MMWR Summary for March 31, 2017
Screening for Excessive Alcohol Use and Brief Counseling of Adults — 17 States and the District of Columbia, 2014
Although not routinely done, alcohol screening and brief counseling is recommended for all adults during routine medical visits with their primary healthcare provider as an effective way to reduce excessive alcohol use. Most adult binge drinkers who were asked about their alcohol use during a checkup reported that they did not receive advice about the harms nor were they advised to drink less by their health professional. Binge drinking is five or more drinks on an occasion for men and four or more for women. It may be that the health professionals did not know their patients were binge drinkers because although 3 in 4 adults reported being asked about their alcohol use, only 1 in 3 were asked in a way to identify binge drinking, a type of excessive alcohol use. Routine alcohol screening and brief counseling, as recommended, would include developing a plan to reduce drinking among people who drink excessively, like binge drinkers.
Methadone Prescribing and Overdose and the Association with Medicaid Preferred Drug List Policies — United States 2007–2014
While methadone is frequently involved in drug overdoses, there is evidence that effective state-based policies that encourage safe prescribing are associated with fewer methadone overdoses. A recent CDC study found that in 2014, methadone accounted for approximately 1 percent of all opioid prescriptions, but methadone-related deaths accounted for about 23 percent of all prescription opioid-related mortality. Drug overdose deaths involving methadone have declined 39 percent since 2007. Despite this decline, methadone continues to account for a large proportion of prescription opioid-related deaths. Opioid prescribing is higher among Medicaid enrollees, signaling an opportunity for intervention. There was a higher rate of methadone overdoses in a state with a Medicaid payment policy in which methadone was a “preferred drug” for pain and with routine reimbursement for the drug than in a state without such a policy. This suggests that Medicaid enrollees might benefit from policies that require review and justification for use of methadone for pain.
Sodium Intake Among Persons Aged ≥2 years — United States, 2013–2014
Knowing which common foods are the biggest contributors to sodium in your diet is an important step in reducing sodium intake. Reducing sodium intake can reduce blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This report, based on the most recent NHANES data from 2013-2014, found that 70 percent of sodium intake comes from just 25 foods, most of which are purchased at stores or restaurants. A variety of commonly consumed foods contribute to U.S. sodium intake, emphasizing the importance of sodium reduction across the food supply.