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posted by martyb on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the need-more-opioids-to-fight-the-opioid-epidemic dept.

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

Related Stories

Opioid Addiction is Big Business 24 comments

The recent uptick in heroin and opioid addiction along with new laws are making addiction treatment an attractive target for investors:

Every crisis presents an opportunity, as the saying goes. And when it comes to opioid addiction, investors and businesses are seeing a big opportunity in addiction treatment. Places like [Gosnold on Cape Cod] are being gobbled up by private equity companies and publicly-traded chains looking to do what is known in Wall Street jargon as a roll-up play. They take a fragmented industry, buy up the bits and pieces and consolidate them into big, branded companies where they hope to make a profit by streamlining and cutting costs.

One company that advises investors listed 27 transactions in which private equity firms or public companies bought or invested in addiction treatment centers and other so-called behavioral health companies in 2014 and 2015 alone. Acadia Healthcare is one national chain that has been on a shopping spree. In 2010 it had only six facilities, but today it has 587 across the country and in the United Kingdom.

What's driving the growth? The opioid addiction crisis is boosting demand for treatment and two relatively recent laws are making it easier to get insurers to pay for it. The Mental Health Parity Act of 2008 requires insurers to cover mental health care as they would cover physical health care. "Mental health parity was the beginning. We saw a big benefit. And then the Affordable Care Act was very positive for our industry," says Joey Jacobs, Acadia's CEO. He spoke at an investor conference last month.

Marketplace has an article about how data and new databases are being used to track and prevent addiction. It cites the following report from Health Affairs:

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Are Associated With Sustained Reductions In Opioid Prescribing By Physicians (DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1673)


Original Submission

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: Legal Weed Far Better Than Drug War at Stopping Opioid Overdose Epidemic 73 comments

The Free Thought Project reports via AlterNet

There's one thing that appears to be saving more lives during the opioid epidemic than anything else--medical cannabis. While government touts meaningless attempts at addressing the problem--paying lip service to the people while protecting Big Pharma's profits and filling jails--people are saving themselves by turning to an ancient plant.

Yet another scientific study has confirmed that medical cannabis access reduces harm from opioid abuse among the population. A recent study published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependency journal found that states with legal medical cannabis experience fewer hospitalizations related to opioids.

"Medical marijuana legalization was associated with 23% and 13% reductions in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse and [opioid pain reliever] OPR overdose, respectively; lagged effects were observed after policy implementation."

Researchers from the University of California analyzed hospital administrative records for the period of 1997 to 2014. The author reported:

"This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. ... We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year."

The data also show that cannabis-related hospitalizations did not increase after legalization, contrary to what prohibitionists would have you believe.


Original Submission

President Trump Declares the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency 50 comments

After some initial confusion about the White House's plans earlier in the week, President Trump has followed the recommendation of the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, headed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and declared the opioid crisis to be a national emergency. He has promised to spend "a lot" of time, effort, and money to combat the problem:

Among the other recommendations were to rapidly increase treatment capacity for those who need substance abuse help; to establish and fund better access to medication-assisted treatment programs; and to make sure that health care providers are aware of the potential for misuse and abuse of prescription opioids by enhancing prevention efforts at medical and dental schools.

President Trump also decried a slowdown in federal prosecutions of drug crimes and a reduction in sentence lengths. Activists and policy experts are wary of an enforcement-heavy approach:

Bill Piper, senior director for the Drug Policy Alliance, told CNN Tuesday that stricter enforcement "has never worked" and the President would be "better focusing on the treatment side of things." "A supply side approach to drugs has never worked," Piper said. "That is what has been tried for decades and it has failed for every drug it has applied to, including alcohol during Prohibition. As long as there has been and[sic] demand for drugs, there will be a supply." Trump would not be the first administration to crack down on drug use by focusing on enforcement, but Piper said doing so would play into a desire to "sound tough," not actually solve the problem. "It makes it look like they are doing something even when they are not," Piper said.

Trump also advocated for more abstinence-based treatment to combat the opioid crisis. "The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place. If they don't start, they won't have a problem. If they do start, it's awfully tough to get off," Trump said. That sort of strategy advocates for targeting kids and young adults with anti-drug messaging, evocative of the "Just Say No" ad campaign of the 1980s and early 1990s.

