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Knoxville, Tennessee (CNN)The sound of a heartbeat pulsates through the air, and a grainy image of a baby flashes on screen. Jessica Hill smiles from her chair in the ultrasound room.

Gathered around are her doctor, nurse and best friend.
 
They are all eager, anxious, excited -- and worried about the health of the baby. In that way, this ultrasound is like most.
But what's happening in this room is anything but routine: Jessica, 28, is hooked on opioids and detoxing during pregnancy. Dr. Craig Towers is the pioneering -- and controversial -- obstetrician shattering the common medical belief that this approach could lead to the death of the fetus.  Read More.

A federal health agency wants to speed up research on non-addictive painkillers to help stem the epidemic of drug abuse in the nation.
The National Institutes of Health plans to develop partnerships between public agencies and private businesses in hopes of cutting the time to develop treatments in half, Dr. Francis Collins said Wednesday at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, according to a news release from the organizer.  Read More.
 

Anti-marijuana legalization group hits Atlanta on “420 Day”

A group opposing the legalization of marijuana on Thursday warned Atlantans not to believe the hype that pot is made from a harmless plant and that its impact is minimal.

Kevin Sabet, co-founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana or SAM, said the growing marijuana industry is pitching weed as a natural, safer alternative to tobacco without the long-term health problems. 

“You know what, poison ivy is a natural plant, but I wouldn’t suggest anybody mess with it,” Sabet said. “These arguments are ridiculous if you think about them for more than one or two seconds.” Read More.

 

Easing marijuana laws in Atlanta easier said than done

Atlanta wants to join a growing number of U.S. cities that are lowering the penalties for small amounts of marijuana use.
 
But leaders learned last week that getting there won’t be easy.
 
The City Council sent legislation meant to lower fines and eliminate jail time for possession of an ounce or less of pot back to a committee last week after members had a host of questions. Chief among their concerns was whether there was buy-in from the Atlanta Police Department and city courts, two groups whose backing would be crucial to making such a plan work. Elected officials also fear that being too lenient would take away the deterrent of marijuana use. Read More.
 
 
 
America is making progress in the fight against its opioid and heroin overdose epidemic by working closely with Mexican and Chinese authorities, a top U.S. State Department official plans to announce at a summit in Atlanta this week.
 
Mexico is now the source of most of the heroin consumed in the U.S., William Brownfield, assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The former ambassador, who plans to speak Tuesday at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, added that more than half of the fentanyl that comes here passes through Mexico, though most of it probably originates in China. Read More.
 
 
HHS Secretary Tom Price is looking to make his own contributions to the policy fight against the opioid crisis, with a two-day blitz: on Wednesday, he gave a speech to the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in his old stomping grounds of Atlanta; then, Thursday, the department announced a series of grants flowing from 21st Century Cures funding. Read More.
 

A deadly issue that has plagued the Suncoast for months is getting national attention.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to launch a new ad campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid addiction.

CDC acting director Anne Schuchat discussed the problem at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit on Wednesday in Atlanta. She says this new campaign will try to get doctors and patients thinking about the problem and know the risks involved with opioids before there's a tragedy. Read More.

 

The federal government will provide $485 million in grants to fund evidence-based prevention and treatment initiatives to address the nation's opioid abuse crisis, HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, said this week.

The funds were contained in the 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed under the Obama administration in December 2016. The $485 million in grants will compliment funds slated to be made available this year under Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was signed by Former President Barack Obama in July 2016.  Read More.

 

ATLANTA — President Trump is determined to expand access to addiction treatment to help curb the opioid crisis, several of his top health advisers said on Wednesday.

But they offered few details on how they would fund those efforts at a time when the administration is also pushing for deep budget cuts to domestic programs and seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which extends mental health and addiction treatment to millions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told advocates gathered here at a summit on drug abuse that his agency would boost access to opioid treatment, support “cutting-edge research” on new treatment, and push for better practices to help patients manage their pain, to cut down on prescriptions of powerful opioids. Read More

CNN) - While President Donald Trump insisted Congress repeal Obamacare within his first 100 days, the legislation was rushed, according to his Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, and that's why the Republicans failed.

But the recent setback will not deter the Trump administration, he said during an interview at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Tuesday with CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Price runs a department with a budget of more than $1 trillion dollars and more than 80,000 employees who do work that he said touches on "the lives of every single American."  Read More.
 

The federal government is giving states $500 million to combat the nation's opioid abuse epidemic.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made the announcement Wednesday at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in downtown Atlanta, where thousands gathered. The funds will come from the 21st Century Cures Act, he said, which passed Congress last year and was signed by President Barack Obama.  Read More.

 
50-year-olds are dying from overdoses of prescription painkillers, while heroin is claiming more people in their 20s.
 

ATLANTA — The sharp increase in US overdose deaths over the last half-decade has split into two distinct epidemics based on age and type of drug, researchers suggested here at a nationwide drug abuse summit on Tuesday.

Opioid drugs include both prescription painkillers (such as Vicodin or Oxycodone) and illegal heroin. They are involved in about 60% of all deadly overdoses in the US, or about 33,000 people in 2015 — a death toll projected to grow even worse. Read More.

Bipartisan-backed legislation that seeks to end the flow of illicit fentanyl into the United States from foreign countries has drawn support from national law enforcement groups, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey's office announced Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who recently joined other senators in introducing legislation that would give U.S. Customs and Border Protection tools to help detect and intercept fentanyl and other illicit opioids, told National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit attendees Tuesday that the proposal has garnered support from sheriffs, police officers and border patrol agents. Read More.

Opioid summit: Babies born in Kentucky twice as likely to be born addicted

ATLANTA (WKYT) - Research shows a baby born in Kentucky is twice as likely to be born addicted to opioids than a typical American child. But doctors and researchers from the University of Kentucky are working hard to break the cycle, and they told a crowd at the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta that they are making progress.  Read More.
 

ATLANTA (WKYT) - A four-day summit addressing the drug abuse problem in the United States kicked off Monday in Atlanta.

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin delivered the keynote speech on the first night of the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. Read More.  |  Watch the Videos.

Rogers, Bevin kick off National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

ATLANTA, GA (WTVQ) – Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-5th) and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued challenges for attendees of the 6th annual National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit to be passionate, learn from one another, and share promising initiatives with others in their communities..  Read more.
 

UK researchers lead discussions at national summit on prescription drug abuse

ATLANTA, Ga. (WTVQ) – Addiction researchers, clinicians, intervention coordinators and health policy leaders representing the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare will lead workshops and discuss initiatives to combat the opioid crisis during the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit this week in Atlanta.  Read More.