Study: Overdose risk doubles for young people with family on opioids

By Brian P. Dunleavy

March 27 (UPI) — Adolescents and young adults with family members on prescription opioids are more than twice as likely as others to overdose on the pain medications, a new study has found.

In results published Friday by JAMA Network Open, researchers note that young people who have access to these drugs from family members may misuse them, perhaps in unsafe amounts.

Additionally, young people prescribed opioids themselves were six times more likely to overdose on the drugs than those administered to them by a medical professional, the study authors report.

“Prescription opioids are potent medicines that can pose serious health risk to children and teens, if taken accidentally or misused on purpose,” study co-author Dr. Anh P. Nguyen, a research post-doctoral fellow at Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s Institute for Health Research, told UPI. “Parents should control access to these medications in the home.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 170 million prescriptions for opioid-based pain relievers were written in 2018. Opioids have been found to be highly addictive, and the medications have fueled an “epidemic” of abuse and misuse — as well as overdose deaths — across the United States over the past 20 years.

For the research, Nguyen and his colleagues reviewed health data from more than 45,000 families in a Kaiser Permanente Colorado health plan from 2006 and through 2018. These families included more than 72,000 adolescents and young adults between 11 and 26 years of age.

In general, young people were more commonly exposed to opioids dispensed to a family member than they were to have their own prescription. Nearly 48,000, or 66 percent, of the adolescents and young adults included in the study had at least one family member with an opioid prescription, while just over 26,000, or 37 percent, were prescribed the drugs themselves.

The risk for overdose doubled for young people with family members on prescription opioids, and increased six-fold for those on the drugs themselves. Risk for overdose increased 13-fold for those who were prescribed opioids themselves and had a family member taking the drugs.

“There are several measures that families can take,” Nguyen said. “Opioid medications should be stored securely in a place out of reach. Unused and no longer needed medications should be disposed of properly, such as through a medicine take-back program.”

“Controlling access to prescription opioids is just one of several efforts needed to address the opioid crisis,” Nguyen added. “It should be paired with strategies to increase screening and access to treatment for substance use disorder.” (Click to Source)

 

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Surpassing Overdose: Study Links Opioids to Heart-Related Deaths

 

 

The opioid epidemic has been a topic of conversation for a years now. With doctors and pharmacies being instructed to be more careful with their prescribing of the medication, and some states even asking them to look up a patient’s drug history before dispensing the drugs, it comes as no surprise that abuse and overdose are two huge issues. However, research suggests that many patients, especially those on long-term opioids, are dying not only because of overdoses, but simply because they are using them for far too long.

The study, which reviewed 45,000 patients from Tennessee from 1999 to 2012, found that those who had been prescribed opioids had a 64% increased risk of dying within 6 months of starting a regimen of the pills, compared to patients who were on other types of medications.

Although overdose and sharing medication is certainly a risk, the study claims that many doctors prescribe medication without thinking about the risk they may have for cardiovascular patients.

Patients with heart problems are the most vulnerable, as long-term opioid use can lead to slowing down of the heart, particularly when mixed with alcohol. This can lead to an accidental death. Opioids are also particularly dangerous for patients with sleep apnea, as the pills can disrupt the patients’ breathing patterns even further. This can lead to irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, and in some cases, even death.

All of the patients in this study were on Medicaid and were receiving long-term opioids for problems such as backaches, and chronic asthma and bronchitis. None had a history of abusing drugs.

Because they were on Medicaid, it is possible that they were unable to access medication that would actually treat the problem they had, thus doctors were over-prescribing opioids for temporary relief of the symptoms without curative benefits.

Dr. Magdalena Anitescu, a pain management expert at the University of Chicago, stated that there needs to be a huge change in how treatment is regulated. She states that alternative treatments can be just as effective, however, patients need to be granted access and doctors need to be educated on what else can be done besides simply prescribe opioids.

“We have a major cultural shift ahead of us,” said Dr. Chad Brummett, director of pain research at the University of Michigan Health System. (Click to Source)

The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Sources:

Claims Journal

CBS News

 

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Meth is back and flooding the streets of Ohio and Kentucky, and it’s uglier than ever

Terry DeMio, Cincinnati EnquirerPublished 8:14 a.m. ET Feb. 13, 2020

The floor seemed filthy and she could not get rid of the grime. Amie Detzel frantically scrubbed that nursing home floor with cleaning supplies she’d found when no one was looking. On hands and knees, dragging her IV pole with her, the gravely sick woman incessantly scrubbed.

Meth had found its way into the nursing home. She was suffering from addiction. So she used it.

The psychotic episode happened after Detzel had spent days (and nights) of pushing the drug into the intravenous catheter that her caregivers were using to infuse antibiotics into her infected heart. The infection had come from a contaminated needle.

That catheter, the pathway for lifesaving antibiotics, became just another way to get a drug into Detzel’s body to alter her brain.

This was not heroin, which she’d been through. This was not fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opiate that had rushed into Cincinnati several years ago. This was methamphetamine, the primary drug now flooding the streets of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and other communities across the country. It’s a psychostimulant. It can induce psychosis.

That explains the scrubbing.

This new wave of meth is causing police and parents of users and even government officials to shift their focus from opioids to this stimulant – a drug that used to be common, then faded, but is resurging. This time, with much more purity, coming directly from Mexico, not backyard cookeries or houses or sheds.

The fresh attention to meth matters. After all, the rise in meth tested at law enforcement crime laboratories across Ohio and Kentucky is staggering.

Just one example of that rise: The 23 drug task forces (including Northern Kentucky’s) that are funded through the Ohio High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area agency saw a 1,600% jump in meth seized from 2015 to 2019 (and the 2019 numbers are incomplete).

Read that again: 1,600%.

But as shocking as that number is, some addiction experts say that we are missing the point behind the new meth wave.

The point: Addiction. The United States has an addiction crisis.

“We just simply move like a herd of locusts from one drug to another,” said Dr. Mina “Mike” Kalfas, a certified addiction expert in Northern Kentucky. “Meth is the replacement for the crack of old. We go from opioid (pain pills) to opioid (heroin) to opioid (fentanyl) to stimulant (meth).

“We try to get them off of the drug they’re on,” Kalfas said. “What we need to do is, treat the addiction. They’re using (a) drug as a coping mechanism.”

Addiction, which has been with us forever, is what needs to be fixed. With evidence-based treatment. The American Society of Addiction Medicine is still clamoring for more doctors to learn about such treatment and to attend to the problem as a disease.

Historically, the medical system largely ignored addiction, allowing the criminal justice system and treatment programs outside of the health-care system to deal with it, said Lindsey Vuolo, director of Health Law and Policy for and public affairs for the science-based nonprofit Center on Addiction in New York City.

The grudging change started with the opioid epidemic. As overdose death tolls soared, the mantra became: Treat addiction. Save lives. Keep people safe if they use drugs. Carry the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone. Provide more needle exchanges to prevent the spread of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. Continue treatment for this chronic disease.

Those who ignore the advice put us at our own peril, experts say.

