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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: 2) by linkdude64 on Monday October 30 2017, @06:02PM (1 child)

    by linkdude64 (5482) 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.

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  • (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.