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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 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.

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  • (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.