Kacie's Cause Newsletter

Kacie’s Cause Newsletter

The volunteers at Kacie’s Cause periodically publish a newsletter highlighting the actions of our members and reporting on new trends occurring in the battle against Substance Use Disorder. To view our most recent newsletter, click here.

Recent News Articles

As states crack down on Xylazine, a new veterinary tranquilizer is already taking its place- Medetomidine

PA Groundhogs Public Health Alert, April 27-May 17, 2024

MEDETOMIDINE, a veterinary tranquilizer reported to be magnitudes stronger than xylazine, infiltrated Pennsylvania’s illicit opioid supply at the end of April, and in a manner of weeks has made its way to Chicago, where it’s suspected of causing a wave of “overdoses” last weekend.

Clean Slate 3.0 Law expands record-sealing ability in PA

Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, February 7, 2024

Starting Feb. 12, 2024, more Pennsylvania residents with criminal records will have more chances for a fresh start. The new law expands record-sealing, and shortens the timeframe. Record-sealing helps people get better opportunities for jobs, housing & education.

Some PA drug courts will be required to allow participants to take opioid addiction medicine

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 12, 2024

Drug courts from several PA counties which previously forbade participants from taking maintenance drugs like methadone and buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder will now be required to allow their use when properly supervised.

CDC Warns that “Neptune’s Fix”- ‘gas station heroin’ may contain synthetic pot

NBC News, February 1, 2024

The highly addictive and dangerous supplement Neptune’s Fix — also known as gas station heroin — may be contaminated with different types of synthetic pot, chemicals that have been linked to life-threatening effects such as seizures, brain swelling and hallucinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Experimental Ultrasound Treatment Targeting Brains In Trials To Help Those With Alzheimer’s, Drug Addiction

CBS News. January 14, 2024

Ground breaking research using ultrasound therapy to treat both Alzheimer’s and Substance Use Disorder is being conducted at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute in Morgantown, West Virginia.


Kennett Square Police Department Now Offering Free Medication Lock Boxes, family help books, and resource cards

Thanks to a partnership with the Chester County Department of Drug & Alcohol Services, the Kennett Square Police Department is now offering free resources to community members in both English and Spanish.

Narcan, now available without a prescription, can still be hard to get

Philadelphia Inquirer  October 28, 2023

Experts worry that its unpredictable retail price, sporadic availability on store shelves, or general consumer confusion about potentially having to ask a pharmacist to retrieve it will mean that fewer people than expected will purchase Narcan to have it at the ready when an overdose occurs.

‘This isn’t some random dude with a duffel bag’: To catch fentanyl traffickers, feds dig into crypto markets

CNN.com  August 5, 2023

The Biden administration has intensified its focus on tracing cryptocurrency payments that some of the most dangerous Mexican drug cartels use to buy fentanyl ingredients from Chinese chemical companies.

New Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services Available In Exton

Patch.com  July 13, 2023

Chester County has partnered with MVP Recovery to provide drug-and-alcohol treatment.

Drugs and untreated mental health issues are killing America’s kids. You can help stop it

Dr. Rahul Gupta and Dr. Vivek Murthy- Opinion contributors.  USA Today.  July 10, 2023

As a nation, we know how to address the twin crises of untreated mental illness and unsafe substance use, and by working together, we can provide families with access to lifesaving treatment, prevent substance use and drug poisoning and suicide deaths, and ensure young people have the tools they need to thrive.

Why one expert says America’s fentanyl crisis has geopolitical roots

npr  May 29. 2023

NPR’s Juana Summers talks with Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, about the geopolitics of fentanyl and the opioid crisis at large.

Shapiro Administration Awards $4 Million For Regional Recovery Hubs Across Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Pressroom  April 12, 2023

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) announced $4 million in grant funding for the establishment of regional recovery hubs to enhance resources for individuals in recovery and promote recovery within communities across Pennsylvania.

Naloxone has been hailed as life-saving. Why isn’t it given to those who need it?

