Non-Injection Means of Ingestion As A Reason For Growth in Heroin Use Among Young People: "We do think that the expansion in the world supply of heroin, particularly in the 1990s, had the effect of dramatically raising the purity of heroin available on the streets, thus allowing for new means of ingestion. The advent of new forms of heroin, rather than any change in respondents’ beliefs about the dangers associated with injecting heroin, very likely contributed to the fairly sharp increase in heroin use in the 1990s.
"A more prosaic, but no less important, legal barrier to widespread naloxone access is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) classification of naloxone as a prescription drug. This means that public health and harm reduction agencies cannot distribute naloxone like condoms or sterile syringes. Instead, naloxone must be prescribed by a properly licensed health care provider after an individualized evaluation of the patient.
"The heart of the challenge is the possibility that things could be different: overdose is a public health problem that can be solved. Unlike many of the other leading causes of death, death from opioid overdose is almost entirely preventable,21 and preventable at a low cost.22 Opioids kill by depressing respiration, a slow mode of death that leaves plenty of time for effective medical intervention.23 Overdose is rapidly reversed by the administration of a safe and inexpensive drug called naloxone.
"Heroin is particularly toxic because of high lipid solubility, which allows it to cross the blood–brain barrier within seconds and achieve high brain levels.10
"Naloxone is also lipid soluble and enters the brain rapidly. Reversal of respiratory depression is evident 3–4 minutes after IV and 5–6 minutes after subcutaneous administration.11"
"The total area under opium poppy cultivation worldwide is estimated to have increased by some 37 per cent to almost 420,000 ha from 2016 to 2017, primarily reflecting an increase in the cultivation of opium poppy in Afghanistan. With 328,000 ha under opium poppy cultivation, Afghanistan accounted for more than three quarters of the estimated global area under illicit opium poppy cultivation in 2017, a record level.
"By far the highest prevalence of HIV among PWID [People Who Inject Drugs] is in South-West Asia and in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, with rates that are, respectively, 2.4 and 1.9 times the global average. Together, those two subregions account for 49 per cent of the total number of PWID worldwide living with HIV. Although the prevalence of HIV among PWID in East and South-East Asia is below the global average, 24 per cent of the global total of PWID living with HIV reside in that subregion.
"A few key conclusions and discussion points regarding the state and future of HAT (heroin-assisted treatment) can be offered based on the above review of completed or ongoing studies.
Methadone Maintenance as a Treatment for Opioid Dependence: "Methadone is a long-acting µ-opioid receptor agonist, introduced in the 1960s, after being developed in Germany at the end of World War II.60 It has an onset of action within 30 minutes61-63 and an average duration of action of 24 to 36 hours. Its oral bioavailability is excellent and approaches 90%.
"Naloxone distribution programs in the US are ongoing in Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco, New Mexico and New York City. Additional community-based organizations interested in minimizing the adverse consequences of drug use in several cities in the US, including Los Angeles, Providence, Pittsburgh and Boston, are in the process of planning and developing naloxone administration programs for drug users."
Global Heroin Treatment Need and Overdose Deaths: "More than 60 per cent of drug treatment demand in Asia and Europe relate to opiates that are, especially heroin, the most deadly drugs. Deaths due to overdose are, in any single year, as high as 5,000-8,000 in Europe, and several times this amount in the Russian Federation alone."