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posted by martyb on Wednesday May 02 2018, @01:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-use-no-fake-opiods? dept.

Synthetics now killing more people than prescription opioids, report says

Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have overtaken prescription opioids as the No. 1 killer in the opioid epidemic, according to a new report.

The report, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA [DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.2844] [DX], calculated the number and percentage of synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States between 2010 and 2016 using death certificates from the National Vital Statistics System. The researchers found that about 46% of the 42,249 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, while 40% involved prescription drugs.

That's more than a three-fold increase in the presence of synthetic opioids from 2010, when synthetic drugs were involved in approximately 14% of opioid-overdose deaths.

Related: Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Study Finds Stark Increase in Opioid-Related Admissions, Deaths in Nation's ICUs
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
Purdue Pharma to Cut Sales Force, Stop Marketing Opioids to Doctors
The More Opioids Doctors Prescribe, the More Money They Make
Two More Studies Link Access to Cannabis to Lower Use of Opioids


Original Submission

Related Stories

Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid 32 comments

When customers want a longer-lasting high, heroin dealers respond by augmenting their products with drugs like carfentanil:

A powerful drug that's normally used to tranquilize elephants is being blamed for a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says communities everywhere should be on alert for carfentanil. The synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the prescription painkiller that led to the death earlier this year of the pop star Prince. Fentanyl itself can be up to 50 times more deadly than heroin.

In the past few years, traffickers in illegal drugs increasingly have substituted fentanyl for heroin and other opioids. Now carfentanil [alt link] is being sold on American streets, either mixed with heroin or pressed into pills that look like prescription drugs. Many users don't realize that they're buying carfentanil. And that has deadly consequences.

"Instead of having four or five overdoses in a day, you're having these 20, 30, 40, maybe even 50 overdoses in a day," says Tom Synan, who directs the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force in Southwest Ohio. He's also the police chief in Newtown, Ohio. Synan says carfentanil turned up in Cincinnati in July. At times, the number of overdoses has overwhelmed first responders. "Their efforts are truly heroic, to be going from call to call to call," he says. "One district alone had seen 14 in one shift, so they were nonstop."

First responders and emergency room workers are being told to wear protective gloves and masks. That's because carfentanil is so potent, it can be dangerous to someone who simply touches or inhales it. This was devastatingly clear back in 2002, after a hostage rescue operation in Moscow that went wrong. To overpower Chechen terrorists who'd seized control of a theater, Russian Special Forces sprayed a chemical aerosol into the building. More than 100 hostages were overcome and died. Laboratory tests by British investigators later revealed [open, DOI: 10.1093/jat/bks078] [DX] that the aerosol included carfentanil.

In the article about the DEA adding kratom to Schedule I, I mentioned an "unprecedented" amount of "heroin" overdoses in Cincinnati. The carfentanil-cut heroin boosted the overdose tally to 174 in 6 days (225 in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and New Jersey):

Deaths have not spiked along with the overdose reports because police officers or emergency medical technicians are immediately administering naloxone, sometimes in more than one dose, to bring heroin users back to consciousness and start them breathing.


Original Submission

Study Finds Stark Increase in Opioid-Related Admissions, Deaths in Nation's ICUs 25 comments

Since 2009, hospital intensive care units have witnessed a stark increase in opioid-related admissions and deaths, according to new study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s (BIDMC) Center for Healthcare Delivery Science. Published online today ahead of print in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, the study is believed to be the first to quantify the impact of opioid abuse on critical care resources in the United States. The findings reveal that opioid-related demand for acute care services has outstripped the available supply.

Analyzing data from the period between January 1, 2009 and September 31, 2015, the researchers documented a 34 percent increase in overdose-related ICU admissions. The average cost of care per ICU overdose admissions rose by 58 percent, from $58,517 in 2009 to $92,408 in 2015 (in 2015 dollars). Meanwhile opioid deaths in the ICU nearly doubled during that same period. "This study tells us that the opioid epidemic has made people sicker and killed more people, in spite of all the care we can provide in the ICU, including mechanical ventilation, acute dialysis, life support and round-the-clock care," said the study's lead author, Jennifer P. Stevens, MD, associate director of the medical intensive care unit at BIDMC and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

[...] These data not only document the scope of the opioid abuse epidemic, they also reveal its complexity. Stevens and colleagues suggest that any opioid overdose-related admission is a preventable one, and that the team's findings not only represent the need for increased acute care resources, but also for expanded opioid-abuse prevention and treatment.

The article is paywalled but there is an abstract: The Critical Care Crisis of Opioid Overdoses in the United States

Source

-- submitted from IRC


Original Submission

U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis 64 comments

There were 42,249 deaths due to opioid overdoses in 2016, compared to a projected 41,070 deaths from breast cancer in 2017 (42,640 in 2015). U.S. life expectancy has dropped for the second year in a row:

The increase largely stemmed from the continued escalation of deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which jumped to 19,410 in 2016 from 9,580 in 2015 and 5,540 in 2014, according to a TFAH analysis of the report.

