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posted by martyb on Saturday October 28 2017, @05:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the we-need-a-heroin dept.

"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." – President Donald J. Trump

President Trump has declared the "Opioid Crisis" a nationwide public health emergency. This action will allow for "expanded access to telemedicine services" to remotely prescribe medicines for substance abuse, allow the Department of Health and Human Services to "more quickly make temporary appointments of specialists with the tools and talent needed to respond effectively to our Nation's ongoing public health emergency", allow the Department of Labor to issue dislocated worker grants for those "displaced from the workforce" due to the Opioid Crisis, and will help people with HIV/AIDS to receive substance abuse treatment. The press release lists several actions that the Trump Administration has taken to respond to the Opioid Crisis, including the July 2017 law enforcement action against AlphaBay.

The declaration has been criticized for not requesting any funds to respond to the Crisis. The "nationwide public health emergency" declaration is also distinct from a promised "national emergency declaration", which would have freed up money from the Disaster Relief Fund to be spent on the Crisis. 14 Senate Democrats have introduced a bill that would authorize $45 billion to address the Opioid Crisis. The Obama Administration called on Congress last year to pass just over $1 billion in funding for opioid treatment programs nationwide. This funding was included in the 21st Century Cures Act.

The Department of Justice has arrested and charged the founder and majority owner of Insys Therapeutics Inc., John Kapoor, along with other executives from his company. Kapoor is accused with leading a nationwide conspiracy to bribe doctors and illegally distribute the company's fentanyl spray, intended for cancer patients, so that it could be prescribed for non-cancer patients. Kapoor stepped down as CEO of Insys in January. Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb said, "Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies solely for profit. Today's arrest and charges reflect our ongoing efforts to attack the opioid crisis from all angles. We must hold the industry and its leadership accountable - just as we would the cartels or a street-level drug dealer." Six former Insys executives and managers were charged in December.

[takyon: a262 would like you to know that Insys Therapeutics donated $500,000 to help defeat Arizona's 2016 ballot initiative that would have legalized recreational use of cannabis.]

Walgreens has announced that it will stock Narcan® (naloxone) nasal spray in all of its over 8,000 pharmacies nationwide. Naloxone is a life-saving essential medicine that can reverse opioid overdoses and treat opioid withdrawal. Naloxone is available over-the-counter in 45 states, but still requires a prescription in Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, and Wyoming. Delaware recently allowed over-the-counter sales of naloxone. Laws in Hawaii and Missouri are pending, and Montana has agreed to grant CVS wider access to the drug.

Maybe banning kratom was a mistake.

Nationwide Public Health Emergency: Also at NYT, BBC, Reuters, and Fox News.

Insys Therapeutics Inc.: Also at NPR and Bloomberg.

Walgreens Narcan: Also at NPR, ABC, and CBS.

Previously: 4/20: The Third Time's Not the Charm
Jeff Sessions Reboots the Drug War
Development of a Heroin Vaccine
Goal of US's First Opioid Court: Keep People Alive
Chicago Jail Handing Out Naloxone to Inmates Upon Release


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday October 28 2017, @06:12PM (14 children)

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday October 28 2017, @06:12PM (#588738) Homepage

    " "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." – President Donald J. Trump "

    Hahahaha, that sounds a lot like one of those "winners don't use drugs" public service announcements we saw during the Reagan era. Well, fuck cracking down on doctors, go after big pharma themselves. Motherfuckers are the reason why weed is still federally illegal. CBD oil actually saved a friend of a friend's kids life (epilepsy)!

    Fucking junkies are ruining things for the rest of us. Once fucked up my back during a trip and had to go to a hospital in Lancaster, which is a dump out in the middle of nowhere. Instead of responding to my intense pain quickly, the doctors thought I was just another pillhead jonesing for a fix, even though I had no history of painkiller prescription (and, indeed, I dislike opiates and never enjoyed using them recreationally. When I was prescribed Vicodin from that injury I ended up throwing half the bottle in the trash even though I could have sold them on the street for two bucks a pop).

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28 2017, @06:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28 2017, @06:48PM (#588750)

    The largest determining factor in becoming addicted is how long the initial prescription is. You get into the danger territory at about one week. Less than that and patients get a renewal if they're in pain, and get another renewal if they're in pain... Patients who get a two week prescription get hooked more often than patients who have four four-day prescriptions.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by fyngyrz on Saturday October 28 2017, @11:26PM (6 children)

    by fyngyrz (6567) on Saturday October 28 2017, @11:26PM (#588834) Journal

    junkies are ruining things for the rest of us.