This crisis is serious, folks:

"It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had. You know when I was growing up, they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs. There's never been anything like what's happened to this country over the last four or five years. And I have to say this in all fairness, this is a worldwide problem, not just a United States problem. This is happening worldwide. But this is a national emergency, and we are drawing documents now to so attest."


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

FDA Blocks More Imports of Kratom, Warns Against Use as a Treatment for Opioid Withdrawal 22 comments

The FDA has issued a public health advisory warning of deaths related to kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) and warning against using it to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. The DEA attempted to temporarily regulate kratom as a schedule I drug in 2016, but stopped short of doing so after a public backlash. From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb's statement on the advisory:

It's very troubling to the FDA that patients believe they can use kratom to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. The FDA is devoted to expanding the development and use of medical therapy to assist in the treatment of opioid use disorder. However, an important part of our commitment to this effort means making sure patients have access to treatments that are proven to be safe and effective. There is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder. Patients addicted to opioids are using kratom without dependable instructions for use and more importantly, without consultation with a licensed health care provider about the product's dangers, potential side effects or interactions with other drugs.

There's clear data on the increasing harms associated with kratom. Calls to U.S. poison control centers regarding kratom have increased 10-fold from 2010 to 2015, with hundreds of calls made each year. The FDA is aware of reports of 36 deaths associated with the use of kratom-containing products. There have been reports of kratom being laced with other opioids like hydrocodone. The use of kratom is also associated with serious side effects like seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms.

Given all these considerations, we must ask ourselves whether the use of kratom – for recreation, pain or other reasons – could expand the opioid epidemic. Alternatively, if proponents are right and kratom can be used to help treat opioid addiction, patients deserve to have clear, reliable evidence of these benefits.

Opioid Commission Drops the Ball, Demonizes Cannabis 23 comments

Opioid commission's anti-marijuana argument stirs anger

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, head of the presidential commission on opioids, warned of the dangers of marijuana in a letter to President Donald Trump earlier this month about the panel's findings, saying the current push for marijuana legalization could further fuel the opioid epidemic.

"There is a lack of sophisticated outcome data on dose, potency, and abuse potential for marijuana. This mirrors the lack of data in the 1990s and early 2000s when opioid prescribing multiplied across health care settings and led to the current epidemic of abuse, misuse and addiction," Christie wrote in the letter, which was released with the commission's final report.

"The Commission urges that the same mistake is not made with the uninformed rush to put another drug legally on the market in the midst of an overdose epidemic."

[...] But some experts say the commission's fixation on marijuana was bizarre and troubling, lending credence to outdated views of marijuana as a gateway drug. And these experts want to nip such thinking in the bud.

They emphasized that they support efforts to curb the nation's opioid epidemic, but not the demonization of marijuana in the process.

"I was surprised to see negative language about marijuana in the opioid report," said Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, a professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Research that examines pain and marijuana shows that marijuana use significantly reduces pain. In addition, the majority of studies examining marijuana and opioids show that marijuana use is associated with less opioid use and less opioid-related deaths."

You had one job.

Previously:


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

FDA Labels Kratom an Opioid 37 comments

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has released a new statement denouncing the drug kratom. The statement says that the FDA has learned about new deaths that "involved" kratom use, additional adverse effects associated with its use have been found, and that Public Health Assessment via Structural Evaluation (PHASE) "3-D computer technology" has been used to analyze the chemical compounds in kratom:

Using this computational model, scientists at the FDA first analyzed the chemical structures of the 25 most prevalent compounds in kratom. From this analysis, the agency concluded that all of the compounds share the most structural similarities with controlled opioid analgesics, such as morphine derivatives.

The FDA continues to discourage the use of kratom, which it is calling an opioid.

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

"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S. 51 comments

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

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

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:36AM (22 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:36AM (#757503)

    It is far more important to me that a person suffering pain is helped, rather than trying to ensure no one will take that drug for enjoyment.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @05:10AM (20 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @05:10AM (#757509)

      What the drug warriors will never understand is that the best way to prevent deaths due to overdose is to allow the drug to be sold regardless of prescription status. Some people might use it recreationally. Get over it. Their lives will be saved by packaging regulations that cannot be enforced on a black market.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:27AM (16 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:27AM (#757516)

        To an extent, but nothing stops them from ingesting multiple full packages at once.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by deimtee on Sunday November 04 2018, @07:55AM (13 children)

          by deimtee (3272) on Sunday November 04 2018, @07:55AM (#757528) Journal

          Clearly marked commercial packages with a known standard dose will greatly reduce accidental overdoses.