The Guardian  May 19, 2023

The spray can reverse an opioid overdose and access to it has been eased in recent months, but access is still limited

Understanding Xylazine: An Emerging Concern

Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network  April 27, 2023

Xylazine (“tranq”) is a non-opioid sedative and tranquilizer, often found in powder or liquid form. In the United States, it is only approved as medicine for veterinary use, however, human consumption of xylazine—often injected in combination with opioids—is a growing trend across much of the country.

As fentanyl deaths surge, some state lawmakers push back against ‘harm reduction’

npr  May 4, 2023

Despite the recent surge in overdose deaths lawmakers in many states, including Pennsylvania, are pushing back against harm reduction strategies aimed at reducing such deaths

‘El Chapo’ sons charged with smuggling cheap fentanyl to US

AP May 1, 2023

With Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán serving a life sentence, his sons steered the family business into fentanyl, establishing a network of labs churning out massive quantities of the cheap, deadly drug that they smuggled into the U.S., prosecutors revealed in a recent indictment.

Quiet and parents’ touch help opiate users’ newborns: Study

AP April 30, 2023

Babies born to opioid users had shorter hospital stays and needed less medication when their care emphasized parent involvement, skin-to-skin contact and a quiet environment, researchers reported.

ADHD medication abuse in schools is a “wakeup call”

CNN  April 25, 2023

At some middle and high schools in the United States, 1 in 4 teens report they’ve abused prescription stimulants.

Shapiro Administration Awards $4 Million For Regional Recovery Hubs Across Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Press Room  April 12, 2023

The funding will allow each regional recovery hub to conduct an initial needs assessment for recovery support services in their specific region, including an estimate of individuals in need of these services and an analysis of their availability and accessibility. In addition, the hubs will develop a strategic plan, partnering with local organizations, that focuses on the importance of supporting multiple pathways to and through recovery, and will seek to promote recovery services in areas including peer support, family support, and self-care.

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan.  Here’s what it means

AP News  March 29, 2023

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved selling the leading version of naloxone without a prescription, setting the overdose-reversing drug on course to become the first opioid treatment drug to be sold over the counter. Narcan should be available over the counter by late 2024.

Xylazine test strips available to help users check for animal sedative in drugs

CNN March 28, 2023

Commonly called “tranq” or “tranq dope,” xylazine has not been approved for human use. The drug has heavy sedative effects like an opioid but isn’t one, so it doesn’t respond to the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone, also known as Narcan. The strips are inserted into a mixture of water and the drug to be tested, and they return a positive result when xylazine is present. However, they cannot test for quantity or potency of the drug.

Multiple Substance Use Disorders May Share Inherited Genetic Signature

Neurosciencenews.com   March 22, 2023

A common genetic signature has been linked to an increased risk of substance use disorders from smoking addiction to addiction to narcotics. The findings could pave the way to the development of new therapies for substance use disorder and may help diagnose those at risk of multiple substance use disorders.

Increase in mortality rate among kids, teens largest in decades: research

THE HILL March 14, 2023

The number of deaths from drug overdose for those ages 10-19 increased by 113.5% from 2020-2021.

Mexican pharmacies are selling pills to U.S. travelers laced with deadly fentanyl

npr  March 14, 2023

Mexican pharmacies that cater to U.S. tourists are selling medications that appear safe but are frequently laced with deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Rapid response with Narcan revives high school student following collapse

WGAL 8  March 11, 2023

The West Shore School District says a student collapsed in the cafeteria of Red Land High School on Friday. According to the district, the quick reaction and the quick response from nurses and the Fairview Township EMS likely saved the student’s life. The Superintendent of schools sent a letter to district parents urging them to speak with their children about the dangers of some illegal vaping substances that have been found to contain dangerous compounds, including fentanyl.

What on Earth is a BORG?

The New York Times March 9, 2023

Many college students seem to love this alcohol-heavy concoction. College officials, not so much.

Fentanyl Vaccine  Potential “Game Changer” for Opioid Epidemic

University of Houston News  November 14, 2022

Study suggests new vaccine developed at the University of Houston could prevent fentanyl from entering the brain. Clinical trials to start soon.

An opioid up to 40 times stronger than fentanyl rising in cities across the US
NEWSNATION  January 27, 2023

Nitazene is a synthetic opioid which is mainly produced in China and sold to drug dealers across the country.  Overdoses can require up to 4 doses of Naloxone to be reversed.