[...] The surge in overdose deaths has depressed recent gains in U.S. life expectancy, which fell to an average age of 78.6, down 0.1 year from 2015 and marking the first two-year drop since 1962-1963.

In a separate report, the CDC linked the recent steep increases in hepatitis C infections to increases in opioid injection.

Researchers used a national database that tracks substance abuse admissions to treatment facilities in all 50 U.S. states. They found a 133 percent increase in acute hepatitis C cases that coincided with a 93 percent increase in admissions for opioid injection between 2004 to 2014.

From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


Original Submission

Purdue Pharma to Cut Sales Force, Stop Marketing Opioids to Doctors 46 comments

Pain Pill Giant Purdue to Stop Promotion of Opioids to Doctors

Pain-pill giant Purdue Pharma LP will stop promoting its opioid drugs to doctors, a retreat after years of criticism that the company's aggressive sales efforts helped lay the foundation of the U.S. addiction crisis.

The company told employees this week that it would cut its sales force by more than half, to 200 workers. It plans to send a letter Monday to doctors saying that its salespeople will no longer come to their clinics to talk about the company's pain products.

"We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers," the company said in a statement. Instead, any questions doctors have will be directed to the Stamford, Connecticut-based company's medical affairs department.

OxyContin, approved in 1995, is the closely held company's biggest-selling drug, though sales of the pain pill have declined in recent years amid competition from generics. It generated $1.8 billion in 2017, down from $2.8 billion five years earlier, according to data compiled by Symphony Health Solutions. It also sells the painkiller Hysingla.

Oxycodone.

Also at Reuters, USA Today, The Verge, and CNN.

Previously: City of Everett, Washington Sues OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma
OxyContin's 12-Hour Problem
South Carolina Sues OxyContin Maker Purdue

Related: Opioid Crisis Partly Blamed on a 1980 Letter to the New England Journal of Medicine
President Trump Declares the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency
Study Finds Stark Increase in Opioid-Related Admissions, Deaths in Nation's ICUs
CVS Limits Opioid Prescriptions
Congress Reacts to Reports that a 2016 Law Hindered DEA's Ability to go after Opioid Distributors
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan


Original Submission

The More Opioids Doctors Prescribe, the More Money They Make 95 comments

CNN Exclusive: The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make (archive)

The data:

The CNN/Harvard analysis looked at 2014 and 2015, during which time more than 811,000 doctors wrote prescriptions to Medicare patients. Of those, nearly half wrote at least one prescription for opioids.

Fifty-four percent of those doctors -- more than 200,000 physicians -- received a payment from pharmaceutical companies that make opioids.

Among doctors in the top 25th percentile of opioid prescribers by volume, 72% received payments. Among those in the top fifth percentile, 84% received payments. Among the very biggest prescribers -- those in the top 10th of 1% -- 95% received payments.

On average, doctors whose opioid prescription volume ranked among the top 5% nationally received twice as much money from the opioid manufacturers, compared with doctors whose prescription volume was in the median. Doctors in the top 1% of opioid prescribers received on average four times as much money as the typical doctor. Doctors in the top 10th of 1%, on average, received nine times more money than the typical doctor. [...]

Some studies have looked at whether the amount of money a doctor receives makes a difference. Studies by researchers at Yale University, the George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health and Harvard Medical School have all found that the more money physicians are paid by pharmaceutical companies, the more likely they are to prescribe certain drugs.

The story:

Angela Cantone says she wishes she had known that opioid manufacturers were paying her doctor hundreds of thousands of dollars; it might have prompted her to question his judgment.

Two More Studies Link Access to Cannabis to Lower Use of Opioids 18 comments

Marijuana legalization could help offset opioid epidemic, studies find

Experts have proposed using medical marijuana to help Americans struggling with opioid addiction. Now, two studies suggest that there is merit to that strategy.

The studies, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine [open, DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0266] [DX], compared opioid prescription patterns in states that have enacted medical cannabis laws with those that have not. One of the studies looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D between 2010 and 2015, while the other looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicaid between 2011 and 2016.

The researchers found that states that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes had 2.21 million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed per year under Medicare Part D, compared with those states without medical cannabis laws. Opioid prescriptions under Medicaid also dropped by 5.88% in states with medical cannabis laws compared with states without such laws, according to the studies.

"This study adds one more brick in the wall in the argument that cannabis clearly has medical applications," said David Bradford, professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia and a lead author of the Medicare study. "And for pain patients in particular, our work adds to the argument that cannabis can be effective."

