The US consumes more than 80% of the global opioid pill production even though it has less than 5% of the world’s population. Over the past 20 years, one federal institution after another lined up behind the drug manufacturers’ false claims of an epidemic of untreated pain in the US. They seem not to have asked why no other country was apparently suffering from such an epidemic or plying opioids to its patients at every opportunity.

Treating addiction is a growing business, but a lot of the treatment that's available is expensive and patients often relapse. Fortunately, there is a way to help some people pay less for better results ... For a year of treatment, Anthem says it's paying Aware about the same as the cost of a month or two of inpatient treatment. Anthem also says 72 percent of Aware clients are either sober at the end of one year or still in active treatment.

From 2013 to 2014, Maine saw the third-highest increase in any state, 27 percent ... Twenty years ago, just 34 people died from drug overdoses ... Only four years ago, there were 176 overdose deaths, less than half the 2016 total ... The death toll reached 378 in 2016, driven almost entirely by opioids – prescription painkillers, heroin and now fentanyl, a powerful synthetic. More than one victim per day. More than car accidents. Or suicide. Or breast cancer.

Dentists have become a significant source of opioid prescribing — especially for younger patients undergoing wisdom teeth extractions. They prescribe about 8 percent of the opioids in this country, ... but are the top prescribers of these drugs to adolescents, accounting for 31 percent of all opioids given to patients aged 10 to 19 years old. That’s particularly concerning because that age group is among the most likely to abuse drugs and develop addictions.

Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent ... The way the country has achieved this turnaround has been both radical and evidence-based, but it has relied a lot on what might be termed enforced common sense.

Scientists knew DARE was ineffective relatively early on, but the program grew anyways. The program’s eventual reform was the result of a long and hard battle between evidence-based research, and popular opinion ... Students who went through DARE weren’t any less likely to do drugs than the students who didn’t. In fact, there’s some well-regarded research that some groups of students were actually more likely to do drugs if they went through DARE.

There were increases in just about every major cause of death between 2014 and 2015, and the death-rate increases centered on whites and black men — they remained flat for Latinos and for black women ... drugs stand out as a particularly devastating part of the problem: In fact, one key to the racial divide may also come from numbers released yesterday, these from the CDC: For the first time ever, more people died from heroin overdoses than from gun homicides in 2015.

More than 1 in 3 American adults -- 35 percent -- were given painkiller prescriptions by medical providers last year. The total rate of painkiller use is even higher -- 38 percent -- when you factor in the number of adults who obtained painkillers for misuse via other means, from friends or relatives, or via drug dealers ... in 2015, more American adults used prescription painkillers than used cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or cigars -- combined.

While New Mexico has more than 30 needle exchange programs, neighboring Colorado, where syringe exchanges were illegal until 2010, has only seven. In Appalachia, another region hit hard by substance abuse, there are just a handful ... In 2007, New Mexico adopted the nation’s first “Good Samaritan Law,” protecting people who call 911 during an overdose from prosecution for possession charges. Today, most states have some version of the law.

At least 220 US counties are highly vulnerable to rapid spread of HIV among injection-drug users ... The CDC determined a county’s vulnerability with a sobering recipe: high rates of drug overdose deaths and prescription opioid sales, a high white population, astounding rates of hepatitis C and searing poverty ... the uniqueness is not only the poverty...the issue of unemployment and early teen births and educational issues, but the cultural issues embedded in many of those areas.