignant for Americans, with drug overdose deaths on the rise in each state despite collective prevention efforts. Advocates for overdose awareness in Montgomery County, Indiana, assert that more needs to be done to prevent opioid overdose deaths and that change can start with one person. Montgomery County provides free naloxone (brand name Narcan) kits and training for residents and encourages continued conversations about the reality of drug overdose. [Journal Review]

Aftershocks: Hurricane Harvey Survivors and PTSD

In Corpus Christi, Texas, Coastal Plains Community Center struggles to meet the counseling needs of area residents. Therapists say the trauma caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 is still visceral for survivors, and numerous children and adults in the area are now seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms caused by the hurricane. [KIIITV]

Depression Treatment: Like Opioids, Ketamine Could Fuel Addiction

The drug ketamine has recently been hailed as a breakthrough medication, but a new study suggests that it may not be as safe for depression treatment as once thought. Ketamine can relieve symptoms of severe depression in a matter of hours, which made the drug seem promising initially. However, Stanford University researchers warn that ketamine may be highly addictive. Because much is still unknown about this drug’s abuse potential, regulators are urged to consider that this medication could be as dangerous as opioids. [The Independent]

Breastfeeding? Don’t Use Marijuana, Warns American Academy of Pediatrics

Medicinal and recreational use of marijuana is on the rise across the country, but this trend could have harmful consequences for infants. Marijuana can pass from mother to baby through breastmilk, and new research shows that marijuana can stay in breast milk for up to six days. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against any use of marijuana during pregnancy and while breastfeeding as this can lead to an infant’s stunted brain development and low birth weight, symptoms similar to those of neonatal abstinence syndrome. [New York Times]

FDA Cracks Down on Websites That Sell Illegal Opioids

Amidst the nationwide opioid epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) aims to stop the flow of unregulated opioids from suppliers to consumers. On Tuesday, FDA officials told four businesses to cease and desist selling unapproved and potentially deadly opioid drugs on 21 different websites. Each of these sites sell compromised forms of many prescription opioid medications, including tramadol and fentanyl. [CNBC]

Zero Tolerance: Researchers Say No Level of Alcohol Consumption Is Safe

The largest longitudinal study of its kind, new research spanning 195 countries and 26 years says that no level of alcohol consumption is safe. Published in the Lancet, the study contradicts many popular beliefs about healthy alcohol consumption, like drinking one glass of red wine with dinner. According to the researchers, alcoholic drinks, even in once-daily moderation, can raise someone’s risk of developing health complications. [New York Times]

Overdose, Suicide Deaths Soar Past Diabetes Death Toll

A new report shows that deaths labeled as fatal self-injury kill far more Americans per year than diabetes. This finding fuels a new discussion about whether drug overdose deaths can be labeled as suicide, and how this would impact the total number of suicide deaths annually. Researchers argue that drug-related deaths, including opioid overdoses, should be classified as a form of fatal self-harm. Reframed in this way, the annual suicide death toll would be much higher than previously thought. [Bloomberg]

Need More Than a Headline Recap About Addiction?

Thousands of Americans face drug addiction and mental health issues every day, but many never reach out for help. If you struggle with a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental illness, know that it’s OK to speak up. You don’t have to suffer in silence and help is always available. The Recovery Village can connect you to local treatment resources that can help you heal in a safe, supportive environment. Call The Recovery Village today at [phone widget] to learn more.

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