Substance Misuse Prevention Month: Updates & Resources

October is Adult and Youth Substance Misuse Prevention Month. The aim of this month is to raise awareness about the dangers of substance misuse among young people and to promote prevention strategies. Studies have shown that the earlier a young person starts using alcohol or other drugs, the greater their lifetime risk of misuse.  

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the “Talk. They Hear you” campaign, designed to reduce underage drinking substance use.  

For clinical support for patients with substance use disorder (SUD) visit the National Clinician Consultation Center. The NCCC provides free 24/7 consultations from physicians and pharmacists experienced in treating SUD in youth and adult populations. Find more resources at the bottom of this article.

Prescribing Buprenorphine: Rule Change Coming January 2024

A recent bill, AB 1731, removes the requirement for California providers within Emergency Departments to check the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) before prescribing buprenorphine, regardless of prescription length. These changes will take effect on January 1st, 2024. 

Previously, prescriptions written without consulting CURES could not be greater than 7 days and were non-refillable. Although providers are exempted from consulting CURES, the Medical Board of California recommends documenting reasons for exemption on the patient’s record.  

OTC Naloxone 

Earlier this year, the FDA approved two varieties of OTC naloxone. An additional opioid reversal medication, Nalmefene, has been approved for use in community health and clinical settings. According to the AMA’s chair of Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, we should soon see OTC naloxone in gas stations, supermarkets, and convenience stores.  

Within California, qualifying organizations like police departments, libraries, religious organizations, and community clinics, can receive up to 4,800 units of nasal spray naloxone – all for free. Visit the Department of Health Care Service’s (DHCS) Naloxone Distribution Project website for more information. 

A recurrent obstacle to naloxone accessibility is price. Despite recent legislative efforts to make OTC Naloxone free, out of pocket costs range between $50 - $100 and are out of reach for most highest risk populations. 

Adult and Youth Substance Misuse Prevention Resources