    No. It's congress and the state legislatures. It's been going on for a long time.

    Junkies are only ruining things for themselves. Which is fine by me.

    • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Sunday October 29 2017, @10:45PM (3 children)

      by meustrus (4961) on Sunday October 29 2017, @10:45PM (#589234)

      Junkies wrecking their own lives should be fine with all of us. It doesn’t hurt me if you kill yourself. But instead of living by that idea, we’re stuck between conservatives that want the government enforcing arbitrary moral standards and liberals that want the government to save us from ourselves.

      --
      If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Mykl on Monday October 30 2017, @02:34AM (2 children)

        by Mykl (1112) on Monday October 30 2017, @02:34AM (#589314)

        I disagree. Mostly because junkies wrecking their own lives always affects others:

        • Those they steal from
        • Those they injure/threaten
        • Those who love them
        • Medical professionals looking after these people instead of other patients. By that reasoning, ALL OTHER EMERGENCY PATIENTS
        • Any who were once dependent on them (e.g. kids)

        The government's objective here is not arbitrary, and they're saving more than just the junkies. If they can reduce the number of junkies, they can reduce the strain on the whole of society, and improve the happiness of their citizens (both potential junkies and potential affected-by-junkies). If that means you can't inject whatever you want into your veins then I say to you - Boo Hoo.

        • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Monday October 30 2017, @06:26PM

          by meustrus (4961) on Monday October 30 2017, @06:26PM (#589578)

          Ah, the practical argument. It's a damn shame more people don't think that way. In this and many other political issues.

          --
          If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday November 16 2017, @07:45AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 16 2017, @07:45AM (#597608) Journal
          And yet, the illegality of these drugs is the primary cause of the problem. Jailing junkies, for example, doesn't help them come up with options to theft (like holding a job) to pay for their habit. The expense of the drugs also contributes to theft behavior. To cover their habit, they need more money.

          Further, there's a lot of dangerous drugs out there. Most of these risks are mitigated by government regulators (particularly, the ATF and FDA) and liability lawsuits. You don't see cigarette manufacturers cutting their product with a lot of strychnine or liquor sellers mixing in wood alcohol, and causing serious poisonings and death. But that does happen with illegal recreational drugs all the time. And what recourse does a junkie have when their dealer sells them a defective product?

          Junkies aren't less of a burden on society when they're moving in and out of jail. It's not solving anything. It's not making any harms of drug use less severe or junkies more beneficial to society. The various abuses of the war on drugs don't help us. We're not better off because authorities can steal your money via illegal civil asset forfeiture. We're not better off due to the various sorts of secretive spying programs like Sting Ray. We're not better off due to the various gang wars that are funded by the illegal drug trade. We're not better off by having 1% of the population in jail.

          The war on drugs is evil. It ruins peoples' lives. It destroys our freedom. It squanders public funds. There is no excuse for your support of this.
    • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Monday October 30 2017, @06:02PM (1 child)

      by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 30 2017, @06:02PM (#589562)

      Nobody ever thinks of where all of the drug money that the junkies steal goes to. AFAIK it goes to the hands of the drug dealers who want to expand their territories and user bases.

      The rich yuppies of today are not the hippies of yesteryear who grew their own dope. They are quite literally funding gang warfare with their hedonism, because they are supporting the existence of the gangs. No, established, private, independent pot shops are not always the sole growers of the products they sell. They too require sources of the stuff. So long as junkies are making their own meth/heroin/pot/whatever, then it's fine by me.

      • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Monday October 30 2017, @06:58PM

        by fyngyrz (6567) on Monday October 30 2017, @06:58PM (#589600) Journal

        Nobody ever thinks of where all of the drug money that the junkies steal goes to. AFAIK it goes to the hands of the drug dealers who want to expand their territories and user bases.

        Part of it (which is a lot of money, and property turned into money) is skimmed by law enforcement. My local cops in my tiny little rural town have a very nice vehicle that says in huge letters on the side something to the effect of "bought with drug money" (I'd have to go find it to get the exact wording, but that's precisely what it means.) And of course even more goes into the pockets of law enforcement and prisons as it is taken directly from taxpayers pockets, people who otherwise aren't involved in the illicit drug trade at all.

        The yuppies (and other customers) are strictly second-order, downstream effects. Not causes.