          To an extent, but nothing stops them from ingesting multiple full packages at once.

          If you deliberately take a fatal dose that is not accidental, it is suicide.
          The sort of people who think you should have the right to control your own body with respect to taking drugs are also the people who are mostly ok with you having the right to end your life if you so choose. It is the difference between being a free person and being owned by society.
          Argument about this will do nothing because it is not a disagreement on fact, but on ethics.

          --
          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @08:53AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @08:53AM (#757537)

            I don't disagree with the sentiment. Nontheless, you don't need suicidal tendencies to overdose, if someone wants a greater buzz they'll eat more of the stuff, packaging instructions be damned.

            • (Score: 5, Interesting) by takyon on Sunday November 04 2018, @09:44AM

              by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday November 04 2018, @09:44AM (#757552) Journal

              When the AC mentioned packaging regulations, I assumed that the AC was referring to the drugs being pure and containing whatever is on the label.

              From this drug propaganda site comes these true fax: [drugabuse.gov]

              Even though it's supposed to be pure MDMA, Molly is just as likely to be mixed with other substances as any other drug.

              Supposedly "pure" Molly can contain ephedrine (a stimulant), dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant), ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamine, or even bath salts. Just because it comes in crystal or powder form—instead of a pill like Ecstasy—doesn’t prove that it's pure.

              Some powder sold on the street as “Molly” doesn’t contain any MDMA at all. That’s even more dangerous, because you don’t have a clue what you’re really taking!

              If you look in the related stories in the summary, you'll find that one major problem of the opioid crisis is that heroin users are getting heroin mixed with stuff like carfentanil. It's more potent and thus a cheaper high, but a miscalculation on the dealer's part could easily cause hundreds of users to die from overdose.

              Likewise, an "acid" blotter could contain any number of similar substances rather than LSD. For example, 25C [wikipedia.org] or 25I [wikipedia.org]. The size/mass of a soaked blotter does not give the user any clue to the amount and kind of active substance that is contained within. The typical dosage of different substances could be an order of magnitude or more apart. Examples:

              https://www.erowid.org/chemicals/lsd/lsd_dose.shtml [erowid.org]
              https://www.erowid.org/chemicals/2ci_nbome/2ci_nbome_dose.shtml [erowid.org]

              Even though the common dose for 25I could be ten times that of LSD, it will fit on the same blotter paper just fine.

              In the scenario where we legalize all recreational drugs, you could buy your drugs from companies that have to comply with health, safety, and labeling regulations. So instead of getting heroin, meth, MDMA, etc. of varying levels of purity (sometimes 0%), you could get pharmaceutical-grade products that are exactly what they claim to be.

              An interim step would be to expand drug testing at places like music festivals. These operations could be given grants or explicit legal protections. Or permanent walk-in labs could be set up, at which anybody could bring in drugs for testing, no questions asked.

              Festival drug-testing shows a way to reduce harm [economist.com]
              First ever pill-testing trial at Australian music festival [theguardian.com]
              https://dancesafe.org/ [dancesafe.org]

              Another packaging regulation: organic certification and enforcement of bans on certain pesticides/chemicals. For decades, the vast majority of cannabis has been illicitly grown. Can you trust some illegal grower (who you haven't met, you only see a dealer) to not use banned and potentially dangerous pesticides?

              Today, a lot of cannabis in the U.S. is now quasi-legally grown (and it can be illegally shipped from a "legal cannabis" state to other states, retaining labeling info). It's more clear what strain of cannabis you're getting, where it's coming from, etc. And some companies are touting their "organic cannabis" and best practices:

              https://www.coloradopotguide.com/colorado-marijuana-blog/article/what-organic-cannabis-means-for-the-marijuana-industry/ [coloradopotguide.com]

              As it stands, there are no pesticides that are permissible for both smokable and edible products combined, so cultivation must involve 100 percent organic techniques at all times in order to be of organic quality. This usually takes place through soil supplementation which includes things like worm castings, compost, castings, bat guano, perlite, fish emulsions or peat moss.