Social media platforms face pressure to stop online drug dealers who target kids
npr  January 26, 2023

Drug dealers are using social media platforms, such as Snapchat, to market and process illicit drug orders.  There are increasing calls for social media outlets to take action to address this trend.

Easing prescription rules for opioid treatment meds did not increase overdose deaths, study finds
CBS News  January 20. 2023

new study shows that reducing restrictions on buprenorphine, a medication that can treat opioid use disorder, did not lead to an increase in overdose deaths involving the treatment. The findings may help allay concerns that making buprenorphine more widely available could lead to more overdose deaths.

Xylazine, the animal tranquilizer contaminating Philly’s opioid supply, causes serious wounds and withdrawal that many providers don’t know how to treat

The Philadelphia Inquirer  January 17, 2023

It’s most often used to cut fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid that has replaced most of the city’s heroin. Because tranq is not an opioid, people who use opioids laced with it are at risk for overdoses that are harder to treat with naloxone, the opioid overdose-reversing drug.

Naloxone is reaching more people than ever
CNN January 13, 2023

Research suggests that the Naloxone supply needs to be much more prevalent and saturated throughout the population to make a significant difference in reducing overdose deaths. Greater amounts of Naloxone are needed to revive many overdose victims due to the potency of fentanyl. Experts said the most meaningful work in the fight against the devastating outcomes of the drug overdose epidemic will come with ongoing emphasis on treatment for opioid use disorder and other harm-reduction strategies.

In Study, Reminder Letters Helped Doctors Make Safer Choices Prescribing Opioids
US News & World Report January 10, 2023

New research found that reminding doctors to check a prescription database before prescribing opioids increased their engagement with the program, having the potential to create more informed prescribing.

Addictive Behavior Linked to Personality and Psychopathology
Neurosciencenews.com  December 29, 2022

A new study links substance use disorder to specific personality traits and certain psychological disorders. Researchers found those who scored high for the personality trait of neuroticism and those with depression and anxiety were at greater risk of SUD. Taken together, depressive and anxiety symptoms appear to be possible intervention targets to break the self- sustaining system of SUD.

ISO: What You Need to Know About The Deadly New Drug
Medcitynews.com  December 21, 2022

ISO, short for isotonatizine, is a new synthetic opioid 20x more potent than fentanyl.

 Negative drug test not a basis to deny treatment
PA Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) information bulletin December 6, 2022

Effective January 1, 2023 – Act 1 of the DDAP’s State plan shall provide additional standards for all SUD treatment in PA that “prohibit private and public treatment facilities from denying addiction treatment to an individual due solely to a negative result on a drug test.”

DEA seized enough fentanyl to kill every American in 2022
abc News  December 20, 2022

Officials seized more than 50 million fentanyl-laced pills this year

Naloxone Would Be Mandated In All PA Public High Schools Under Proposed Bill

Patch.com  December 16, 2022

The bill, if passed, will mandate that all public high schools in Pennsylvania keep the opioid overdose reversing drug Naloxone on school premises.  The bill would empower school nurses, teachers, and other trained staff members to administer Naloxone should a person experience an opioid overdose.

The White House is now tracking non-fatal overdoses by state.  Why that’s important
USA Today  December 8, 2022

The White House launched a national data dashboard that for the first time tracks the rate of nonfatal opioid overdoses across the country, which health experts say will help accurately target resources to areas hit hard by the opioid epidemic.

Parents, You Need Narcan
SLATE  December 4, 2022

It’s safe. You can get if for free. If you have a teenager, don’t wait.

Dad shares warning after 10-month-old treated for possible fentanyl exposure at park
abc NEWS December 2, 2022

A California father is speaking out after one of his twin boys was treated for possible fentanyl exposure after playing at a popular San Francisco park.

A Vaccine Against Deadly Fentanyl May Be Near
US News November 17, 2022

The shot would block the ability of fentanyl to enter the brain and cause the “high” that users crave. It could be used to prevent relapses in people trying to quit opioids, once it gets through clinical trials.