Also at the Washington Post.

Association of Medical and Adult-Use Marijuana Laws With Opioid Prescribing for Medicaid Enrollees (open, DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.1007) (DX)

Previously:
Study: Legal Weed Far Better Than Drug War at Stopping Opioid Overdose Epidemic
Opioid Commission Drops the Ball, Demonizes Cannabis


Original Submission

120 Pounds (54 kg) of Fentanyl Seized in Nebraska 35 comments

Record US fentanyl bust 'enough to kill 26 million people'

Nearly 120lbs (54kg) of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller, has been seized by police in Nebraska - one of the largest busts in US history.

The drugs, seized last month, could kill over 26 million people, according to estimates by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Police found the fentanyl in a fake compartment of a lorry. The driver and a passenger were arrested.

[...] It was the largest seizure of fentanyl in state history, Nebraska State Patrol said in a Twitter post on Thursday.

[...] Just 2mg of fentanyl - or a few grains of table salt - is a lethal dosage for most people, and even exposure can cause a fatal reaction, according to the DEA.

Another estimate: they could make 260 million people pain-free for a day.

Bonus story:

Mussels test positive for opioids in Seattle's Puget Sound

Scientists at the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife have found that mussels in Seattle's waters are testing positive for opioids. The finding suggests "a lot of people" are taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound, researchers say.

Also at the Puget Sound Institute.

Related: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Cop Brushes Fentanyl Off Uniform, Overdoses
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl
"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S.
British Medical Journal Calls for Legalizing All Drugs


Original Submission

U.S. Opioid Deaths May be Plateauing 19 comments

Opioid Deaths May Be Starting To Plateau, HHS Chief Says

The American opioid crisis is far from over, but early data indicate the number of deaths are beginning to level off, according to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing "encouraging" results in overdose trends.

[...] In 2017, the number of Americans dying from opioid overdoses rose to 72,000 from 64,000 the previous year. However, according to new provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control, the numbers stopped rising toward the end of 2017, a trend that has continued into the beginning of this year. It is "finally bending in the right direction," Azar said. He added that the death toll flattening out is "hardly a victory," especially at such high levels. Current government statistics show that opioids kill over 115 Americans each day.

[...] On Wednesday, President Trump is expected to sign a bill recently passed by Congress that expands Medicaid opioid treatment programs and workforce training initiatives, and supports FDA research to find new options for non-opioid pain relief.

It's Too Soon to Celebrate the End of the Opioid Epidemic

While we don't know why deaths have begun to fall, experts say there are a few likely reasons. Doctors are prescribing fewer painkillers. More states are making naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses, widely available. And it's possible that more addicts have started medication-assisted therapies like buprenorphine, which is how France solved its own opioid epidemic years ago. Indeed, the states with the biggest declines in overdose deaths were those like Vermont that have used evidence-based, comprehensive approaches to tackling opioid addiction.

[...] Still, it's possible this is a "false dawn," as Keith Humphreys, an addiction expert at Stanford University, put it to me. "Opioid-overdose deaths did not increase from 2011 to 2012, and many people declared that the tide was turning. But in 2013, they began racing up again," he said. Deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl are still rising, as are those from methamphetamines.

Related: President Trump Declares the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S.
Tens or Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Needed to Combat Opioid Crisis?
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Opioid Legislation; China Will Step Up Cooperation
The Dutch Supply Heroin Addicts With Dope and Get Better Results Than USA


Original Submission

FDA Approves Powerful Opioid in Tablet Form: Sufentanil (Dsuvia) 31 comments

FDA approves powerful new opioid in 'terrible' decision

The Food and Drug Administration approved a powerful new opioid Friday, despite strong criticism and accusations that it bypassed its own advisory process to do it.

The new drug, Dsuvia, is a tablet that goes under the tongue. It is designed for use in the battlefield and in other emergency situations to treat intense, acute pain.

Known generically as sufentanil, it's a new formulation of a drug currently given intravenously. Critics say it will be incredibly easy for health workers to pocket and divert the drug to the illicit drug market and because it is so small and concentrated, it will likely kill people who overdose on it.

"This is a dangerous, reckless move," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe senior adviser of Public Citizen's Health Research Group. He questions whether there's need for yet another synthetic opioid when the U.S. is in the throes of an opioid overdose crisis.

Sufentanil is described as 5 to 10 times more potent than fentanyl and 500 times as potent as morphine. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, but is only approved for the veterinary use of tranquilizing large animals. Sufentanil is the strongest opioid painkiller available for use in humans.

Cannabis and kratom? Exercise caution!

Also at STAT News, NPR, and The Hill.

See also: People on front lines of epidemic fear powerful new drug Dsuvia

Related:


Original Submission

CDC Report Says That Fentanyl is the Deadliest Drug in America 22 comments

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms

Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to a new government report. The latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics say that the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid skyrocketed by about 113% each year from 2013 through 2016.