              Though these products will never officially be “organic” until it becomes federally legal, ancillary companies like the Cannabis Certification Counsel have come along to provide unbiased certification for cannabis products that have been “organically grown and fairly produced”.

              Though cannabis products cannot be certified organic, they can absolutely be cultivated organically, thus removing concern regarding contaminants like pesticides or heavy metals. According to a Steep Hill report [prnewswire.com], 84 percent of California cannabis contains pesticides, the bulk of which being Myclobutanil, a fungicide primarily used on grapes.

              Though the product has been deemed safe for use on grapes that can be washed clean, the same cannot be said for cannabis. To make matters worse, smoking pesticides can release dangerous toxins like hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen chloride and more. If smoking pesticides off of cannabis flower is this bad, imagine how dangerous non-organic cannabis concentrates can be.

              Decades ago, who knows what kind of crap was on the weed that people were smoking? Today and further into the future, you'll be able to obtain "clean" cannabis.

              --
              [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by stretch611 on Sunday November 04 2018, @01:11PM (10 children)

            by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 04 2018, @01:11PM (#757588)

            Clearly marked commercial packages with a known standard dose will greatly reduce accidental overdoses.

            To an extent, but nothing stops them from ingesting multiple full packages at once.

            If you deliberately take a fatal dose that is not accidental, it is suicide.

            The problem is that painkillers in tablets are generally provided along with other ingredients designed to force the drug to be slowly dissolved over time. This allows the painkiller to last over a few hours.

            However, people that want to take them for recreation are interested in getting a high and the intentional extended release period is counter productive to getting the full effect of a single dose all at once. They are forced to either taking multiple doses at once or crush the pills into a fine powder to release the active ingredients all at once. Either is very dangerous.

            So, even if commercial packages were legally available, people looking to get high are still forced to follow risky behavior in order to get their fix. While I would not say it is a smart thing for them to do, I would not characterize it as suicide either.

            --
            Now with 5 covid vaccine shots/boosters altering my DNA :P
            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by deimtee on Sunday November 04 2018, @02:12PM (7 children)

              by deimtee (3272) on Sunday November 04 2018, @02:12PM (#757610) Journal

              You are still thinking within the "drugs are bad mmmkay" paradigm and not following this to its logical conclusion. Legally available drugs for getting high would not have the time delay built into therapeutic drugs. You would buy whatever variant you wanted.

              Almost every bad effect of illegal drugs can be traced to the fact that they are illegal:
              Drug crimes - a tautology. they are illegal because they are illegal.
              Property crime - drugs are insanely expensive due to being illegal. There is no way most habitual users can legally pay for them.
              Violence - mostly goes along with the desperation that drives addicts into property crime.
              Prostitution - One of the few ways to actually earn enough money to pay for illegal drugs.
              Gang violence - drugs are a huge illicit revenue source. Of course criminal gangs will move in and fight over it.
              Overdoses - almost entirely due to shoddy quality control.
              Drugged driving - should be handled the same way you handle drunk-driving.

              --
              No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
              • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday November 04 2018, @03:37PM (2 children)

                by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday November 04 2018, @03:37PM (#757637) Journal

                Property crime - drugs are insanely expensive due to being illegal. There is no way most habitual users can legally pay for them.

                Close. Some drugs are relatively cheap. But they could make one unemployable, either due to drug testing or turning the user into a wreck.

                --
                [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
                • (Score: 4, Informative) by deimtee on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:18PM (1 child)

                  by deimtee (3272) on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:18PM (#757649) Journal

                  Heroin is about as cheap and easy to make as aspirin. I can buy 36 x 500mg aspirin tablets for 99 cents.
                  If you are going to sit around on welfare and get wasted every day, I would rather you do it without having to break into houses or mug people in the park.

                  --
                  No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05 2018, @12:06AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05 2018, @12:06AM (#757787)

                    It wasn't too long agobI was buying a bottle of 200 at that price. Brand name: "Assured". At Dollar Tree.

              • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:16PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:16PM (#757647)

                Sitting in the park shitting yourself after taking drugs. Doesn't matter if the drug is legal or not. Still there. Still have shit running down your leg. Stupid junkie.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05 2018, @03:29AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05 2018, @03:29AM (#757838)

                  Too close to the truth. People don't want to hear the truth.

              • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @07:38PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @07:38PM (#757705)

                This! The best drug law (the only one that works) is the Pure Food & Drug Act of 1907. It required proper labeling and drove the medicine show con artists out of business. It is not a criminal law. The black market for drugs causes all sorts of bad consequences. The black market for any drug must go. How? Lower the price and profits. Legalize. Law enforcement is a price-support mechanism. They love their little war.

                Search for "whitebread speech", best history of drug laws I've seen anywhere.

            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday November 04 2018, @05:39PM

              by sjames (2882) on Sunday November 04 2018, @05:39PM (#757675) Journal

              The thing is, they're going to do that with whatever form of opioid they can obtain. That may either be an exact and well regulated dose or some random powder of unpredictable strength.

              Neither is safe, but the latter is vastly more likely to kill them than the former.

              Making the former legally available won't prevent all deaths but leaving them with only the latter will cause more deaths.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by EETech1 on Sunday November 04 2018, @07:29PM

              by EETech1 (957) on Sunday November 04 2018, @07:29PM (#757703)

              If I was to crush up and snort a couple of oxycodone pills, I know exactly what I'm in for.

              If I was to crush up and snort a bindle of heroin I bought from a junkie, not so much...

              The measured dose is what allows you to safely enjoy your vise, and the lack of crime involved with getting it from the pharmacy will go a long way towards not destroying lives, both physically, and financially.

              Drugs are a slippery slope, but some people like to ride it.

              But it's no different than any other dangerous recreational activity, if you give them the tools to do it safely.

              Some people wanna climb rocks, some people wanna smoke rocks.

              Why is it ok to be "addicted" to rock climbing, searching for higher and higher peaks to conquer?

              You're literally one mistake from death, risking it all for the thrill of it.
              Not thinking about anyone but yourself, and what you want to do.

              If someone wants to tweak out on amphetamines, why should their passion for smoking rocks, and taking the same risk of death as the rock climber be treated any differently? Why do we not allow them the gear to do it safely?

              Why do we put one of them in jail? Both the climber and the smoker just wanna get high, but we treat them so differently.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Sunday November 04 2018, @05:23PM

          by sjames (2882) on Sunday November 04 2018, @05:23PM (#757671) Journal

          Nothing stops them from huffing gasoline until dead either.

          One thing that might help is if they could get actual help with their addiction without having to admit to both past felonies and a great likelihood of future felonies first. In other words, treat it as the medical problem that it is, not a legal problem.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by NotSanguine on Sunday November 04 2018, @11:01PM

          The Darwin Awards [darwinawards.com]

          Freedom isn't necessarily safe. Nor is it necessarily easy.

          If someone feels the need to ingest lethal doses of *anything*, who are we to stop them?

          People have been documented as using mind-altering substances for a variety of reasons for millennia. And it wouldn't surprise me in the least if we'd been doing so for tens of millennia.

          The "drug war" is a mechanism for funding police and keeping a lid on various minorities. This has been repeatedly documented by study after study.

          All drugs should be legally available, with strict quality and dosage control.

          With all the money we save (billions every year), we can provide treatment to every single person with abuse problems and still have lots left over.

          But no. We have to choose the most dangerous (in terms of outcomes and violence) path, that's least likely to solve the problem and keep doubling down on it. Sigh.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by takyon on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:30AM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:30AM (#757517) Journal

        The Trump administration has pretty much failed in this regard. Lackluster responses to the opioid crisis with no consideration of legalizing everything, or at least using cannabis to counter opioids [soylentnews.org]. Jeff Sessions may be one of the biggest obstacles to trying a new approach, but has made himself politically unfireable. A neat trick.

        Democrats seem to be finally pushing for cannabis legalization, but talk is very cheap when they don't control the Presidency, House, or Senate. They still have plenty of time to do a 180° or foot drag later. Even if they do reschedule cannabis, there is no way they would abolish/reform the DEA or Controlled Substances Act. "Legalize everything" is a fringe idea, even if it makes sense. Democrats would be afraid of alienating voters or looking weak on crime.