“If we don’t start to effectively and efficiently address addiction like the public health issue that it is, we will continue to see drug epidemic after drug epidemic,” said Courtney Hunter, director of advocacy at the Center on Addiction.

So why meth? Why now?

For starters, those who are addicted to opiates are hearing others talk about a new high, cheap and easy to get, and safer than fentanyl.

They are people with addiction, after all, and most people who suffer from addiction will reach for drugs other than the one they primarily use.

Meth is an alternative. But it’s sneaky.

Kalfas calls the current meth problem a new tentacle of the opioid epidemic, noting that most patients he’s seeing who switch from heroin to meth don’t give up opioids for long.

“They perceive (meth) as different, sometimes even lesser somehow, which is how they underestimate it. But when their batteries are dry, they need to ‘come down,’ what will they turn to? The opiate-addicted turns to opiates.”

Brittany Christian, 32, of Walnut Hills, who’s in recovery, said she learned about meth while she was in treatment for heroin addiction in Louisville.

“Everybody had done it and I hadn’t done it, and I really wanted to try it,” she said. She added: “I did not want to go through the heroin withdrawal again.”

Six months after she left that rehab, in May 2017, she decided to find meth.

“It’s just as easy as getting cigarettes at the gas station,” Christian said.

And cheap. In southwest Ohio, a gram of meth can go for as little as $4.50 per gram (and up to $25 a gram), said Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Assistant Superintendent Heinz Von Eckartsberg.

For Detzel, the woman who fell into obsessive floor-scrubbing, drugs were a way to cope with living, she says. Now 35 and in recovery for a year, Detzel was 13 when she was led into a sex-for-drugs trafficking situation orchestrated by someone close to her family.

She did drugs, she said, because it seemed normal.

“I never knew the proper way, you know, to get help,” she said. “All I knew was to use because that’s what I’d seen … at a young age.”

She was vulnerable to anything that took her away from her real life.

“I just wanted to try anything. Anything that I thought would take me to another level.”

And by the time she was 30, meth was simply there for her to try, she said. “Somebody was selling it.”

Like they had sold her.

But Detzel rallied. She was able to maintain sobriety after her stint in the nursing home. She had been prescribed Suboxone for her opioid addiction and had to steer clear of drug use for six months before she could have heart surgery. She learned coping mechanisms, learned she’d been trafficked through no fault of her own and turned to God for help. She celebrated one year in recovery in January.

No such help with meth

Both Detzel and Christian had been introduced to medical help for their initial addictions.

There is no medication-assisted treatment available for meth addiction, as there is for opioid addiction.

That lack will become more obvious every day.

“It looks to me that a supply of stimulants will gradually increase in the U.S., as it has been seen in other parts of the world,” said Dr. Adam Bisaga, an addiction research scientist who is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. While he doesn’t believe people using opioids will easily switch to stimulants, he’s certain there will be more who use both types of drugs.

Bisaga said it appears the best treatment will be an extension of what’s beginning to happen in the United States with opioid use disorder: Medical intervention treating addiction as a chronic disease, treating both addictions “under one roof.”

The best treatment right now for meth addiction is psycho-social therapy, addiction experts say. The method can include talk therapy, learning about the illness and a rehabilitation regimen that helps people develop social and emotional skills they can employ to live a healthy life. Some sufferers are prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep-help drugs or other medications while they detox from meth.

Like with other addictions, “You have to look at the underlying issues and really make a treatment plan that’s individualized for the person,” said Kat Engel, vice president of nursing services for the Center of Addiction Treatment in the West End. “Are they self-medicating?”

As is usual with treatment, not enough are getting it. Meth-related deaths are rising. The latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that, from 2012 to 2018, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine and other “psychostimulants with abuse potential” was up almost fivefold.

Christian, who has been in recovery for a year-and-a-half, said that, “absolutely,” treating drug use has to include treating the individual’s trauma.

“What’s causing someone to use? What issues are they going through? You know, I think a lot of it is underneath that needs to be brought up.”

In her case, it was sexual abuse she’d endured as a child.

With meth, says, she was paralyzed, hyper-focused on a single task. Sometimes, she felt empty. She scratched and picked sores onto her body and face. Once, she piloted her car to a hospital, expecting to be locked in a psych ward. But she was discharged.

For her, the confines and rules of the Center for Addiction Treatment saved her, she said. She found sobriety by following the rules, then looking into her own traumatic past.

“If they told me I could not have a pair of leggings, oh well, I can’t have a pair of leggings. If they told me to go to group therapy three times a day, I did that. My counselor, when she told me to journal, I journaled.”

Both she and Detzel believe their continued success has at least something to do with their work.

Christian is an admissions specialist for the Center for Addiction Treatment. She loves her job, saying, “Somebody did it for me.”

Detzel, now living in Cheviot, works at the YWCA downtown in Cincinnati helping domestic violence and rape victims as well as people with developmental disabilities who struggle with addiction. She’s been in recovery for just more than a year.

The lessons they learned about their own addictions and how to treat them are holding. But they see the avalanche of meth on the streets now. They know the attraction among opioid users to this drug is real.

In Hamilton County, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, the county coroner, said the crime lab’s meth caseload leaped from a little more than 600 in 2016 to 3,600-plus cases in 2019 – “a sixfold increase.”

In Kentucky, the amount of meth seized and tested at the Kentucky State Police Crime Laboratories rose by 77% in just two years, from 2016 to 2018.

The outcomes of all this meth is yet to be seen.

Bisaga has this prediction for those who use such stimulants along with opioids:

“The mixed stimulant-opioid addiction is a different one,” Bisaga said. “We do not have a strategy to treat it, and many programs will be taken by surprise.

“The number of overdoses and adverse medical outcomes in people using both will increase, and this will be a fourth wave of the opioid epidemic.” (Click to Source)

 

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Big Pharma’s addictive opioids are causing the ruination of society

Thursday, December 26, 2019 by: Isabelle Z.

(Natural News) Opioid addicts aren’t the only ones suffering from the drug. The crisis is now ruining society in ways that we are only beginning to grasp, and it’s all thanks to greedy pharmaceutical companies who care more about profits than people.

For example, opioid addicts desperate for their next fix are contributing to a spike in retail theft. Case in point: Home Depot executives are blaming the opioid crisis for the surge in thefts hitting their stores across the nation, something they say is going to hurt their operating profit margins.

In a phone call to investors, CEO Craig Menear said he believes the opioid crisis could be behind their financial woes, and he said it’s something that is happening everywhere in retail.

He recounted to investors how thieves were caught trying to steal $16.5 million of goods on one occasion, of which $1.4 million was destined for their stores. Some of their locations have resorted to taking high-value products like power tools off of their sales floors to prevent loss.

Home Depot’s operating profit margins are expected to drop to 14 percent in 2020 on account of the increased thefts, according to Bloomberg. Although it’s not clear how much of this can be attributed to the opioid crisis, it’s clear there is a big problem.

According to the National Retail Federation, retailers lose $51 billion per year on average, and that’s something they expect to rise in the coming years because of the opioid crisis. They say that more than two thirds of retailers have reported a rise in “organized retail crime activity” in the last year.