The number of total drug overdoses jumped 54% each year between 2011 and 2016. In 2016, there were 63,632 drug overdose deaths.

[...] In 2016, over 18,000 overdose deaths involved fentanyl, and 16,000 fatalities were due to heroin.

China recently agreed to reclassify fentanyl as a controlled substance to curb sales to the U.S. Will that agreement hold given ongoing trade war tensions?

Also at CBS.

Related: U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl
"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S.
120 Pounds (54 kg) of Fentanyl Seized in Nebraska
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Opioid Legislation; China Will Step Up Cooperation
The Dutch Supply Heroin Addicts With Dope and Get Better Results Than USA
U.S. Opioid Deaths May be Plateauing


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Gaaark on Wednesday May 02 2018, @01:28AM (2 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @01:28AM (#674386) Journal

    I guess there's too much profit in synthetics.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfIuSUvJ4jw [youtube.com]

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @01:43AM (15 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @01:43AM (#674396)

    You don't have to take any of these drugs.

    It comes down to personal responsibility, regardless of whether the drugs are legal or not.

    Respect yourself enough not to do bad things to yourself. That also goes for tobacco and alcohol.

    ( cue the replies from people who don't understand that all of life is the summation of choices we make for ourselves ; these people would have you believe that someone else is responsible for stupid things people do to themselves. )

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:06AM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:06AM (#674407) Journal

      Man you are so missing out.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by sjames on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:11AM (4 children)

      by sjames (2882) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:11AM (#674408) Journal

      You DO know that many people who get addicted start out taking opoids for legitimate medical reasons, yes?

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:31AM (3 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:31AM (#674414) Homepage Journal

        And, we also need to point out that "many people" is not "all people", or even "most people". Those addicts with whom I am personally acquainted all CHOSE to get high that first time. One brother in law is a possible exception - he's had health problems all his life, including being a bleeder. He *maybe* accidentally got addicted to the stuff he abuses. None of my other immediate acquaintances were addicted while under a doctor's care.

        The idea of getting addicted while undergoing treatment for life threatening illness/injury has always existed. But, only in very recent years has it become a wide ranging, very serious problem. Washington listened to some lobbyist's bullshit, and relaxed regulations on opioids, and within a decade, we had an opioid crisis.

        I have already related how I was given morphine by an ambulance crew, when there was simply no need for morphine. Pain? What pain? If I were in pain, I'm pretty damned sure that I would have known all about it. I can recall all of my injuries from six decades of life that involved severe pain. I exclude the first year or two - I DO NOT remember breaking my arm as a baby.

        Maybe we need to do some research, to learn why people get high the first time. I suspect that peer pressure plays a greater role than just about anything else.

        --
        Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by sjames on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:31AM (2 children)

          by sjames (2882) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:31AM (#674450) Journal

          Sure, many people are the author of their own addiction, but I was replying to a post that offered no exceptions. I pointed out that there ARE exceptions.

          The problem is many fold. Part of it is that the restrictions are too tight. Doctors cut patients off cold turkey so the DEA doesn't breathe down their necks and then the addicted patient has little to no way to deal with it that doesn't involve admitting to a crime. The FDA dropped the ball in a few cases letting manufacturers get away with claiming that some of the riskier opioids were practically risk free.

          And part of it is just fluffing the figures. The hospice care patient that ODed 20 years ago would be said to have died of whatever terminal condition was causing all the pain in the first place. Now it's called an opioid death.

          As for your case in the ambulance, there are possible explanations. First, pain doesn't always set in right away. They might have anticipated that it was about to get really bad. Two, sometimes even when you aren't experiencing the pain consciously, there is an undesirable physiological reaction that opioids might stop. There may be others, but not knowing the exact circumstances it's hard to say. I know I once got quite a dose of demerol in spite of not being in much pain so the surgeon could get my muscles to relax enough to reattach a tendon.

          If the feds were serious about actually fixing the problem there would be a push to legalize at least medical marijuana since it is known to reduce the need for opioids.

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:54AM (1 child)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:54AM (#674480) Journal

            there would be a push to legalize at least medical marijuana since it is known to reduce the need for opioids.

            Ah, what planet have you been vacationing on where you haven't heard that the majority of states already have legal medical marijuana?

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Wednesday May 02 2018, @07:13AM

              by sjames (2882) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @07:13AM (#674482) Journal

              I said the *FEDS*. On what planet are the feds anything but entrenched against legalization?

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:20AM (3 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:20AM (#674412) Homepage Journal

      Are you serious? A person isn't forced to take this shit?

      All these years, I thought the cartels sent high squads into the inner cities, kidnapped unsuspecting citizens, and shot them full of addictive drugs.

