Quality & Science

Editorial Comment 5/11/2021: This Week in the Weekly

by Editor-in-Chief: Dr. William Haning, MD, DFAPA, DFASAM | May 11, 2021

This Week in the Weekly…

The federal government has been making some headlines: the Biden administration is extending a ban on fentanyl-like substances (NBC News), proposing a ban on menthol cigarettes (NY Times), and most importantly (especially if you were a little heartbroken back in January), HHS is relaxing the recommendations to prescribing buprenorphine (HHS.gov).

The scientific publications this week broaden our understanding and appreciation for the complexities of pregnancy, gender, and race in addiction treatment. There are three articles from the Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment with important findings: women with OUD encounter more barriers to receiving methadone treatment, pregnant women of color with OUD receive significantly lower doses of methadone at delivery than white women, and there are lower rates of SUD treatment completion among Black and Hispanic women who are pregnant. All this underscores the need for further research to better understand social and other factors affecting this. The study from Women and Birth takes a look at some of these barriers and facilitators by reviewing the literature and providing a framework for some of the modifiable factors impacting prenatal substance use. There is a nice study from Preventative Medicine analyzing the rates of electronic cigarette use (ENDS) and toxin exposure in women (pregnant and non-pregnant), the most notable outcome being reduced toxin exposure in ENDS users.

Last but not least…for those who have seen first-hand how the pandemic challenged the traditions of delivering care for patients with OUD, please read the Case Report from the Journal of Addiction Medicine. It may speak directly to your experience over this past year.

- Editor-in-Chief: Nicholas Athanasiou, MD , MBA , FASAM