Help Make Our Community a Better Place
Dear Community Member,

I hope you are staying safe! At a recent board meeting we recieved updates from local law enforcement and the Nebraska Regional Poison Center. They informed us that Omaha is seeing an increase in crime rates, suicide attempts and dangerous exposures to cleaning/disinfectant products. If you are struggling and need some help, please utilize these resources.

Nebraska Regional Poison Center 1-800-222-1222

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Omaha Crime Stoppers 402-444-7867

Please wear a mask, stay home and stay healthy!

In The News
Don’t Forget the Other Pandemic Killing Thousands of Americans
By Kate Briquelet, Daily Beast
"Authorities nationwide are reporting an uptick in fatal opioid overdoses during social distancing. Addiction and recovery advocates say the U.S. is now battling two epidemics at once. From 1999 to 2018, opioid overdoses involving prescription and illicit drugs have killed nearly 450,000 Americans. (One recent study found an additional 99,160 opioid deaths, previously unreported because of incomplete medical records.)

While some Americans struggle to find toilet paper and cleaning supplies during the pandemic, the country’s drug users are also facing a dwindling supply.

The increased cost for drug users is a key concern, according to Glenn Sterner, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Penn State Abington.
“Just like we’re having trouble finding paper products and stuff in grocery stores, traffickers are having issues trying to find the chemicals to make our drugs,” said Sterner, a member of the Opioid Overdose Task Force for the State of Pennsylvania.

“In some ways this is a good thing,” Sterner added. “We’re actually seeing less of these substances in our communities in some areas. If we can’t get on planes, neither can the drugs.”

But Sterner says in places with a shortage of heroin, prices will go up and put a bigger strain on drug users experiencing poverty. That in turn could lead to an increase in criminal activity, as people seek money to buy drugs, and to a spike in the use of other drugs like methamphetamine, which is becoming more widely available. He said addiction treatment for meth, however, isn’t as robust as that for opioids. 

Last month, the federal agencies that regulate opioid treatment programs (OTPs)—which dispense methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone to treat addiction—issued guidance on how clinics should treat patients during COVID, including those quarantined at home with the virus.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) said providers can now prescribe buprenorphine over the phone, though this exemption doesn’t apply to methadone. OTPs can also provide take-home medications, up to 14 doses for “clinically less stable” patients and 28 doses for stable patients."

The opioid crisis may be far worse than thought, making the epidemic harder to fight
By Dr. Yalda Safai & Dr. Melanie R. Graber, ABC News
"There may be a gross underreporting of  opioid-related death rates , leading to misrepresentation about the extent of the epidemic, according to a new study.

A substantial share of the documentation on fatal drug overdoses may be missing information on the specific drug that caused the overdose.

The study , published in the journal "Addiction," looked at a total of 632,331 drug overdoses between 1999 and 2016. Of these deaths, 78.2% were drug overdoses with known drug classification and 21.8% were unclassified drug overdoses. Of the unclassified drug overdoses, further investigation revealed that 71.8% involved opioids, translating to 99,160 additional opioid-related deaths.

There were over  70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 , according to an estimate from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on findings from the new study, over half of those deaths -- about 47,000 -- are suspected to have involved opioids.

"The number of deaths from opioid-related overdoses could be 28% higher than reported due to incomplete death records," said Elaine Hill, Ph.D., an economist and assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Public Health Sciences and senior author of the study."

The More You Know
Coalition Rx Spotlight
It’s not just opioids. Deaths from cocaine and meth are surging.
  By Christine Vestal, PBS News Hour
"Most states are keeping a close eye on opioid overdose deaths, but they may need to start focusing on cocaine and other stimulants as well.
It turns out that the same lethal drug that has been driving the nation’s spiraling opioid epidemic is also causing an historic surge in overdose deaths among cocaine users.

That’s according to a new analysis of death certificate data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that fentanyl — a cheap synthetic opioid that is a hundred times more potent than morphine — and other opioids were involved in nearly three-fourths of all cocaine overdose deaths and an increasing number of methamphetamine deaths.

In a drug overdose epidemic that has killed more than 700,000 Americans since 1999, state and local officials have been primarily concentrating on opioids, which were involved in nearly 70% of overdose deaths in 2017.

The CDC’s new analysis indicates that public health and law enforcement officials should be just as vigilant when it comes to cocaine, meth and other prescription and illicit drugs of abuse in their communities."

New Online Programming
If you are looking for educational and engaging activities for your kids during this time of social distancing Coalition Rx has you covered! We are working hard to transition our evidence-based programming into online lessons. We are currently posting one video per program a week on our Facebook page and website.

We're also working on Zoom lessons if parents, teachers or students are interested in joining please email and we will get some class times set up!

Below are just a few videos that we have created so far. More videos like these will be uploaded weekly!
Jacob Peterson, Strengthening Families 10-14 Activity
Tammie Dickens, Too Good for Drugs and Violence- Goal Setting Lesson
Carey Pomykata, Wellness Initiative for Senior Education - Interview with OPTI
Help Reduce the Misuse of Substances of Abuse
We provide three evidence-based programs for youth and families. Strengthening Families Program 10-14, Too Good For Drugs and Violence K-8 and WISE. If you are interested in these programs please check out our Facebook page for the virtual lessons we have started in the wake of social distancing guidelines.
Each month Coalition Rx hosts a community meeting. We partner with local experts to discuss the substance abuse issues in our community and how we can combat this epidemic. Due to COVID-19 we are postponing all in-person meetings until restrictions are safely lifted.

Founded in 2015, our mission is to reduce the misuse of all substances of abuse by raising awareness and partnering with community organizations to provide public and professional education, prevention and treatment resources, and policy advocacy.
Carey Pomykata Executive Director
(402) 552-2221