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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:03AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:03AM (#588894)

    The complaint isn't that they can't tell that people are stoned, the issue is that it's more difficult to enforce the rules than it is with alcohol. Same goes for prescription medications and anything else that might effect how people drive and their reaction time.

    Bottom line is that anybody that's driving impaired ought to be pulled over and arrested. I have no particular issue with people being drunk or high at home, but the moment they get in their cars and risk other people's lives is the moment they completely lose any of my support in the matter. Just because they tend not to speed doesn't mean that they're cool to drive, it just means that they're going to be driving slower when they run people over and the like.

  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:36AM (4 children)

    by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:36AM (#588906) Journal
    >p>If it's adversely affecting their driving, then you can tell they're on something.
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:45AM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Sunday October 29 2017, @03:45AM (#588910) Journal

      "This person sucks at driving or is tired" usually results in much less punishment than "this person failed a field sobriety test".

      "This person hit the bong an hour ago" = ???

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:27AM

        by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:27AM (#588939) Journal

        Sure, but not zero. The goal is to correct the bad behavior, not maximize punishment (at least that is supposedly the goal). We managed w/ alcohol before the breathalyzer. If the person demonstrates coordination, balance, good orientation, and reasonable reaction time, it's a bit silly to whine that they might have smoked pot. Honestly, is it REALLY worse if someone habitually drives intoxicated than if they habitually drive while impaired by fatigue? Impaired is impaired.

        Of course, if we are going to make things illegal just because something may be hard to enforce, we'll have to ban tomatoes. It seems pot growers have been known to hang red Christmas balls on their plants (I'm not kidding!).

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @04:34AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29 2017, @04:34AM (#588925)

      You have to have probable cause that they've done something illegal in order to get the blood draw necessary to make that determination in general. Pot is a particular problem because nobody really knows how to adequately determine if somebody is too impaired to drive.

      Determining whether or not somebody is too drunk to drive is relatively straightforward, there's a field sobriety test and breathalyzer that can be used to establish the probable cause necessary for an arrest and more invasive testing. With pot and most other drugs, the limits aren't as well established, which makes it really tough to set the rules, you can't just say that you can't have more than X in your system because nobody really knows what that value should be and it seems to vary significantly more than for alcohol.

      As it stands a lot of the impairment comes from just being tired, hungry or sleepy, none of which are currently illegal. There also isn't a legal standard of how focused and attentive you need to be in order to operate a motor vehicle in any country that I know of.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Sunday October 29 2017, @06:24AM

        by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 29 2017, @06:24AM (#588954) Journal

        We managed DUI enforcement before there even was a breathalyser. Close your eyes and touch your nose. Walk the line heel to toe. Recite the alphabet, etc. If you flunk, there's your probable cause.