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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
November 27, 2013

Deaths Linked With Rapid Opioid Detox Method Using Anesthesia

JAMA. 2013;310(20):2141. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.281542

Two deaths and 5 hospitalizations among patients who underwent anesthesia-assisted rapid opiate detoxification (AAROD) at a New York City outpatient clinic underscore the need for safe, evidence-based treatments for opioid dependence.

An investigation by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene showed that the implicated clinic, where 75 patients were treated with AAROD from January to September 2012, was the city’s only facility in which patients had complications following the treatment. Those who died or required hospitalization were men whose median age was 31 years. Four used prescription opioids, 2 used prescription opioids and heroin, and 1 used only heroin. Four had psychiatric comorbidities; none had a chronic medical condition.

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