The crisis is taking a huge toll on the economy

It’s not just Home Depot and other retailers who are taking a hit; the crisis is taking a massive toll on the economy. An analysis by the Society of Actuaries shows that the total economic cost of the nation’s opioid crisis reached $631 billion from 2015 to 2018, which is greater than the GDP of nations like Belgium, Taiwan and Sweden.

Almost a third of the costs, amounting to around $186 billion, were shouldered by local, state and federal governments to deal with the rise in deaths, legal expenses and health care spending related to the crisis, while $445 billion fell on the private sector and individuals.

$205 billion of the estimated financial losses went to the excess health care spending needed for these people’s inpatient and outpatient visits and care for family members. There’s also the impact opioid use has on newborns, who can suffer medical problems and withdrawals when born to parents who abuse the drugs.

Meanwhile, criminal justice costs accounted for $39 billion. This includes expenses like legal fees, correctional facility costs, and police protection.

While health care costs and retail losses are somewhat easy to measure, society is suffering in many other ways, too. People’s lives are being ruined, their livelihoods are being destroyed, and their families are being torn apart thanks to the opioid crisis. Big Pharma is to blame for aggressively marketing these dangerous drugs to people who clearly didn’t need them in the first place, setting them on a downward spiral that is very difficult to break out of.

Rather than show remorse for their actions, some drug company employees have the audacity to joke about the crisis. For example, leaked emails showed two callous executives making light of the deadly crisis, writing things like “Keep ‘em comin’! Flyin’ out of there. It’s like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh wait, people are…” and “Just like Doritos keep eating. We’ll make more.”

According to the CDC, nearly 400,000 people died of opioid overdoses in the years from 1999 to 2017, and many others are living with the effects of the crisis. It’s already impacting countless people who have never even touched the drug, and as long as there’s money to be made, this is a problem that isn’t about to go away. (Click to Source)

Sources for this article include:

ZeroHedge.com

CBSNews.com

Independent.co.uk


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Purdue Pharma’s foreign affiliate now selling overdose cure

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The gleaming white booth towered over the medical conference in Italy in October, advertising a new brand of antidote for opioid overdoses. “Be prepared. Get naloxone. Save a life,” the slogan on its walls said.

Some conference attendees were stunned when they saw the company logo: Mundipharma, the international affiliate of Purdue Pharma — the maker of the blockbuster opioid, OxyContin, widely blamed for unleashing the American overdose epidemic.

Here they were cashing in on a cure.

“You’re in the business of selling medicine that causes addiction and overdoses, and now you’re in the business of selling medicine that treats addiction and overdoses?” asked Dr. Andrew Kolodny, an outspoken critic of Purdue who has testified against the company in court. “That’s pretty clever, isn’t it?”

As Purdue Pharma buckles under a mountain of litigation and public protest in the United States, its foreign affiliate, Mundipharma, has expanded abroad, using some of the same tactics to sell the addictive opioids that made its owners, the Sackler family, among the richest in the world. Mundipharma is also pushing another strategy globally: From Europe to Australia, it is working to dominate the market for opioid overdose treatment.

“The way that they’ve pushed their opioids initially and now coming up with the expensive kind of antidote — it’s something that just strikes me as deeply, deeply cynical,” said Ross Bell, executive director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation and a longtime advocate of greater naloxone availability. “You’ve got families devastated by this, and a company who sees dollar signs flashing.”

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This story was produced with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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Mundipharma’s antidote, a naloxone nasal spray called Nyxoid, was recently approved in New Zealand, Europe and Australia. Mundipharma defended it as a tool to help those whose lives are at risk, and even experts who criticize the company say that antidotes to opioid overdoses are badly needed. Patrice Grand, a spokesman for Mundipharma Europe, said in a statement that heroin is the leading cause of overdose death in European countries and nasal naloxone is an important treatment option.

Injectable naloxone has long been available; it is generic and cheap. But Mundipharma’s Nyxoid is the first in many countries that comes pre-packaged as a nasal spray — an easier, less threatening way for those who witness an overdose to intervene. Nyxoid, which isn’t sold in the U.S., is more expensive than injectable naloxone, running more than $50 a dose in some European countries. A similar product manufactured by another pharmaceutical company has been available for years in the U.S. under the brand name Narcan.

Critics say Nyxoid’s price is excessive, particularly when inexpensive naloxone products already exist. Grand declined to say how much Nyxoid costs Mundipharma to manufacture or how profitable it has been.

The Sackler family’s pharmaceutical empire has long considered whether it might make money treating addiction, according to lawsuits filed against Purdue and the family. In the U.S., Purdue Pharma called its secret proposal Project Tango, the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York have alleged, and discussed it in a September 2014 conference call that included family member Kathe Sackler.

In internal documents, the lawsuits allege, Purdue illustrated the connection they had publicly denied between opioids and addiction with a graphic of a blue funnel. The top end was labeled “Pain treatment.” The bottom: “opioid addiction treatment.” The slideshow said they had an opportunity to become an “end-to-end provider” — opioids on the front end, and addiction treatment on the back end.

“It is an attractive market,” the staff wrote, according to the Massachusetts complaint. “Large unmet need for vulnerable, underserved and stigmatized patient population suffering from substance abuse, dependence and addiction.”

In its response to the court, the family’s lawyers wrote that the plan was put forward by a third-party private equity fund as a potential joint venture and “at the very most, Project Tango was mentioned in passing on a few occasions and the proposal was subsequently abandoned.” A press release issued by the Sacklers said no member of the family or board had an active role in the presentations or supported the proposal, and called the lawsuits “sensationalized” and “misleading.” Purdue declined to comment.

New York’s lawsuit alleges that in 2015, Project Tango was presented to Purdue’s board as a joint venture to sell the addiction medication suboxone that could become the “market lead in the addiction medicine space.” The presentation highlighted the sales opportunity in opioid addiction: 40 to 60 percent who went through treatment would relapse and need it again.

Project Tango stalled. It was revised the next year with a new plan to sell naloxone, the lawsuits allege.

Publicly, Purdue was denying that its painkillers caused the addiction epidemic. But in internal communications, the company described naloxone as a “strategic fit” and a “complementary” product to the prescription opioids they were already selling, the Massachusetts attorney general said. Purdue calculated that the need for overdose reversal medication was increasing so rapidly, potential revenue could triple from 2016 to 2018.

The lawsuit alleges that Purdue identified its own painkiller patients as a target market for naloxone — and that it could use its sales force already visiting doctors to promote opioids to also promote overdose reversal medication. They saw potential profits in government efforts to expand access to naloxone to stem the tide of overdose deaths, a toll that has soared to 400,000 since the American epidemic began.

Project Tango fizzled in the U.S.; the family’s press release said Purdue’s board rejected it.

But half a world away, in Australia, Mundipharma embarked on an effort to promote naloxone that was sweeping and effective.

As part of an Australian coroner’s investigation last year into six fatal opioid overdoses in New South Wales state, Mundipharma submitted a 15-page document touting the benefits of naloxone. If people around the overdose victims had had access to naloxone, the company wrote, many of those deaths may have been avoided. At the same time, Mundipharma was registering Nyxoid in Australia, a fact it acknowledged within its submission.

