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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, @08:57PM (1 child)

    by VLM (445) on Monday June 18 2018, @08:57PM (#694706)

    It sufficed.

    Well, that's nice. For you.

    Pain is an example of a problem that "big data AI" type stuff could probably help a lot with, reducing a lot of human pain and suffering.

    It would seem trivial to upload DNA sequence and medical records and recent dental x-rays to 'the cloud' and a bunch of math magic happens then it spits back a result like "Yer screwed here have 100 pills" vs "just put an ice pack on it and walk it off". I donno what the financial model could be other than wait until AI is so cheap it can be used to alleviate human misery.

    Some day I'm sure future doctors will look back on 21st century pain management about like how we look back at leech and astrology use, like WTF were those barbarians thinking?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18 2018, @11:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18 2018, @11:14PM (#694737)

    The most important thing to remember about pain management is: if you think it'll hurt then it's gonna hurt.

    A good example of that is the surgery for the caved-in chest defect. They cut you open on the side, slide a metal bar under your ribs in order to push our your sternum, then sew you back up and leave the bar in place for 6 months. It's said to be one of the most painful surgeries you can have. Pain medication use from such patients backs that up. Except when doctors stopped telling their patients it was going to be the most painful thing in their life, then pain medication use dropped to normal after-surgery usage. In other words, it's all in your mind. If you expected it to be painful you'll amplify any pain signals to make it painful. If you don't think it'll hurt much then you'll suppress most of the pain signals. Learning to self-manage your pain through thinking is one of the easiest types of self-hypnosis and the most effective use of placebos.

    Taking meds to deal with pain should never be your first choice. If people can dissociate away their pain enough to handle invasive surgery without being put under, and they can, you can learn to manage after-surgery pain without getting high. It's best to learn these skills before you need them.