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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: 5, Insightful) by sjames on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:12PM (16 children)

    by sjames (2882) on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:12PM (#588756) Journal

    The problem is far more complex. Opiates are still the best treatment we have for severe pain. We can minimize their necessity by also legalizing marijuana, but even then there will be a non-zero need for opiates. Some pain just won't relent with an aspirin.

    The problem cuts both ways. Doctors over-prescribing or falling for marketing and prescribing riskier formulations are a problem. On the other side, doctors cutting patients off cold turkey sometimes create street junkies out of otherwise average patients. Most people who take medically indicated opoids will be just fine, but some may need a little help stopping. That should be treated as just another phase of the treatment. Doctor and patient need to be able to be confident that there will be no legal implications to that phase of treatment.

    We also know that stress can make withdrawal much more difficult. For example, getting ambushed by surprise bills for more money than you make in a month "due immediately" and you can't even tell what the hell they're for or why insurance didn't cover it. Meanwhile, the people dunning you are a billing service that has no idea what it's for, just that they're like super sure it's valid even though that means insurance should have covered it.

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by takyon on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:30PM (3 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:30PM (#588760) Journal

    We know that cannabis reduces opioid consumption [drugabuse.com] in states that legalize it. We know that kratom has been used as an alternative to opioids [wired.com]. We know that municipalities can reduce deaths by providing safe [cbslocal.com] places [sifnyc.org] for addicts [wbur.org] to shoot up (supervised injection sites [wikipedia.org]).

    There are a lot of simple solutions out there. What we've gotten instead is a ban on kratom and other previously legal highs [dea.gov] (irrespective of harm/safety), a promise of stronger drug enforcement [theatlantic.com] (same old failed policies that didn't stop crack), mixed messages on cannabis with zero momentum on descheduling it and legalizing it federally, a few token needle exchanges, and a slow rollout of Narcan (relative to its life-saving importance).

    The simplest solution might be to let people die. Let tens of thousands of Trump voters die of opioid overdoses until they demand real change or can't re-elect tough-on-crime Republicans. And let the old people in both parties die so they can be cleared out (might not be feasible if anti-aging is developed, then you have to shame them instead).

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:59PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:59PM (#588773)

      When the simplest solution is to let people die then we know we've gone wrong. Sad face.

      Time to hit up the bong for some more giggles. Damn, this is some good shit.

      At least I don't have a fucking opioid problem!

      P.S. I too miss @realDonaldTrump at these times.

      P.P.S. Watching Trump on YouTube while totally baked is surreal and often hysterical... he's got to be reading from a chatbot right?

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday October 29 2017, @02:18AM

      by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 29 2017, @02:18AM (#588879) Journal

      All of those are potential parts of a solution. I'll believe the feds are serious about actually solving the problem when they let go of their sacred cows. Part of the problem is that for way too much of law enforcement and even the justice system, justice was long ago forgotten. Today it's all about hunting people and locking them in cages. Guilt, innocence, and justice are irrelevant to them. Decriminalizing any drugs means only that they lose a perfectly good excuse to exert their authority.

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:54PM (8 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Saturday October 28 2017, @07:54PM (#588770) Journal

    I had a procedure this summer and they gave me opiates for the pain. The first day was fantastic. The second day was ok. The third day they gave me intense headaches. What am i doing wrong? How can i develop a more sustainable addiction?

    I would enjoy having that lovely feeling on a regular basis.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28 2017, @10:35PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28 2017, @10:35PM (#588817)

      Have you tried doing something you enjoy doing in life? Maybe some exercise, some cupcakes... or shooting up a school or music event? Regular stuff, not drugs.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by HiThere on Sunday October 29 2017, @12:06AM (2 children)

        by HiThere (866) on Sunday October 29 2017, @12:06AM (#588842) Journal

        Cupcakes are a drug.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday October 29 2017, @04:53AM (1 child)

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday October 29 2017, @04:53AM (#588928) Homepage

          Oh, yes, those chocolate cupcakes, or White cake cupcakes, are both delicious to the extreme.

          When the frosting is put on them you become a pure addict. I don't give a flying fuck about mainlining cake, but when you cut a piece off that has that nice cake frosting, all bets are off.

          There is a reason why Star Trek had a whole episode dedicated to...mint frosting. You will never understand unless you felt that addiction yourself.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30 2017, @08:24PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30 2017, @08:24PM (#589643)

            Personally, if the neural peptide cake is covered with mint whipped cream frosting, I'd rather not partake.

    • (Score: 1, Redundant) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 29 2017, @01:46AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 29 2017, @01:46AM (#588868) Homepage Journal

      Not sure if there's an element of sarcasm there or not.

      Whatever, it bothers me to have odd sensations and feelings from drugs. Very low levels of an opiate are good sometimes, for my aches and pains. Very low - just enough to relax all those tensions. No feel-good though. If I start the feel-good, I know I've had far to much. It fuzzes the senses, clogs thoughts, and just generally screws me up. I've never wanted any part of that.

      --
      Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:24AM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:24AM (#588905) Journal

      I would enjoy having that lovely feeling on a regular basis.

      Why have you stopped having sex, then?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:42AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:42AM (#588909)

        Sex is an expensive habit.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:23AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:23AM (#588936)

      Study your agonists, avoid rigorous scheduling (the "ritual" and routine tell your body to prepare for drugs - effectively raising your tolerance), allow yourself to come down before re-dosing to avoid quckly building a high tolerance, better to simply avoid daily use though if you want a sustainable high that won't require large amounts of drugs.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 29 2017, @01:41AM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 29 2017, @01:41AM (#588867) Homepage Journal

    It is even more pervasive than doctors prescribing to patients. I've mentioned a coupe of times that I had medical problems last year. A pinched hernia put me into shock, the ambulance was called, and almost the first thing they did was to shoot me up with morphine. You mention "severe pain". There was little "pain" associated with my problem. On a scale of one to ten, the pain was about 1 - comparable to maybe stubbing your toe. Maybe hitting your finger with a hammer. Or a moderately bad headache. I was simply NOT in any kind of severe pain. But, the ambulance crew shot me full of morphine, all the same.

    From my own EMT training, that medical crew should have given me NOTHING. My teacher harped on one them more than any other - stabilize and transport. By "stabilize" she meant stop bleeding, get respiration going, treat for shock. An EMT is simply NOT supposed to administer drugs, unless ABSOLUTELY necessary.

    I needed no drugs, period. But the ambulance crew is part of the system into which Big Pharma is pumping their drugs. Those executives have to get their bonuses, but there will be no bonuses if they aren't pushing unnecessary drugs.

    --
    Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:18AM

      by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:18AM (#588901) Journal

      That is a problem. I can only imagine how many average people became street junkies because big pharma advertised one of the most addictive formulations ever as non-addictive.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @02:58AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @02:58AM (#588889)

    No, they're not. If they're going to be legal at all, they need to be used as last line options after already having tried the other safer options. Marijuana, hypnosis and medication are all effective methods of managing pain. And then there's the numerous other pharmaceuticals that don't have the risk of addiction that opioids have.

    There's also just simply allowing people to feel pain. At a certain point, if you don't learn how to manage your own pain, you're going to be stuck on pills forever. Which isn't a good thing, even the ones that don't have the issues with addiction have long term consequences when taken for years on end.