        The problem boils down to the legislation that created the black illicit / otherwise unavailable drug market, which in turn creates arbitrarily high prices (and unreliable quality and dosage), which in turn puts needy druggies squarely into the "I need more money than I have" category, while at the very same time they enjoy being in the "I am already a criminal, why not just steal what I need, it's not like it'll change my status" class.

        The manufacturing cost of most addictive and/or highly attractive drugs is very low. That's why the illicit market is so well addressed, and why there is so much internecine violence involved. The illegals don't bother making expensive drugs for the "home entertainment" market. The margins are too low. Why should they bother when the various governmental entities have made sure that they can make loads of money whipping up the cheapest stuff anyway?

        You know how much pot and peyote are actually worth outside of the costs brought on by ill-advised legislation? A bucket of dirt and some water, that's what. Many other popular drugs are in the same, or nearly the same, class. Some require a little bit of chemistry, but really, not much. Any legal drug manufacturing facility worthy of the name could manufacture them in high quality and very, very inexpensively. If, you know, legislation wasn't in the way.

        The whole black drug market is an artificially created thing, and the most of the serious problems that came along with it directly consequent to its illegal status.

        Also a direct insult to personal liberty. Not a small thing, that, IMHO.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 29 2017, @01:25AM (2 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 29 2017, @01:25AM (#588863) Homepage Journal

    "go after big pharma themselves. "

    I think a top-down approach, as well as a bottom-up, is fitting. Remember all the crap we were told about pushers, decades ago? They were predators, lowlifes, less-than-human, pushing their poison to children, and the weak. The hell with the street corner pushers. Forget about some old crack whore running a crack house. Those are small time players, and putting them out of action will do diddly-squat.

    The people to go after are the LAWMAKERS who passed the laws allowing all those "legal" drugs. Go after the Big Pharma executives, those bastards KNOW they are pushing poison to old, young, and everyone. The doctors? Well, those sons of bitches know at least as well as those Big Pharma execs that they are helping to push poison. All of those are the real parasites.

    A large number of junkies wouldn't even BE junkies, if their trusted medical professional hadn't got them hooked. But, it wasn't just the doctor - those execs were pushing, and the lawmakers made it "legal". The rest of the junkies couldn't have become junkies either, if the shit wasn't even being manufactured, and pumped into the supply line.

    But, "Less than 1% of medical opioid users get hooked" - or words very similar to that.

    Parasites.

    Poetic justice would be, if those lawmakers and pharma execs all bury all of their own god damned children - and grand children too. They need to lose everything dear to them, to understand how badly they have fucked the American citizens.

    --
    Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @06:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @06:19AM (#588951)

      You are partially right and partially wrong.

      Of all the addicts I know not one got addicted because of their doctor. I am not saying it does not happen. But most were recreational up until it was no longer recreational. I also know many who keep it recreational and never progressed.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Spamalope on Sunday October 29 2017, @02:21PM

      by Spamalope (5233) on Sunday October 29 2017, @02:21PM (#589037) Homepage

      Well, big pharma started lacing opiods with acetaminophen so they'd kill addicts and reduce the PR problem.

      According to the FDA, acetaminophen remains the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S., despite repeated government warnings. However, the majority of acetaminophen-related deaths are due to prescription drugs, not over-the-counter medications.

      How about at least manslaughter charges?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @02:47AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @02:47AM (#588886)

    There's some truth to it, normally people didn't get hooked on drugs if their lives were good, there wasn't any reason to try.

    The reason we're having these issues with opioid abuse is that people get legitimate prescriptions for opioids, insufficient monitoring and wind up hooked. If we'd ban the sale of these substances there'd be more pain, but fewer addicts.

    And if we'd get medical marijuana nationally, it would be a manageable problem.

    • (Score: 2) by SacredSalt on Sunday October 29 2017, @11:52AM

      by SacredSalt (2772) on Sunday October 29 2017, @11:52AM (#589007)

      If opioids were banned or more restricted you would see more suicides in addition to greater pain. People forget about all of those legit pain patients that are out there that these medicines at least make their lives semi-tolerable, if not always productive. You can cut the opioid death rate, but I suspect that most methods used will simply end up raising the suicide rate by an amount roughly equal to any reduction in opioid deaths, and driving yet more people to the black market.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:33PM (#589060)

    His party believes it works for financial and family planning, too.

    If you just do what they tell you, they'll be fine.