      Are you telling me that's not how things are?

      --
      Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
      • (Score: -1) by fakefuck39 on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:44AM (2 children)

        by fakefuck39 (6620) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:44AM (#674453)

        For some reason I see this retarded comment and have this weird feeling of "oh, this is one of those regular people who thinks they're smart. Finally figured out why. this thyme the guy reads the 1st line, pretends the rest of the post doesn't exist. How dumb do you have to be. Then I finally remembered. This dude, a few months ago, was confused about the difference between an atom and a molecule. I gave the example of Splenda and elemental Cl, table salt and Cl, nothing. Still kept saying quarts is a transparent metal or some shit like that. The true definition of faggot. Have you met cdreimer from greenville? kick the bit bucket buddy, kick that shit with your foot.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @01:13AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04 2018, @01:13AM (#675408)

          "thyme"

          • (Score: -1) by fakefuck39 on Saturday May 05 2018, @11:54AM

            by fakefuck39 (6620) on Saturday May 05 2018, @11:54AM (#676039)

            that's the only error you noticed? you need to learn some grammar. I have this game I play here - it's called setting up people who think they're smart so they provide me with entertanement while I'm taking a shit. or, you know, I could not know how to spell "time" - that's certainly a possibility too. thanks for letting me know.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:22AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:22AM (#674472)

      It's so easy to be smug until it isn't.

      First, you've got people who get seriously injured and become
      physically and/or psychologically dependent. They didn't choose
      get in a car accident, or have severe arthritis, or slip a disk. It just
      happened. Next thing you know the pills run out and they go through
      physical withdrawal. This is how too many people find out that they're
      prone to addiction.

      Secondly, some people are more prone than others. There
      are probably foods you like and don't like. Why? Hard to say.
      Same deal with drugs. Me, personally, I've had morphine once several years ago.
      It was a really good pain killer. That's it. I actually didn't like the
      rush at all. I liked not being in severe pain; but that's it. Other people?
      They get that first hit and it's like they found God.

      Are there people who are jackasses who tried these things
      just for thrills and became addicts? You bet. That's not everybody
      though.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:38AM (2 children)

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:38AM (#674507) Journal

      cue the replies from people who don't understand that all of life is the summation of choices we make for ourselves ; these people would have you believe that someone else is responsible for stupid things people do to themselves

      How am I responsible for the stupidity of your comment and how can I chose to avoid it without leaving S/N?
      'cause certainly your comment killed some of my neurons.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:02PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:02PM (#674658)

        Can't handle the political ideologies that ignore reality in favor of sound-bites that make people feel better about their "fuck you got mine" mentality? Sheesh, what a little emotional sand flea you are!!/s

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday May 02 2018, @10:00PM

          by c0lo (156) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @10:00PM (#674789) Journal

          But of course you were going to miss the point in favour of an ad hominem.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:05PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:05PM (#674686) Journal

      You don't have to take any of these drugs.

      Sometimes they don't even know they are!

      Prince being a recent example. [latimes.com]

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by sjames on Wednesday May 02 2018, @01:58AM (9 children)

    by sjames (2882) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @01:58AM (#674400) Journal

    Fentanyl is both synthetic and prescription. What in the hell are they trying to say?

    So if a terminal patient receiving palliative care dies when they go over the threshold with their prescribed fentanyl in an effort to be fairly comfortable or literally die trying, do they count that as a death due to synthetic opoid or prescription? or do they put a hash in both columns for that one?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:00AM (8 children)

      This is just what happens when you let journalists cover things that take even a modicum of intelligence to grasp.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:16AM (7 children)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:16AM (#674411) Journal

        Here's the abstract:

        Drug overdose deaths are at unprecedented levels in the United States.1 Prescription opioids have been the most common drug involved in overdose deaths, but heroin and synthetic opioids (primarily illicit fentanyl) are increasingly implicated in overdoses.2 In addition, synthetic opioids are increasingly found in illicit drug supplies of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and counterfeit pills.3 To date, the involvement of synthetic opioids in overdose deaths involving other drugs is not well characterized, limiting the ability to implement effective clinical and public health strategies. Using 2010-2016 mortality data, we describe recent trends for synthetic opioid involvement in drug overdose deaths.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:28AM (6 children)

          Right. This is not the first time we've discussed a journalist looking at an abstract and going "uh, duh?" though. Not even the first time this week.

          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:44AM (3 children)

            by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:44AM (#674417) Journal

            Eh? The abstract basically uses the same "synthetic opioid vs. prescription opioid" language as the CNN article.

            --
            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday May 02 2018, @03:00AM (2 children)

              A) I can see how that one sentence could be read that way but it's not the only way it could be read.
              B) Having half a clue what they're reporting on so they could catch obvious errors like that would be rather nice.