In the document, the company suggested that officials change the country’s laws to allow for easier access to naloxone, get naloxone into needle exchange programs, detox centers and supervised injecting clinics, and establish a national, free take-home naloxone program.

“The Coroner should consider what is needed to realise the full public health benefits of this essential medicine,” Mundipharma wrote.

During the coroner’s inquest, Mundipharma sent a staffer to court to testify about the benefits of naloxone nasal spray. According to a transcript, Mundipharma’s Medical Affairs Director, Brian Muller, came to court with samples of naloxone products, including Nyxoid.

Health and addiction experts also praised the drug’s life-saving potential. In her written findings delivered in March, Coroner Harriet Grahame agreed that naloxone should be more widely distributed and Nyxoid given to the state’s paramedics, police agencies, doctors and hospital emergency departments.

Mundipharma also paid for a drug policy institute’s study on naloxone that the federal government ultimately used as a blueprint for a 10 million Australian dollar ($6.8 million) pilot program to distribute naloxone, including Nyxoid. And in October, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that Australia’s government would subsidize Nyxoid prescriptions, meaning it costs Australians as little as AU$6.50 ($4.50) per pack, versus around AU$50 without the subsidy.

Asked in an interview whether the government had any concerns about following the recommendations of a Mundipharma-funded report that stood to benefit the company financially, Hunt replied: “All of the advice is that this is a product that will save lives and protect lives and our approach is to be fearless of the source of the product.”

In a statement, Mundipharma Australia denied its Nyxoid push in the country had any connection to, or was influenced in any way, by Purdue’s Project Tango.

“Mundipharma Australia and Purdue Pharma are independent companies,” the Australian company wrote. “Mundipharma Australia introduced Nyxoid to help meet a clear clinical need.”

Grand, the spokesman for Mundipharma Europe, also rejected any link between the company’s Nyxoid strategy and Project Tango, saying that the European company and Purdue have separate managements, boards and strategies.

In some countries, including Norway, Nyxoid is the only nasal naloxone product approved, said Thomas Clausen, a professor at the University of Oslo in Norway who runs the nation’s naloxone program. Clausen is happy that Nyxoid is available, but not that a company profiting from mass marketing opioids is now trying to profit again off opioid addiction.

“It’s kind of a paradox,” he said.

Clausen said he hopes other companies will enter the market, and that competition will drive down cost. In its basic, generic form, Clausen said, naloxone is so cheap that the United Nations launched a pilot program in central Asian countries providing injectable naloxone at a cost of around $1 per kit.

Some critics argue that Mundipharma should be providing a cheaper — or even free — naloxone product, although Nyxoid’s cost is not remarkable when compared to the exorbitant price of many prescription drugs in the U.S. The most common nasal antidote in the U.S. retails for more than $100, double what most Europeans pay for Nyxoid.

Still, in some countries, Nyxoid’s price could prove problematic.

Pernilla Isendahl runs a naloxone distribution program in a county in south Sweden that began in June 2018, when Nyxoid came onto the market. Each kit costs the government 450 Swedish Krona ($47.)

The project is expected to run for at least three years, and she hopes after that the county will continue to pay for the medication, despite budget constraints.

“I can’t really see how it would be financed by the people themselves, at the price it is now,” she said.

In the United Kingdom, Nyxoid is being distributed by a handful of charities, said Peter Furlong, coordinator of British charity Change Grow Live’s Nyxoid distribution pilot program in Manchester. Furlong is pleased more people now have access to the medicine, but it still costs more than injectable naloxone. Furlong said he asked Mundipharma if they could reduce the drug’s price for the charity’s pilot, which began in August, but Mundipharma told him it was too early to talk discounts.

Grand, the spokesman for Mundipharma Europe, said the company was working closely with charities and addiction organizations to identify the best ways to make the drug available to those who may benefit from it. Nyxoid’s price reflects the company’s investment, manufacturing cost and the value of the technology, while recognizing the “prevailing financial pressures that exist within care sectors,” he said.

Stephen Wood, a fellow at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics who studied how pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. raised prices on naloxone products as the addiction epidemic intensified, says that Sackler-owned companies manufacturing naloxone have an ethical duty to make it widely available.

“If they were trying to find a solution, they would just distribute naloxone for free,” he said. “They could use all that money they made off opioids to help support a program where they are giving away this life-saving medication.” (Click to Source)

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The Global Opioids project can be seen here: https://www.apnews.com/GlobalOpioids


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42 Addiction Statistics and Facts to Know in 2019

 

We’ve compiled the following list of addiction statistics from several verified sources to help educate you. Addiction is a big problem throughout the world, with a lot of people battling various forms of the disease. Because of addiction’s prevalence in the world today, it has become necessary to know the various forms this problem takes and the effects these substances have on us.

When measuring addiction, it’s all about the quantity of the substance used and the frequency. In the US, the substance abuse facts show us that more than 23 million individuals from age 12 and up suffer from a type of substance abuse disorder.

These statistics cover several substances, including cocaine, alcohol, and prescription medications, to give a better idea of the challenges those with an addiction face. As the following data will show, these substances affect people across all genders, races, and economic backgrounds.

Important Addiction Statistics

This list contains some of our more intriguing statistics for a quick read:

  • People addicted to prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin.
  • Approximately 966,000 American adults struggled with a cocaine use disorder (CUD) in 2017.
  • Every year, 3.3 million fatalities result from the consumption of alcohol.
  • Meth is involved in 85%–90% of stimulant-related drug fatalities, thus seriously contributing to the drug problem in America.
  • In 2017, cocaine was associated with 1 out of 5 overdose-related fatalities.
  • Opioid painkillers account for 38.2% of drug overdose fatalities.
  • Doctors released 191,218,272 opioid prescriptions in 2017.
  • Approximately 80% of individuals who used heroin also misused prescription opioids.
  • Around 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes.
  • Genetics and the influence of the environment have a 40%–60% effect on a person’s chances of developing an addiction.

General Statistics on Addiction

Addiction Statistics - General Stats

1. Only 10% of Americans dealing with addiction receive treatment.

As stated earlier, there are over 23 million people in America struggling with at least one type of addiction. Out of these, very few get treatment. This leaves a lot of people trying to live with a substance addiction.

(USA Today)

2. More than 20% of Americans with an anxiety disorder also suffer from a drug use disorder.

This shows the direct relationship that anxiety and depression have with substance abuse. These may be factors that contribute to or affect drug abuse.

(NCBI)

3. Every year, 3.3 million fatalities occur due to alcohol consumption.

It’s also one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. These alcohol statistics include the results of short-term actions, such as reckless driving, or long-term health problems, such as cancer or liver disease.

(World Health Organization)

4. In 2017, approximately 38% of adults with substance use disorder symptoms had an illegal drug use disorder.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Illicit drug use refers to the abuse of any illegal drugs, as well as the misuse of certain prescription drugs. The list of illegal drugs includes heroin, marijuana, cocaine, inhalants, or methamphetamine.

