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posted by martyb on Monday June 18 2018, @03:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the addiction-sucks dept.

US needs to invest 'tens of billions or hundreds of billions' to fight opioid epidemic

The goal of an opioid is to reduce pain, but the addictive drugs are creating pain for millions of families suffering through the crisis. Deaths from opioid overdoses number at least 42,000 a year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"This is an epidemic that's been getting worse over 10 to 20 years," Caleb Alexander, co-director of Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety, told CNBC's "On The Money" in a recent interview. "I think it's important that we have realistic expectations about the amount of work that it will take and the amount of coordination to turn this steamship around," Alexander added.

[...] Alexander added: "The statistics are stunning. More than 2.1 million Americans have an opioid use disorder or opioid addiction" and he says the country needs to "invest tens of billions or hundreds of billions of dollars" to shore up the treatment system. He said patients should be able to access medications that "we know work to help reduce the cravings for further opioids."

Don't mention the Portugal model!

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Attorney General is suing members of the family that runs Purdue Pharma:

Their family name graces some of the nation's most prestigious bastions of culture and learning — the Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Guggenheim Museum, the Sackler Lefcourt Center for Child Development in Manhattan and the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Columbia University, to name a few.

Now the Sackler name is front and center in a lawsuit accusing the family and the company they own and run, Purdue Pharma, of helping to fuel the deadly opioid crisis that has killed thousands of Americans. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey took the unusual step of naming eight members of the Sackler family this week in an 80-page complaint that accused Purdue Pharma of spinning a "web of illegal deceit" to boost profits.

While prosecutors in more than a dozen other states hit hard by the opioid epidemic have sued Purdue Pharma, Healey is the first to name individual Sackler family members, along with eight company executives.


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by HiThere on Monday June 18 2018, @06:00PM (4 children)

    by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 18 2018, @06:00PM (#694612) Journal

    The thing is, even low level use is bad if it's chronic rather than episodic, as you are describing.

    You seem to be handling the drugs in the correct way: Occasional use for unusual events. When used that way opioids currently look relatively safe. But if the label said "No more than one a day for pain" and you interpreted it at "take one a day for pain" things would quickly go downhill.

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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday June 18 2018, @06:28PM (2 children)

    by frojack (1554) on Monday June 18 2018, @06:28PM (#694626) Journal

    But if the label said "No more than one a day for pain" and you interpreted it at "take one a day for pain"

    The label almost always says Take (X) per (period) AS NEEDED for pain. Often there is a DNE restriction as well as a refill restriction as well.

    After they chainsawed my chest (triple cabbage) They gave me a prescription for 60 doses with the above language.
    I still have 59 left 4 years later. I told the doctor I was more afraid of the pills than the pain. He that was a healthy fear.

    People make choices.

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    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday June 18 2018, @07:23PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 18 2018, @07:23PM (#694665) Journal

      I was more afraid of the pills than the pain. . . . that was a healthy fear.

      Hit the nail on the head! That describes how I feel exactly!

      Years ago, the doctor who gives me hydrocodone also gave me a one time oxycodone with NO acetaminophen -- in case I was every already maxed out on acetaminophen but still needed relief. I have 28 of the original 30 left, and I've had that bottle for years.

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    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by requerdanos on Tuesday June 19 2018, @12:50AM

      by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 19 2018, @12:50AM (#694771) Journal

      After they chainsawed my chest (triple cabbage) They gave me a prescription for 60 doses... I told the doctor I was more afraid of the pills than the pain.

      When I underwent the same procedure in 2010*, I went home with a prescription for Darvocet, which was later removed from the market [wikipedia.org] in part because it often causes heart problems. So you were definitely on to something.

      It was months before I could sleep in a bed again because of pain (couldn't lie down--the stress on my chest hurt too badly to sleep; I slept in a reclining chair), but I made it through, no problem, and now I'm fine.

      * I had three coronary artery blockages which I understand were bypassed with two additional blood sources, one from my mammary artery, and the other from a vein from my left leg that was grafted onto my aorta at one end. Awesome, cool scars from that.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by DannyB on Monday June 18 2018, @07:19PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 18 2018, @07:19PM (#694662) Journal

    But if the label said "No more than one a day for pain"

    It says: take 1 or 2 tablets by mouth every 4 hours as needed for pain.

    Only two times have I ever worked up to 2 tablets in what I would describe as one dose. (Over a period of about 90 minutes, working up to 2 tablets.)

    Only a few times traveling (most often Disney World) have I ever had 3 tablets in a single day (over multiple doses).

    My doctors both know why and how I use it, and they know how infrequently I refill. When I asked, they have expressed that they do not have any concerns I am getting myself into any trouble. If you know more about my condition it would be easy to believe that I might use narcotic pain killers.

    A couple years ago there were several kidney stone episodes. That pain was different. It was extremely focused and persistent by comparison. More intense, but not always, surprisingly. I was not accustomed to having that much pain in a different place. On 3rd trip to ER they asked if I needed any more narcotics: "no thanks, I've got plenty". I did not like the oxycodone they gave me and have no intention of ever finishing it.

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