              Yall Eds would certainly get your chops busted for making that mistake. I don't see why professional journalists that get paid actual money to do the job should get a pass.

              --
              My rights don't end where your fear begins.
              • (Score: 4, Informative) by arslan on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:02AM (1 child)

                by arslan (3462) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:02AM (#674455)

                Eh? They get paid to do stories? I thought they get paid to shill whatever political propaganda their outfit is funded by. The stories are just to pass time and make it look like they're a real news outlet.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @03:04PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @03:04PM (#674590)

                  yeah.

                  saying synthetic is different than prescription sounds more like they are saying propaganda than any specific differences.

                  They do the same thing.

                  Perhaps they meant to say "drugs not providing revenue to the pharmaceutical industry"

          • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Wednesday May 02 2018, @07:59AM (1 child)

            by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @07:59AM (#674489) Homepage Journal

            You're not an Editor. And that's too bad. Because you're very good at seeing the bad & Fake stories!!!

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:50PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:50PM (#674651)

              TMB everyone, endorsed by a fake Trump. So fitting!

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by leftover on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:35AM (18 children)

    by leftover (2448) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:35AM (#674415)

    Here in Ohio the "opioid epidemic" is everyday news, reported in a manner that is both ignorant and sensationalist. Solid research showing the underlying cause to be a loss of hope is completely ignored, apparently too abstract for the self-styled journalists to handle. Much easier to continue building on "Reefer Madness" delusions than to say our socio-economic structure is FUBAR. Pardon me for not being aloof/detached, this has already hit my family and friends. Working hard and skillfully is worth nothing because "all value is created on Wall Street". Nurturing the land and environment is passe because all resources are to be "exploited" for short-term gain.

    Just how much reason do people need to discard for this tripe to seem acceptable? What will bring an end to it?

    --
    Bent, folded, spindled, and mutilated.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by PartTimeZombie on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:46AM (2 children)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:46AM (#674418)

      Loss of hope as a reason for a drug epidemic just sounds awful.

      I knew things were tough in parts of the US, but I didn't think it was that bad.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:16AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:16AM (#674447)

        Everything's been characterized bad by the media since Trump was elected.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:32AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:32AM (#674464)

        You can blame it on Obama. He gave us hope, then took a shit in our hands and called it change. He also kept pumping afghan heroin into the US, after Bush sent so many young people over there to get fucked up physically and mentally.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:24AM (11 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:24AM (#674448) Journal

      Working hard and skillfully is worth nothing because "all value is created on Wall Street".

      Who's saying that? I googled [google.com] the term in quotes and a previous post [google.com] by you, leftover, is the only and I do mean only reference to that particular quote. Maybe if you don't like that idea, then don't believe in it, right?

      Moving on:

      Nurturing the land and environment is passe because all resources are to be "exploited" for short-term gain.

      And yet there's a hell of a lot more nurturing of land and environment now than there was in the days when corporate greed was supposedly not so bad. In the US, which has Wall Street, we have more park acreage, stronger environmental laws, and a lot more municipal parks.

      In other words, we have here the usual Chicken Little narrative. But in reality the US is doing as well as it ever has, with better care of environment and other factors you claim to care about.

      So let me present some contrary factors for your consideration. What is more important to you: Protecting US labor or creating a more valuable labor force? Being able to afford a home or increasing the value of existing homes? Making it easy for people to enter a field of labor or to protect the wages of existing labor from competition? Honoring pension and health care benefits that the elder voted for themselves or the wages of the young (with young being anyone under retirement age)?

      Opoid abuse is just the latest prescription drug abuse fad. Before that we had things like valium and steroids which were also massively abused (and heroin, opium, aspirin, etc before that). There's always been people lacking hope or wanting a little extra. Let us also keep in mind that the primary cause of lack of hope, inevitable death in a few decades due to aging, is still with us. I'd love to get rid of that particular socio-economic problem, but doesn't look to be in the cards during my lifetime.

      • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:25AM (1 child)

        by captain normal (2205) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:25AM (#674463)

        People actually abused aspirin? Oh my God! I've been taking that shit since I was a wee tyke. Always patted myself on the back because I wasn't into hard drugs. Sure maybe I did some MaryJane in college and had a bit of beer and sometime binged on whisky and/or tequila and vodka...now into Zinfandel (now that's some heavy stuff), but I've always fallen back to aspirin---the sure hangover cure and soreness cure from too much hard labor, surfing, handball, city league basketball or hard core competitive sailing. I don't do it all the time but only when I think I need it....My god...I must be an aspirin addict!

        On the other hand you do make a couple of good points. Especially the 4th paragraph. Good questions.

