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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: 2) by VLM on Monday June 18 2018, @07:06PM (4 children)

    by VLM (445) on Monday June 18 2018, @07:06PM (#694647)

    You can't help junkies.

    I don't want any of my tax dollars

    Now minimizing expenditure of tax dollars is a totally different topic than "providing help".

    It might not help them in the sense of "help" but the cost to society of illegal pills in total including legal and criminality costs must be 100 times the tax dollars of just handing out as many pills as they ask for. They'll probably die quicker (well, maybe, maybe not...) but I know for sure they'll die cheaper with less tax dollars spent....

    There is also the side issue of regardless of cost, the effect of quality of life on non-junkies. My wife and I had to deal with an aggressive pan handler, the same scruffy dude, four times, last Saturday in front of the hotel. Ironically a free dispensary would not only save money in the long run but would completely eliminate the negative effect on the people around the junkie, I'd be willing to drop more money to get rid of the panhandler, but it would actually be cheaper to hand out free pills than all the police expense...

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  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday June 18 2018, @07:21PM (3 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Monday June 18 2018, @07:21PM (#694663)

    There is also the side issue of regardless of cost, the effect of quality of life on non-junkies.

    That's not even close to the biggest effect on quality-of-life for non-junkies: For instance, most relatives of junkies will be robbed, repeatedly, by the junkie in question. And of course they have to watch their son/daughter/former BFF/sibling deteriorate and often die. And if they die, everyone around them will be wondering if there's something they could have done to prevent it.

    I'm guessing you've never had to witness this.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday June 18 2018, @08:29PM (1 child)

      by VLM (445) on Monday June 18 2018, @08:29PM (#694692)

      Theres really at least three options, medical supervision where people live normal lives plus some pills, free dispensary where they don't live as long or as well but its probably the cheapest, and what we have now where addiction requires dodgy products and a life of crime, which is incredibly expensive and costs a lot of human life.

      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday June 18 2018, @08:59PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Monday June 18 2018, @08:59PM (#694709)

        And of course attempts at rehab programs that try to break the addiction. Easier said than done, but it is an option and one I have no philosophical problem with funding so long as there's some effort to do some accreditation and certification of the various programs in question. I've seen it have some success in working, if the person in the program actually wants to get and stay clean.

        The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18 2018, @11:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18 2018, @11:53PM (#694749)

      Close relation to someone with fetal alcoholism syndrome. It's incurable, costs millions of dollars a year (trillions if you look at it cumulatively) I know a family who bankrupted themselves over it, spent hundreds of thousands on the kid, the state has probably spent a million so far to the early thirties. I bet they could throw a hundred million more at it and the situation would not change. That's the problem with metal illness that is caused by brain irregularities; you can't rebuild missing structures with surgeries or drugs.

      Most drug addicts and homeless suffer from some level of fetal alcohol syndrome. []