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Morning Medical Update: Hawaii may repay all medical professional debt; Fentanyl overdose rates up 279%; African psychedelic plant inspires new depression drugs


The top news stories in primary care today.

doctor morning coffee © Alena Kryazheva - stock.adobe.com

© Alena Kryazheva - stock.adobe.com

Hawaii may repay medical professional debt

To combat the physician shortage in Hawaii, the Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program may pay off debt for all medical professionals in exchange for working in the state. Proposed repayment rates are $25,000 a year in urban Oahu and $50,000 a year in rural areas. The program has already helped 90 people over the last 10 years. With proper funding, officials say the program could help up to 400 more physicians in the next year.

Fentanyl overdose rates up 279%

Fentanyl is now the deadliest street drug, with overdose rates up 279% since 2016, according to a recent study. “The vast majority of our patients with substance use disorders, even if they don’t know it, they’re primarily using a drug supply that’s primarily fentanyl,” Dr. Allison Lin, an addiction psychiatrist at University of Michigan Medical School, said in a news release.She attributed the rise to how cheap fentanyl is to manufacture and how easy it is to cut with other substances.

African psychedelic plant inspires new depression drugs

Psychoactive molecules from the bark of the African iboga plant have once again caught the attention of scientists. Originally used for medical and ritualistic purposes, scientists in the mid 1900s began to market it in France as a stimulant. Now, clinical trials revealed that low doses are effective in treating addiction, anxiety, and depression in mice.

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