        --
        “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:52AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @05:52AM (#674468) Journal
          I have it on good authority that people even abused alcohol. The guy is credentialed and shit.
      • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:17AM (2 children)

        by shortscreen (2252) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:17AM (#674471) Journal

        But in reality the US is doing as well as it ever has

        I recall that you have made posts with a similar theme before. It's definitely something to think about. Why do people feel like everything is going to shit, if quantitative measures (eg. violent crime) show the opposite of that? Maybe there are other factors to consider: levels of personal and public debt, inequality (perceived or actual), Orwellian surveillance and doublespeak, "if it bleeds it leads"

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Wednesday May 02 2018, @07:46AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @07:46AM (#674487) Journal
          I think the problem is threefold: first, that globalism and labor competition from the developed world has created at least a half century of significant stress on the US both economically and society-wise, plenty of parties (not just the usual suspects or narratives!) are making short-sighted decisions, and perception != reality.

          For example, when you're having to compete for the same jobs with a variety of foreign workers who often worked for an order of magnitude less, that puts stress on you to do better than the alternatives. Often that didn't happen and that work ended up on distant shores. The baby boomer phenomenon also created a one-time economic windfall (growing wealth from real estate) that isn't easily duplicated.

          The second point is that a vast number of political decisions serve to protect the interest of existing voters rather than invest in the future. For example, in areas with good economic conditions, there is a universal trend towards protection of existing real estate over creation of more. Homes in particular have grown so expensive that they inadvertently serve to exclude the less well-off from the better economic areas. When we create a system where the home becomes a store of value, perpetually increasing in value via policy and contrived economics, we create a situation where it becomes very expensive to live in a home.

          If I want to move to a place with better work opportunities, odds are good that I'll have to pay a lot more for my housing, even if I rent instead of buying a home. That's a big obstacle to economic migration in the US.

          Similarly, there have been many, many schemes at the state and local levels to license businesses and occupations. Where the licensing isn't onerous, this can result in better quality. But where it is onerous, it results in rent seeking protectionism where whole sectors of commerce are protected from competition to the detriment of everyone else.

          In a typical two-parent family where both parents work, if one parent works in a restricted sector (for example, K-12 education) where crossing state lines can result in substantial training or licensing requirements in order to preserve the ability to work, then that becomes yet another an obstacle to migration to better locales. You get stories like where one parent has to turn down a nice job because the other parent can't get work there.

          Finally, there's plenty of examples of short-sighted decisions about future generations who can't vote yet. Not much point to a pension system like Social Security that delivers less value than it soaks up in taxes for people younger than about 60. Or the world famous, inflated US health care. Or all the usual political messes that go on.

          The third point is an important one. Sometimes people don't know any better. Information can cure that usually. But sometimes they perceive things a certain way because they are invested in that viewpoint. It can be really hard to convince someone when they really want to believe in a false story. I believe this is a large part of the problem, that people want to believe that things are getting worse, that greed or evil is ascendant, etc in order that they may be the savior of their story. So what should we do about these negative perceptions of our world when many of them are merely acting out private or ideological stories that don't have much to do with us? With that, I focus on the weak spots of those stories. Maybe they have an obsession to defend the acts of the current Venezuelan government. Maybe they have to insist that any Muslim migrant is guilty of genocide or other hideous crimes. At some point, you can get them into one or more untenable positions where they have to advocate some monumentally irrational or diabolical act to defend their narratives. That's when you get them.
        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:17PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:17PM (#674627)

          As someone who left my home region because of the economy - it's because "quantitative measures" are usually averages across the entire nation, and by population. Most of the population lives in very small dots on the map, so unless you live in one of those dots it's not going to reflect your own reality.

          Just as my personal example... saying "Look! The economy is great because unemployment is 4%!" means nothing to the place I grew up because unemployment is actually between 8-10% unless you drive 100 miles. Everyone you see and interact with on a regular basis doesn't live in a place where unemployment is 4%. We don't have violent crime as a problem, so why would we care if it's going down from 2 instances per year to 1? When it's that low it's just noise, it means nothing.

          I don't really have a feel on the other two things you mentioned, because everyone is poor out there and we know that debt is to be avoided if possible. If you take a student loan, you by default leave the region because you can't find a job to pay for it where you grew up. Brain drain is a massive problem - but not for the cities, because that's where they are being drained to.

          If I have to drive 300 miles to find a place where the measures are actually close to the measurement, it's not very good to use for quality-of-life. And if people keep using them to "prove" that things are good, like federal politicians do, I'm going to treat them as a untrustworthy because they clearly live in different reality than me. I'm not going to believe you necessarily even if you are telling the truth.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:54AM (3 children)

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:54AM (#674513) Journal

        Protecting US labor or creating a more valuable labor force? Being able to afford a home or increasing the value of existing homes? Making it easy for people to enter a field of labor or to protect the wages of existing labor from competition? Honoring pension and health care benefits that the elder voted for themselves or the wages of the young (with young being anyone under retirement age)?

