Inside the sales machine of the ‘kingpin’ of opioid makers

From the Washington Post:

“The largest manufacturer of opioids in the United States once cultivated a reliable stable of hundreds of doctors it could count on to write a steady stream of prescriptions for pain pills.

But one left the United States for Pakistan months before he was indicted on federal drug conspiracy and money laundering charges. Another was barred from practicing medicine after several of his patients died of drug overdoses. Another tried to leave the country in the face of charges that he was operating illegal pill dispensing operations, or pill mills, in two states. He was arrested and sent to prison for eight years.”

Read complete article here.


Rate of teen overdose deaths soared during pandemic, study finds

From helio.com:

“The rate of overdose deaths among U.S. teenagers increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic — a first — even as drug use remained stable, researchers found.

According to research published in JAMA, overdose deaths among teens nearly doubled in 2020 and rose another 20% in the first half of 2021 compared with the decade before the pandemic, in which teen drug use fell to historic lows.”

Read complete article here.


New report details the scale of the U.S. opioid crisis and its link to drug trafficking

From PBS:

“The opioid overdose crisis that killed more than 100,000 Americans in a year is being called one of the most pressing national security and public health challenges facing the U.S. A majority of the overdoses are driven by the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl. Maryland Rep. David Trone, co-chair of the federal Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, joins William Brangham to discuss.”

Listen to/read complete article here.


Federal Register Notice: CDC’s updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids is now open for public comment 

From the CDC:

“CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is in the process of updating the 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. As of today, the draft updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids is available for public comment in the Federal Register. The public comment period will be open for 60 days,  through April 11, 2022. We encourage all patients, caregivers, providers, and others who care about safe, effective, and informed pain treatment options to submit their comments via the Federal Register docket.”

Read complete notice here.


In Congress, David Trone keeps it personal: Combating the opioid epidemic that killed his nephew

From the Washington Post:

“Five years after the death of his nephew, David Trone went to Mexico looking for the source of what killed him: the opioid epidemic.

It was official business — a trip last month in his capacity as co-chair of the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking — but now it was hard to separate the personal from the official, as almost everything the Maryland Democrat was doing in Congress found its way back to Ian.”

Read the complete article here.


How overdose deaths changed in every state during the coronavirus

“Most states have seen an increase in drug overdose deaths in the past year. Zinnia Health analyzed how overdose deaths changed during the coronavirus.

The coronavirus has caused increased stress and isolation for many people. Some have turned to substance abuse or increased the quantity and frequency of drug use during the coronavirus restrictions. Others turned to new drugs if their prefered drug became more difficult to access.

More drug users were using alone due to social distancing measures, which increases the risk of overdose death since there isn’t someone to administer first aid and call for help. With in-person socializing and community-based programs temporarily closed, there were fewer in-person recovery resources available.”

Read complete article here.


The opioid epidemic is surging as the pandemic drags on. We have to act | Opinion

Elaine Pozycki featured in USA Today Network:

“More than 75,000 of our fellow Americans died of an opioid overdose in the year that ended in April, according to the National Center of Health Statistics. This new record shows that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased stress caused by isolation and financial pressures and more difficulty getting treatment, has resulted to an acceleration of the opioid epidemic, leading to more new cases of Opioid Use Disorder and to a stepped-up number of relapses. The devastating consequences of this expansion to our families, friends, neighbors and the American community are being driven home every day in ruined lives and avoidable deaths.”

See the entire piece here.


Overdose Deaths Reached Record High as the Pandemic Spread

From the New York Times:

Americans died of drug overdoses in record numbers as the pandemic spread across the country, federal researchers reported on Wednesday, the result of lost access to treatment, rising mental health problems and wider availability of dangerously potent street drugs.

In the 12-month period that ended in April, more than 100,000 Americans died of overdoses, up almost 30 percent from the 78,000 deaths in the prior year, according to provisional figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The figure marks the first time the number of overdose deaths in the United States has exceeded 100,000 a year, more than the toll of car crashes and gun fatalities combined. Overdose deaths have more than doubled since 2015.

Read complete article here.


Opioid addiction is a risk for older Americans

From MarketWatch:

“It’s easy to assume the opioid epidemic afflicts young people. But seniors can get hooked too.

Weeks before my recent oral surgery, the dental office gave me prescriptions for two pain medications in case I needed them later. One was ibuprofen (500 mg); the other actually scared me.

An orange warning sticker on the cap, CAUTION: OPIOID, caught my eye. The next line bluntly summarized the danger: RISK OF OVERDOSE AND ADDICTION.

Inside, I found four white pills.”

Read the complete article here.


Nearly Half of Opioids Prescriptions for Children Are “High Risk”