A New Text Message Service for Non-Opioid Pain Medication Info

RxAware is a text messaging service that provides info on alternatives to opioids

Plus: Pharma companies settle a suit with San Francisco, new addiction recovery books and more

By Mark Mravic

New & Next: Tech

Partnership to End Addiction Launches Opioid-Alternative Text Service

The national nonprofit Partnership to End Addiction this week launched a new program called RxAware, aimed at educating those seeking pain relief—including patients, parents and caregivers—on the array of non-opioid medications available to them, as well as ways to reduce the risks associated with opioids. Participants answer a brief online questionnaire on their own or a loved one’s pain management needs, and the program provides personalized text messages that offer tips, tools, information and resources on medication safety and non-addictive pain relief. Users receive immediate text feedback upon completing the questionnaire, and then follow-ups with relevant information on their prescription or their non-opioid pain management strategy.

While the digital service is available anywhere, the Partnership, with support from Walmart, is working closely this summer with local organizations in Kentucky, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee to promote the pilot program.  

“As a country, we are shattering record after record for overdose deaths. We need to do everything we can to reverse this epidemic,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, chief external and government relations officer at Partnership to End Addiction. “Our RxAware tool will empower people with information about alternatives to opioids for pain management as well as what they can do to prevent addiction and overdose. Knowledge is power, and we are grateful to our partners who are helping us to reach families around the country.”

New & Next: Legal

Allergan and Teva to Pay San Francisco

Opioid manufacturers Allergan and Teva have settled a lawsuit filed by San Francisco officials by agreeing to pay $54 million to the city, just before closing arguments were set to start in a trial that began in April. The suit alleged that the companies fueled a surge in addiction and overdoses by flooding the city with prescription opioids and failing to prevent their diversion. The city will receive $34 million in cash and $20 million worth of the overdose-reversal drug Narcan. The lawsuit will proceed against the last remaining defendant, Walmart, which is accused of overdispensing prescriptions without proper guardrails.

New & Next: Books

Amplifying the Voices of Service Members and Veterans in Recovery

A new book, Leave No One Behind, from Hazelden Publishing, offers a compelling perspective on substance use and mental health disorders among active military and veterans. Crowd-sourcing experiences of active service members and veterans in recovery from addiction and mental health issues, the volume offers meditations, insights and words of hope and healing to others in the armed services population who may be struggling with disorders or setting out on their own recovery journey. The entries represent a range of perspectives across gender, age, service experience and branches of the military. In the spirit of the 12 steps, contributors are for the most part identified only by their first name and last initial (some are entirely anonymous), as well as their service branch and their period of service.

“The voices in this book provide daily insights, thoughts and feelings—and a spirit of shared service and solidarity—that others who have served in the military can relate to as they navigate their individual recovery journeys,“ said Alta DeRoo, MD, chief medical officer of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and a 24-year Navy veteran who is in long-term recovery. “We look to the service members and veterans on our left and right—and we leave no one behind.”

Ana Marie Cox Will Recount Her Battle with Alcohol

Noted columnist and commentator Ana Marie Cox—founder of the influential political blog Wonkette and past staffer or contributor to numerous publications, including The New York Times, Time.com, MTV News, GQ, The Guardian and Mother Jones—will detail her struggles with alcohol and her relationship with her alcoholic mother in a new memoir, Just Like Your Mother, the rights of which were sold at auction this week to Random House. In the book, Cox will explore the science of addiction, as well as her relationship with alcohol over the course of her media career, and why, while she and her mother were so much alike, she achieved personally and professionally what her mother could not. Cox’s previous book was a novel, Dog Days, that satirized life in Washington, D.C.

New & Next: Webinars

Entering the Recovery Coach Workforce

On July 20 at 3 p.m. ET, NAADAC is offering the free webinar “Your Journey to Entering the Recovery Coach Workforce.” Aimed particularly at people in recovery who want to apply their lived experience to give back and grow personally, the program will educate participants on joining the burgeoning recovery coach workforce as well as expanding competence in an existing professional field, such as substance use counselor, social worker or counselor. Policy, personal examples and how to craft one’s own journey will be discussed. Presenter Catherine McAlpine, PhD, LCSW-C, has more than three decades of experience in the substance use disorder field, including developing materials and mentorship opportunities for people in recovery to become recovery coaches and peer specialists.

The webinar is free, and participants can earn two CE credits. For more information and to register, go here.

Top photo: Chad Madden