(Bright Path Program)

5. Genetics and one’s environment have a large impact on addiction.

Why do people do drugs? Genetics, along with the impact one’s environment has on gene expression, accounts for about 40% to 60% of an individual’s risk of addiction.

(NCBI)

Teenage Drug Use Statistics (Ages 12–17)

6. 4% of American teenagers struggle with a form of substance use disorder. 

An estimated 992,000 adolescents—i.e., one in every 25 persons aged 12–17—experience some kind of challenge with substance abuse.

(American Addiction Centers)

7. 443,000 adolescents aged 12–17 had alcohol use disorders in 2017.

This value correlates with 1.8% of all adolescents, and it shows that teens are more susceptible to the effects of drugs than adults. The 2017 numbers were somewhat lower than the figures from 2002 to 2015, though they were comparable to the 2016 estimate.

(SAMHSA)

8. Approximately 741,000 teenagers suffered from an illicit substance use disorder in 2017.

This corresponds to approximately 3% of teenagers aged 12 to 17 who admitted to having had an illicit drug use disorder. Additional addiction statistics show that an estimated 7.5 million individuals aged 12 and higher had at least one illicit drug use disorder.

(82717life and Drug War Facts)

Young Adults Age 18–25

Addiction Statistics - Young Adults

9. 14.8% of young adults struggle with at least one form of substance use disorder.

In the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was discovered that 5.1 million people in the 18–25 age range struggle with a substance use disorder. This accounts for one out of every 7 people in this age group.

(Bright Path Program)

10. 7.3% of young adults admitted to having an illicit drug use disorder in 2017.

The substance abuse statistics show that about 2.5 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 reported struggling with an illicit or illegal drug use disorder in the previous year.

(American Addiction Centers)

Ages 26 and Older

11. In 2017, 5% of adults lived with an alcohol use disorder.

Roughly 10.6 million people aged 26 years and older struggled with alcoholism in 2017, according to the drug addiction statistics from 2017. It was also noted that the values obtained for 2017 were lower than most of the years leading up to it.

(NSDUH)

12. 1 in every 16 adults reported having a substance use disorder (SUD) in 2017.

Approximately 13.6 million people aged 26 years and older admitted to dealing with a substance use disorder. This value represents 6.4% of the total individuals in this age range.

(NSDUH)

Drug Use by Race and Region

13. Native Americans and Alaska Natives 12 years of age and up had the highest level of drug abuse in 2017.

In the survey carried out, 12.8% of Alaskan Natives and Native Americans had trouble with drug abuse or misuse. This is higher than the measured statistics in 2016, which recorded 11.7%.

(American Addiction Centers)

14. About 4.6% of Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians struggled with illnesses related to drug use in 2017.

These drug use statistics show that 4.6% of Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians struggled with drug use in 2017. This is lower than the 4.8% recorded in 2016’s results.

(American Addiction Centers)

15. Approximately 6.8% of African Americans struggled with drug use-related illnesses in 2017.

6.8% of African Americans, according to the drug statistics from 2017, had issues with drug use, while 6.6% of Latinos or Hispanics suffered from drug use illnesses. Compared with the values from 2016, the values are getting lower among African Americans (7.6%).

(American Addiction Centers)

Methamphetamine Addiction 

16. Meth is currently used by approximately 897,000 teenagers and adults in America. 

Research shows that untreated addiction to meth, one of the most abused drugs out there, can lead to potentially dangerous results. A considerable percentage (30%) of law enforcement agencies see it as the biggest drug threat and one that requires the most resources to tackle.

(Talbott Recovery)

17. Meth is involved in 85%–90% of stimulant-related drug fatalities.

Meth is responsible for causing the highest death toll among stimulant-related drugs, a concern we continue to see among the meth addiction facts. Data from 2015 add that 5,716 individuals died as a consequence of an overdose on stimulants. Worse, the number of deaths caused by stimulant drugs rose by a margin of 225% from 2005 to 2015.

(Talbott Recovery)

18. Admissions to meth addiction therapy increased by 3% from 2014 to 2015. 

These meth statistics show that some people, although few, are seeking treatment for their meth addiction. With more efforts made to educate people, the results should keep improving, and more people will be encouraged to get therapy for their addiction. These statistics also show that up to 135,264 people got help for meth addiction in publicly funded facilities in 2015.

(Talbott Recovery)

Cocaine Statistics

19. Approximately 5 million Americans regularly use cocaine.

In 2017, 2.2 million Americans reported having taken cocaine at least one time in the previous month. Nearly 4% of students in 12th grade admitted to using cocaine at least once in 2018.

(CDC and Addiction Center)

20. In 2017, cocaine was associated with 1 out of 5 overdose-related fatalities.  

This drug abuse statistic also states that the proportion of fatalities associated with cocaine overdose improved from 2016 to 2017 by a margin of 34%. The drug abuse facts verify that cocaine can result in organ damage, cause respiratory failure, and provoke mental disorders.

(CDC)

21. Approximately 966,000 American adults struggled with a cocaine use disorder in 2017.

Cocaine is one of the many substances that have contributed to widespread illegal drug use in America. These statistics also indicate that more than 5 million Americans use cocaine regularly.

(NY Post)

Tobacco Addiction

Addiction Statistics - Tobacco

22. Around 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes. 

This is partly because cigarettes are relatively easy to buy once you’re over 18 years of age. The drug abuse statistics also report that the proportion of Americans smoking cigarettes fell from 21% in 2005 to 14% in 2017. About 604,000 Americans aged 12–17 and about 1.2 million Americans aged 18–21 smoked their first cigarette in 2017.

(Time)

23. Approximately 16% of men in America smoke cigarettes.

Only 12% of American women smoke cigarettes. People who have the highest probability of using cigarettes are those who live in poverty, have a disability, or don’t have a university degree. Smoking cigarettes in the US results in more than 480,000 deaths each year.

(CDC)

Alcoholism Statistics

24. Of the 61.4% of students who drive in America, 7.8% of them have driven after drinking alcohol.

This shows that of the students who drive, 7.8% had driven one or more times after drinking alcohol. After drinking, the incidence of driving a car or other vehicle was greater among men (9.5%) than women (6%).

(Promises)

25. This disorder leads to over 200 distinct types of health conditions and injuries.

The alcohol abuse statistics indicate that alcohol abuse costs the US about $250 billion annually. According to data from 2016, approximately 15 million Americans are diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder every year, and an estimated 136 million Americans consume alcohol—which is about one-third of the population.

(The Recovery Village)

26. Approximately 2,200 individuals in the US die each year due to alcohol poisoning.

How many people die from alcohol? This comes out to an average of six people a day. Between 2010 and 2012, an estimated 76% of the deaths caused by alcohol poisoning were among adults aged 35–64.

(Promises)

27. Approximately 60%–70% of the married couples who have been in a physical altercation with each other abuse alcohol.

How many families in the US are affected by alcoholism? Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are an issue that can ruin a marriage or drive a wedge. Individuals who drink can blow through the family budget, cause fights, neglect their children, and otherwise impair the health and happiness of the individuals they love. In time, family members may even create symptoms of codependency, unintentionally keeping the addiction alive, even if it harms them. However, family therapy and rehabilitation can be of assistance.