        That's all before we consider how the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries may fight to preserve the status quo.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:26PM (#757691)

        The drug warriors don't care about preventing deaths. That's just their excuse for employment. Drug control is a government jobs program.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by chewbacon on Monday November 05 2018, @02:13AM

      by chewbacon (1032) on Monday November 05 2018, @02:13AM (#757813)

      I did my BSN with about 6-7 years of nursing experience under my belt. I wrote a paper to argue against many of the ER nurses attitudes that painted a disproportionate number of patients complaining of pain as drug seekers. My research suggested it's far better to give the seekers drug, giving them the benefit of a doubt and being wrong, than letting someone go in pain. And the number of drug seekers in the ER is pretty damn low when you account addicts that will get it on the streets, steal it from family, or abuse their own supply and manipulate their doctor to prescribing more.

      So in the acute setting, it's not the time to weigh out if a patient is seeking drugs or in pain. Most of the time, it will be the latter. And if it is the fore, their addiction will need therapy, detox, etc. which they will not get in an acute care setting.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:52AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @04:52AM (#757506)
    ...from that honest to goodness Big Pharma shill [respectfulinsolence.com] in charge of the FDA today. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse, but that seems to be depressingly common in this present administration.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by stretch611 on Sunday November 04 2018, @01:18PM

      by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 04 2018, @01:18PM (#757591)

      It makes you wonder where the data would lead if you follow the money...

      From NPR [npr.org]:

      Though the advisory committee ultimately voted in favor of the drug, Public Citizen contends the FDA sought to "tilt" the vote's outcome toward approval. Brown, the committee chief, who has been outspoken against certain opioids in the past, says he was unable to attend the advisory committee meeting on Oct. 12 because of a scheduling conflict that he had informed the FDA about months in advance.
      Brown says the FDA decided to hold the meeting anyway — without him.

      And...

      The October meeting also left out most members of another FDA committee — the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee — who are often included in regulatory discussions of new opioid drugs. Public Citizen says members of that committee were not invited to attend.

      --
      Now with 5 covid vaccine shots/boosters altering my DNA :P
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @01:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @01:43PM (#757600)

      No, expectations are low, but not this low.

      This seems a very specialized drug with use only in a few authorized instances. Not much profit there.

      So why would a profit driven drug company choose this path?
      Perhaps the cash flow expectations inside the company included expected unauthorized uses.

      It's one thing for a health care company to do their fiducial duty choose max profit over max health.
      (Like making something a chronic condition instead of a cured condition.)

      It's a whole 'nuther level to choose a profit path which has a negative health benefit.
      (That's game plan more expected from nicotine delivery systems. Those folks are relatively honest about what they do.)

      I have no clue if this is the case, but given what opioids have already done and a President interested in the area, it seems strange that his administration would head this way.

    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Rich26189 on Sunday November 04 2018, @03:19PM

      by Rich26189 (1377) on Sunday November 04 2018, @03:19PM (#757633)

      "Score: 2, Insightful"?

      depressingly common in this present administration.

      Maybe "1, redundant". Has this never happened prior to Jan. 2017?

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @11:04AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @11:04AM (#757571)

    I have to almost beg for painkillers when i need them perhaps once every 2 years as my doctor is afraid of the feds, and have to almost give DNA to get Pseudoephedrine from the local store.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:34PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:34PM (#757694)

      Of course. Some people who desperately need painkillers, who now can't get them, will turn to street drugs. Many of those people will be caught, tried, sentenced, and perhaps even locked up.

      There is a vast police system, court system, probation system, and jail system. To keep having a "need" to exist, these systems need bodies to process. Your body will do just as well as any other. These systems are government jobs programs.

      “Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone?

      -- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @08:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04 2018, @08:35PM (#757720)

        Plus, the people who turn to the black market are unable to be certain of the potency or composition of the product they purchase. So they become at risk for overdose when they were just looking for pain relief. If capitalism could solve this problem (i.e. Ayn Rand), black markets wouldn't have problems with product quality that lead to overdose deaths. An organized working class democratically controlling the means of production and governance is the only social force can guarantee safe access to quality pain relief drugs.

        The manufacture of criminals, such as with prohibition laws, is an artifact of capitalism, and it serves the interests of the capitalist elite who run for-profit prisons, among other industries. Atlas Shrugged is nothing more than political fantasy. Real political change requires a scientific study of history.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:01PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday November 04 2018, @06:01PM (#757682) Homepage Journal

    If there's a campaign donation, then there's a need.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
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