        And are you very sure that all of the above are 'true dichotomies'?
        Because they may be dichotomies only because you take for granted some assumptions one shouldn't.

        Why the pension/ heath care benefits of the elderly need to compete with the wages of the young?
        Why does the price of homes need to increase over time? After all, when I buy many other kinds of assets, the value of them go down over time.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:10PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:10PM (#674565) Journal

          And are you very sure that all of the above are 'true dichotomies'?

          That would be irrelevant.

          Why the pension/ heath care benefits of the elderly need to compete with the wages of the young? Why does the price of homes need to increase over time? After all, when I buy many other kinds of assets, the value of them go down over time.

          No matter the answer to the questions (which I incidentally think aren't worth answering, being both irrelevant and not that insightful), the US has conflicts implied by my questions which could go a long ways to explaining the stresses that result in opioid drug abuse.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:49PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @02:49PM (#674582)

            And are you very sure that all of the above are 'true dichotomies'?

            That would be irrelevant.

            Smoke and mirrors, eh?
            Confuse them, throw them off the track with some 'questions', make them implicitly accept the status quo by accepting those questions as valid.
            Otherwise they may see there are other ways beside opioids.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:45PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:45PM (#674781) Journal

              Smoke and mirrors, eh?

              You have a point there. C0lo never did come up with an example illustrating the absence of "true dichotomies". It was a criticism brought up without context.

              I merely focused on the other flaw namely that one doesn't need a perfect dichotomy. All one needs is large trade offs between the choices.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:53PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:53PM (#674655)

        You really are a brainwashed fool. At least you have a few semi-decent points in there, but mostly your a corporate apologist who supports the on going destruction of our environment. Burn in hell you piece of trash.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:47PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:47PM (#674782) Journal

          who supports the on going destruction of our environment

          Since there is no ongoing destruction of the US environment (it has actually gotten much better over the past 50 years), I rest my case. Go bug someone else with your idiocy.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by c0lo on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:45AM

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:45AM (#674511) Journal

      What will bring an end to it?

      Solving the problem specifically for the people of Ohio is pretty easy: just relocate the entire population in other states and, voila, no more alarmist 'opiod epidemic' news in Ohio.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @03:20PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @03:20PM (#674599)

      Only she's also drunk the Reefer Madness kool-aid, and while being abused in the workplace as an effective wage slave (mandatory 8 hour shifts that are defacto mandatory 12 hour shifts) and a rehire policy that only allows you to reapply after 3 years. Meaning nobody can jump ship unless they are sure the replacement job won't lay them off/fire them in less than 3 years.

      America, especially the midwest from her stories, has some really fucked up areas without job opportunities that are effectively a modern form of slavery. Getting out of there requires a strong network of friends willing to line you up with a job and a place in a better work environment, or you yourself being driven enough to do the legwork of job hunting, and finding time to make interviews, to get the hell out. Not everyone can, and even more just won't, leading to many of the socio-economic conditions you reference. While some of it is blamable on the companies, just as much is blamable on the shortsightedness of the people residing in these areas. Big corporations mean money for a while, but unless you as a community create a sustainable network of businesses to keep you employed, you are just handing the reins of your life over to the modern equivalent of the plantation owners. Sure you can always 'run away', but by doing so you've effectively ceded your home to the corporation/plantation owner's whims. But if you don't you're also wasting your time mucking around with slaves who refuse to rebel, content in lot which they've been given to toil.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:59PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @04:59PM (#674657)

        The vast majority of people do not have the higher end skills where employers are willing to hire without an in-person interview. There is little these people can do unless they can afford to travel for a *possible* job, or fully move to a more promising city. So unless they can build up at minimum a few thousand in savings (probably need at least 5k really) then it isn't even possible to relocate or spend money traveling for interviews.

        I know you covered this, but you also left in an "out" for the libertarian/conservative morons (I have to add morons because they aren't all stupid) around here with

        or you yourself being driven enough to do the legwork of job hunting

        The morons will cling to that and say it is the person's fault if they aren't willing to put in the effort for a better life. It ignores the reality that there truly are limited options for the majority of people.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by realDonaldTrump on Wednesday May 02 2018, @08:05AM (2 children)

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @08:05AM (#674490) Homepage Journal

    If we don't get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time. And that toughness includes the death penalty. Starting with the big pushers, the ones who are really killing people. The ones that will kill thousands of people during their lifetime. This is about winning a very, very tough problem and if we don't get very tough on these dealers, it is not going to happen, folks.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:08PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @06:08PM (#674689) Journal

      We all know you actually mean "Drug-dealing-while-brown."

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:09PM (#674763)

      I agree. Death penalty for big pharma!

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