(American Addiction Centers)

Opioid Addiction Statistics

Addiction Statistics - Opioids

28. Approximately 130 Americans die from issues due to an opioid overdose every day. 

Figures show that up to 399,230 Americans have died as a result of opioids between 1999 and 2017. In America alone, there were 47,600 recorded deadly overdoses in 2017, each involving a minimum of one opioid.

(Pharmacy Times and Addiction Center)

29. Approximately 21%–29% of patients misuse opioids meant for chronic pain.

The Opioid Crisis statistics show that this substance has had a drastic impact on the nation, resulting in public health concerns relating to social and economic welfare. Of the people who take prescription opioids, 21%–29% misuse them.

(NCBI)

30. Just in 2017, 2 million Americans misused prescription opioids for the first time.

A lot of individuals who misuse prescription opioids have a high probability of becoming opioid addicts. These same drug facts also state that around 2 million Americans struggle with an opioid use disorder.

(NIH)

31. Doctors released 191,218,272 opioid prescriptions in 2017.

This is a slight decrease from the 200 million opioid prescriptions that were released annually between 2006 and 2016. Worse, the rate at which opioid painkillers have been sold has risen by 300% since 1999.

(CDC and Addiction Center)

Opioid Abuse Statistics by State

32. The number of opioid overdoses in big cities have risen by 54% in 16 states.

This statistic also notes that overdoses of opioids have risen by 30% in 52 locations across 45 states from July 2016 to September 2017. As you can see, the number of opioid overdoses, not to mention the overall use of drugs in America, has consistently been on the rise.

(NBC News)

33. Approximately 80% of individuals who used heroin also misused prescription opioids.

This demonstrates the relationship between the use of prescription opioids and heroin. In a survey carried out in 2014, 94% of the respondents said they first used heroin because most prescription opioids are costlier and harder to obtain. The opioid abuse statistics also go on to show that approximately 4% to 6% of people who misuse heroin had made a shift from prescription opioids. It’s estimated that up to 23% of all the people who take heroin have also developed an addiction to opioids.

(NIH and Addiction Center)

34. 10% of the people who misuse opioids become addicted to them.

The opioid addiction facts show that most people don’t think it’s a big deal to frequently share their unused pain relievers, apparently oblivious to the hazards of non-medical opioid use. When a friend or relative gives opioids to an adolescent, there’s a good chance they will misuse the prescription pain relievers and possibly even develop an addiction.

(Addiction Center)

Heroin Addiction Statistics

35. 886,000 Americans used heroin at least once in 2017.

The statistics counting the number of people who used heroin in America are on the high side. About 494,000 people frequently use heroin. In 2017, 81,000 Americans took heroin for the first time.

(Niznik Behavioral Health and Addiction Center)

36. People addicted to prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.

These heroin addiction facts show that alcohol addicts are twice as likely to also be addicted to heroin, while cannabis addicts are 3 times as likely, and cocaine addicts are 15 times as likely. This demonstrates a clear correlation between heroin addiction and addiction to other substances.

(American Addiction Centers)

37. 25% of those who abuse heroin will likely become addicted to it.

The heroin statistics continue to prove that it’s a highly addictive substance. Obviously, it’s never a good idea to try it because the chances of getting addicted are too great. This is why the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in most demographic groups in the US, the use of heroin has increased over the previous two centuries.

(Addiction Center)

Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

38. In 2017, around 1.7 million individuals over 12 years old had a prescription pain reliever use disorder.

According to these statistics, 0.6% of people 12 years old and upwards have a disorder associated with pain reliever abuse. In addition, in 2017, tranquilizers, pain relievers, sedatives, and stimulants were some of the most abused prescription drugs.

(Surgeon General and American Addiction Centers)

39. Opioid painkillers account for 38.2% of drug overdose fatalities.

Prescription drug abuse leads to the biggest proportion of drug overdose fatalities. Of the 22,400 people who died from a drug overdose in the United States recorded in 2005, the most frequently found drug was opioid painkillers, at 38.2%.

(Foundation for a Drug-Free World)

Marijuana Addiction Statistics

Addiction Statistics - Marijuana

40. Approximately 4.1 million adults in America over 12 years of age struggled with a marijuana use disorder in 2017.

The majority of individuals dealing with marijuana addiction issues were in the age range of 12–25. In 2014, nearly 6% of full-time US university students smoked cannabis daily. This is more than 3 times the number of daily smokers 20 years ago in this demographic.

(American Addiction Centers)

41. Each year, approximately 30–40 million Americans use marijuana by smoking it. 

What is the most commonly used illicit drug among persons aged 12 and older? In 2017, about 1.2 million Americans aged 12–17 and 525,000 over 26 years used marijuana for the first time. Marijuana is increasingly becoming legal across the United States, both for medical and recreational use, but it still isn’t entirely secure because it can be addictive and cause health issues.

(Addiction Center)

42. About 30% of individuals who admit to using marijuana frequently have a disorder with marijuana use.

The marijuana addiction facts show that at least once in the previous year, 13% of 8th graders, 27% of 10th graders, and 35% of 12th graders used marijuana. Less than 1% of 8th graders, approximately 3% of 10th grade students, and approximately 5% of 12th graders reported using it daily. Marijuana’s average batch has become stronger, which has increased the overall number of marijuana deaths per year. The average marijuana batch in 1990 contained less than 4% THC, but that proportion has since increased to over 12%.

(Addiction Center)

The Primary Causes of Drug Addiction

  • Adolescents and individuals with mental health disorders have a greater risk of drug use and addiction than other groups.
  • Genetics, including the effect of one’s setting on gene expression, accounts for approximately 40% to 60% of a person’s risk of addiction, according to the addiction stats.
  • Environmental variables may boost a person’s risk of addiction to prescription drugs and their abuse. These could include parents’ substance use and their attitude toward medicines, peer influences, a messy home environment and abuse, community attitudes toward medicine, and poor academic achievement.

Conclusion

Addiction can harm a person’s normal activities and damage their relationships with friends and loved ones. However, there are several treatment procedures that are proven to be helpful with addiction. These addiction statistics should educate readers about the dangerous effects of addiction and help them make better choices. (Click to Source)

List of Sources:

 

the-blogging-hounds-recovery-ad-2

Hospitals are putting Native American patients at risk for opioid abuse, audit says

Associated Press Published 11:17 a.m. ET July 22, 2019 | Updated 3:53 p.m. ET July 22, 2019

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — U.S. government hospitals placed Native American patients at increased risk for opioid abuse and overdoses, failing to follow their own protocols for prescribing and dispensing the drugs, according to a federal audit made public Monday.

The report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General does not draw conclusions about actual abuse or overdoses. But it said all five Indian Health Service hospitals that were reviewed had patients who were given opioids in amounts exceeding federal guidelines.

“There are vulnerabilities with this particular population in the opioid prescribing and dispensing practices,” said Carla Lewis, one of the auditors.

The overdose epidemic that has killed more people than any other drug epidemic in U.S. history has hit indigenous communities hard. Native Americans and Alaska Natives had the second-highest rate of opioid overdose out of all U.S. racial and ethnic groups in 2017, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report made more than a dozen recommendations to the Indian Health Service to better track patients’ health records and pain management, ensure opioids are stored under tighter security and update its information technology systems. The agency agreed on every point and said changes were coming.

The Indian Health Service, the federal agency that administers primary health care for Native Americans, has put an increased focus on opioids lately with a new website and the creation of a committee focused on decreasing overdose deaths, promoting culturally appropriate treatments and ensuring that communities know how to respond.

The audit covered five of the 25 hospitals directly run by the Indian Health Service: the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Phoenix; Northern Navajo Medical Center on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico; the Lawton Indian Hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma; the Cass Lake Indian Hospital on the Leech Lake reservation in Cass Lake, Minnesota; and the Fort Yates Hospital on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

Auditors considered the amount of opioids each hospital dispensed and the percentage increase over three years when deciding which ones to review. They looked at 30 patient records at each hospital, visited the facilities and interviewed staff.

The auditors found that the hospitals strayed from guidelines in the Indian Health Manual in reviewing treatment for patients and their causes of pain every three months. Patients also must sign a written consent form and an agreement to treat chronic pain with opioids so they know the risks and benefits, as well as the requirement for drug screenings. More than 100 patient records did not include evidence of informed consent, and dozens did not have evidence that providers adequately educated patients.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that patients be prescribed no more than 90 morphine milligram equivalents per day, a measure used to compare an opioid dose with morphine.

The audit found that each hospital met or exceeded that amount at times. At the Shiprock hospital, the daily dosage was more than four times as high. The auditors also found some patients were prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines — commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia —at the same time, which “puts patients at a greater risk of a potentially fatal overdose.”

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that patients be prescribed no more than 90 morphine milligram equivalents per day, a measure used to compare an opioid dose with morphine.

The audit found that each hospital met or exceeded that amount at times. At the Shiprock hospital, the daily dosage was more than four times as high. The auditors also found some patients were prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines — commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia —at the same time, which “puts patients at a greater risk of a potentially fatal overdose.” (Click to Source)

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They knew: Recently unsealed court documents reveal that makers of OxyContin purposely misled doctors and consumers about the strength of the drug

(Natural News) The opioid epidemic has been costly, there’s little doubt about that. With 47,600 deaths from opioid overdose in 2017 alone, the wave of death shows no signs of slowing down. And all the while, Big Pharma has been cashing out. Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family and producer of the most infamous opioid, OxyContin, was raking in $1 billion in annual sales at one point — and now, unsealed court documents show that the pharma giant purposely deceived doctors and used aggressive marketing tactics to bolster their profits. While all pharma companies stand accused of putting profits before people, the latest revelations in the case against OxyContin (and similar drugs) certainly takes the cake.

Thanks to Purdue Pharma’s misdeeds and unlawful behavior, thousands of lives have been lost or destroyed. And yet for some reason, the Sackler family has escaped culpability. David Sackler himself denies any responsibility for the opioid epidemic — even though recently disclosed court documents show that the good doctor advised Purdue’s marketing team to hide the truth about OxyContin and the danger it posed.

Purdue founders knew OxyContin was dangerous

As Natural Health 365 reports, sealed court documents from 2015 have recently been made public. The evidence clearly shows that OxyContin creators knew that the drug had an enormous potential for addiction and misuse — and instead of doing the right thing, the company lied about the risks involved with their product.

Not only did the makers of OxyContin market the drug as being “less strong” than morphine (even though it’s actually stronger), sales representatives were encouraged to say that OxyContin “couldn’t be abused” and was not addictive.

We have seen how well that played out: Up to 130 deaths per day from opioid abuse.

As Vox reports, Purdue Pharma got approval from the FDA to market OxyContin as “less prone to abuse” because of its extended-release formula. Purdue Pharma claims that by releasing a lot of the drug over time, they could prevent misuse. However, this extended-release formula also allowed Purdue to put a lot more of the drug into each pill. Users can then bypass the “extended release” by crushing up their pills before use. Ultimately, this made the drug more prone to being abused.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died as a direct result of opioid abuse — and countless others have gone on to become addicted to heroin or other opiates thanks to opioids. Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that 75 percent of heroin addicts started off with an opioid.

Purdue Pharma founders deny reality

Even after Purdue Pharma and three top executives plead guilty in 2016, and even after dozens of doctors have lost their licenses for getting kick-backs and over-prescribing opioids, the Sackler family continues to deny the truth about OxyContin. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, David Sackler even went so far as to claim that the addiction rate is only “between two and three percent,” and might rise to five percent with “more typical dependence and misuse.”

Never mind the fact that real science shows that the addiction rate with opioids is more like 26 percent — is it really supposed to be acceptable for a prescription drug to cause any level of dependence or misuse? Sackler isn’t just denying culpability — he’s normalizing drug addiction and talking about drug dependency as if its a simple fact of life.

Estimates suggest 22.4 million opioid prescriptions are doled out annually in the U.S. That’s 66.5 opioid prescriptions per every 100 people. Even if just two percent of those people were to end up addicted, it is two percent still too many. The opioid crisis has hit America hard, and it is high time the Sacklers owned up to what their misleading marketing tactics, shifty bribing practices and other bad behaviors have done to the country and its people. (Click to Source)

Learn more about toxic pharmaceuticals at DangerousMedicine.com.

Sources for this article include:

NaturalHealth365.com

Vox.com

 

decolores2bpostrer

 

Addiction Ends at the Foot of the Cross by True Salvation thru Yeshua the Messiah – Jesus Christ

Feds: A popular drug from the disco era is making a deadly return

Today’s narcotics abusers may be turning to cocaine in part “because there’s been a lot of bad press about other drugs.”

By Corky Siemaszko

 

The bitter lessons about the dangers of cocaine from the disco era in the 1970s may be lost on a new generation of drug abusers.

A phenomenon known as “generational forgetting” may be one of the reasons for the deadly uptick in cocaine deaths that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week, experts said.

“Certain drugs seem to go in and out of style,” Daniel Raymond, deputy director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, said. “Right now we’re seeing an uptick in cocaine use, and we’re hitting that point in the cycle where we’re starting to see more fatal overdoses.”

“Absolutely, there is a generational piece to this,” said Hans Breiter, a Northwestern University psychiatry professor and one of the world’s leading experts on how cocaine stimulates the human brain.

Today’s narcotics abusers may be turning to cocaine in part “because there’s been a lot of bad press about other drugs,” Breiter said.

Just like the generation that dealt with the horrors of AIDS was followed by another that was less afraid of the scourge and thus more likely to have unprotected sex, today’s drug users aren’t afraid of cocaine like they should be, he said.

“We see this kind of forgetting in politics all the time, for example,” he said. “People resurrecting ideas like trickle-down economics, even though it’s been pretty much invalidated.”

On Thursday, the CDC reported that overdose deaths involving cocaine began rising around 2012 and jumped by more than a third between 2016 and 2017.

CDC researchers also found that almost three-quarters of the deaths involving cocaine in 2017 were among people who had also taken opioids.

But deaths involving cocaine alone also increased, said the CDC’s Lawrence Scholl, who was one of the study’s authors.

That could be because there’s more cocaine on the streets, Raymond, of the Harm Reduction Coalition, said.

“We have a greater supply of cocaine now than we did 10 years ago,” he said. “My understanding is production had fallen off in Colombia and it has been increasing again.”

Sheila Vakharia of the Drug Policy Alliance wrote in an email “there is definitely something to be said for cyclical theories of drug use because when we focus a lot of time/energy/resources on restricting the ‘drug du jour’ it opens the market for alternative drugs and encourages suppliers to diversify.”

Of late, the drug du jour wreaking havoc across America has been opioids, which have killed tens of thousands nationwide, with the addiction cutting like a scythe through states such as West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC.

But the Drug Enforcement Administration also reported in its National Drug Threat Assessment last year that cocaine availability has increased steadily in the United States since 2012, especially on the East Coast and in the South.

According to the CDC report, 10,131 out of the 13,942 cocaine-involved deaths (almost 73 percent) also involved an opioid.

Heroin is an opioid made from morphine. But drug dealers have been boosting profits by cutting their drugs with synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is 25 to 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Breiter said drug addicts often get high on something known on the street as a “speedball,” which is a combination of cocaine and heroin.

“People will use heroin to blunt the severity of coming down from the high of cocaine,” he said. “It can be quite severe.”

The problem is that when the heroin is cut with an opioid, it can make this drug cocktail even more lethal, the experts said.

Vakharia said there have been reports of drug dealers cutting cocaine with opioids and “cocaine users naïve to opioids are overdosing because they have no tolerance.” But neither she nor her colleagues at Drug Policy are convinced that is the case.

“It makes little sense,” she wrote. “Why would a seller want to kill off a customer.”

Raymond agreed that he didn’t believe that fentanyl-contaminated cocaine was intentional, given the opposing effects of the two drugs.

“We’re not seeing a huge trend of cocaine intentionally mixed with opioids like fentanyl,” he said. “Why? I think that’s probably because fentanyl is very sedating, cocaine is very stimulating.” (Click to Source)

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Federal opioid pill bust reveals doctors trading pills for sex, dentists pulling good teeth

Terry DeMio, Cincinnati EnquirerPublished 5:35 p.m. ET April 19, 2019

CINCINNATI – They were medical professionals but they traded prescription pain pills for sex, prosecutors say. Others let untrained office workers examine patients, leaving a blank prescription pad at the clinic, their indictments reveal.

One dentist extracted the healthy teeth of patients as an excuse to give them painkillers, the feds say. Two of the prescribers charged in this week’s federal opioid sweep caused the deaths of five patients because of overprescribing, court papers show.

All of the 60 doctors, nurse practitioners, office staff, pharmacists and dentists charged in an Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioids Strike Force investigation face felonies for prescribing opioids when they shouldn’t.

The accusations in some of the indictments go beyond making money off people with addiction disease or acting to obtain drugs to feed their own addictions.

For example, Dr. Thomas Ballard III is accused of giving pain pills to people in exchange for sex and prescribing opioids to at least one pregnant woman, who died.

Court documents say Ballard, of Ballard Clinic-Family Practice in Jackson, Tennessee, didn’t monitor his patients for addiction as required. He also prescribed the deadly combination of opioids and benzodiazepines, a sedative, despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FDA warnings. He was charged with maintaining a drug-involved premises and aiding and abetting, as well as unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances.

Combining opioids and benzodiazepines, which are sedatives often prescribed for anxiety disorder or depression, is deadly. In 2016, the CDC issued new guidelines recommending that clinicians avoid prescribing the two kinds of medications together.

Ballard’s case wasn’t the only drugs-for-sex case in Jackson.

The Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force announced that they have charged 60 individuals, including 53 medical professionals, with crimes related to illegal distribution of opioids and other dangerous narcotics. Albert Cesare, acesare@enquirer.com

 

\There was also Jeffrey Young, the self-nicknamed “Rock Doc,” who actually is a nurse practitioner, accused of trading opioids for sex.

A federal grand jury indictment says that Young prescribed about a half-million hydrocodone pills, 300,000 oxycodone pills, 1,500 fentanyl patches and 600,000 benzodiazepine pills over three years. His supervisors, Dr. Alexander Alperovich and Dr. Andrew Rudin, were also indicted.

Young even had a radio show about his clinic at one point.

In Kentucky, there was an absent doctor. Dr. Mohammed A.H. Mazumder of Prestonsburg, owned Appalachian Primary Care in Prestonsburg. A federal indictment says he told his employees, who weren’t doctors, to receive patients at the clinic when he wasn’t there. The indictment says that a medical technician evaluated patients, then two receptionists called pharmacies with prescription orders for pain pills and other drugs under Mazumder’s name. The clinic billed Medicare and Medicaid, as if Mazumber had done the job.

Dr. Denver Tackett ran a dental clinic in McDowell, Kentucky. An indictment accuses him of prescribing oxycodone and hydrocodone that were not reasonable for the treatment of patient’s illness or injury. He also is accused of pulling teeth out of six patients from 2016 to 2018 who had no need for extractions, as well as submitting claims to Medicare and Medicide for procedures he did not perform.

Tanya Mentzer, an office manager at a family medicine clinic in the city of Hoover, Alabama, also faces federal charges. She had no medical education, license or medical experience, say the feds, but she is accused of distributing and dispensing controlled substances illegally to gain money.

The indictment claims that she and co-conspirators operated their business as “a pill mill, frequently providing dangerous, addictive, powerful opioid cocktails” for no medical reason. (In this indictment, the co-conspirators are unnamed.) The clinic was often open at odd hours, including after midnight, the feds say.

Also in Alabama, Dr. Celia Lloyd-Turnerof Choice Medicine Clinic near Huntsville, is accused of prescribing excessive amounts of drugs, giving patients as many as 15 pills a day and leaving blank forms to be filled out by staff when she wasn’t at the clinic. She was the sole physician at the clinic, the indictment says.

Dr. Darrell Rinert, an internist with a license to practice in Tennessee, is accused in a federal grand jury indictment of causing the deaths of four people, after prescribing them hydrocodone repeatedly from 2014-2016. An indictment claims that Rinert routinely prescribed “highly addictive opioids” including morphine sulfate, hydrocodone, oxycodone and dextroamphetamine for patients without a legitimate medical reason.

The state medical board suspended him in November 2018 through May 2019, when his license will expire.

On Friday, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr released a statement calling the investigation “outstanding.” He added, “The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region.”

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said stopping the illegal sales of opioid prescriptions is a crucial goal for President Donald Trump.

Azar also referred to the operation’s first-of-its-kind effort to get treatment to the patients left behind.

“It is also vital that Americans struggling with addiction have access to treatment and that patients who need pain treatment do not see their care disrupted, which is why federal and local public health authorities have coordinated to ensure these needs are met in the wake of this enforcement operation,” he said. (Click to Source)

More: See the full list of those indicted.