U.S. Justice Department Joins Suboxone Lawsuit

The U.S. Justice Department has joined a lawsuit alongside several whistleblowers that alleges that the companies marketed off-label and higher dosages than approved, as well as other deception. Several ex-workers are in the process of suing on behalf of the government, as whistleblower laws allow. It appears the government is now up to speed on the wrongs listed in lawsuits against Indivior Plc. and Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, both involved in marketing the opioid addiction treatment Suboxone.

What is the Lawsuit About?

One of the complaints unsealed on Aug. 2 was filed by former Reckitt employee Ann Marie Williams, claiming that the companies marketed unapproved dosages and uses of Suboxone and Subutex. Williams Reckitt made misleading claims to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to obtain approval for a dissolvable film version of Suboxone.

The lawsuits were filed under the …

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Many Addiction Centers Won’t Use Medication-Assisted Treatment

According to US News, the majority of drug and alcohol treatment centers in the United States don’t offer three standard Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) services, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends and encourages them for people with opioid use disorder.

Only six percent of treatment centers in the United States offered all three medications, while about thirty-six percent of treatment centers offer one MAT drug for opioid users.

MAT drugs help users curb their desire to use, or help with other side-effects and withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone are the only drugs approved by the FDA for long-term treatment of opioid use disorder. The drugs are viewed as safe and effective by regulators and researchers, but often there is a stigma attached to the medications. Many treatment centers prefer to use traditional therapy and 12-step meetings …

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Dark Web Drug Dealers Say They’ve Banned Fentanyl

Owners of websites on the dark web say that they’ve decided to voluntarily ban fentanyl, according to the National Crime Agency based in the UK. The “open air” online drug outlets have done this in a bid to avoid additional scrutiny as reports from the US, and the UK show that fentanyl is now causing the most overdose deaths each year.

In the UK alone, 180 deaths in 18 months were attributed to fentanyl, while in the US, fentanyl overdoses doubled in 2016 to outpace heroin and Oxycontin.

Several large drug-dealing websites have also quietly“de-listed” fentanyl because they don’t want to be investigated when there is an overdose death, according to Vince O’Brien, an investigator at the UK National Crime Agency.

So-called dark web markets have popped up in recent years and have become a reliable source for drug dealers …

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Despite Addiction Worries, FDA Panel Quietly Approves a Stronger Opioid

An FDA panel gave preliminary approval to a new kind of opioid drug meant to treat severe pain such as the kind people experience during surgery. The drug, sufentanil, which will be marketed under the brand name Dsuvia, is actually five to 10 times stronger than fentanyl.

Surprisingly, the drug advisory committee voted 10-3, approving the drug. While this doesn’t set approval in stone, the FDA usually follows the advisory committee’s instruction. While the FDA has been pushing for more restrictions on opioids, there was no mention of fears of addiction or overdose in the discussions.

There was one dissenting opinion, however; Raeford E. Brown Jr., MD, who chairs the committee. Dr. Brown doesn’t like the idea of allowing another potent and lethal opioid into the drug market, where fentanyl rules the day when it comes to accidental overdoses. He …

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Pharm Companies Search for Safer Pain Relief Solutions

The addiction epidemic in America is still raging, with a record 72,000 overdose deaths according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control for 2017. The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to respond to the numbers. However, the increased scrutiny has made the industry do a double-take regarding profitability. With lawsuits stemming from nearly every state in the US, profits for opioids seem to be on a steady decline. And with the decrease in prescribing, doctors have worried that legitimate chronic pain patients will be left without treatment. New research is now in progress to find new pain drugs that prevent chronically ill people from being neglected or left behind due to opioid unavailability.

Multiple research groups have been tasked with the creation of less dangerous and less addictive opioid development. While they also are focusing on changing the opioids …

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South Carolina Announces Emergency Response Plan for Opioids

Last Wednesday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced that he had created a state emergency response plan to tackle the chronic and ongoing opioid epidemic.

The plan was created with the input of more than 24 organizations and outlines strategies to support state and local efforts. In December 2017, Gov. McMaster first began formulating a plan to combat opioids by issuing a public health emergency.

The governor’s emergency declaration brought together state officials, private partners, and law enforcement to utilize the emergency management infrastructure to combat the growing epidemic or opioid deaths, addiction, and abuse.

The new plan calls for better record-keeping in the medical community and addiction-related opioid training. Physicians will be expected to have opioid-informed conversations with their patients and understanding other pain treatment options. This should help raise awareness of the dangers of opioid use, and help …

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Today is National Drug Take-Back Day: Take Action!

Today is National Drug Take-Back Day, a day where anyone, anywhere in the US can go to a location and safely dispose of prescription drugs. If you have any painkillers, opioids/opiates, sedatives or anti-anxiety drugs that have been sitting in your cabinet, do the right thing and find a location to dispose of your unused medications safely. You might safe a life! You can also get rid of conventional drugs such as antibiotics by visiting one of the locations.

Why Dispose of Drugs on National Take-Back Day?

During most of the year, it’s nearly impossible to dispose to dispose of any addictive drugs safely. Pharmacies don’t want the liability when dealing with opioids and other dangerous drugs, so they won’t let you return them. Flushing them or throwing them away can contribute to tainting the water, soil, and environment. Don’t …

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Purdue Pharma Says It Will Cease Marketing OxyContin

Purdue Pharma, one of the largest manufacturers of Oxycontin in America, has vowed to stop marketing the opioid to doctors. Oxycontin is an opioid medication that has been on the market for over 20 years and is viewed by many addiction and law enforcement professionals to be the catalyst for America’s current opioid addiction crisis. It’s a common drug of abuse and is often responsible for overdoses.

Purdue released a statement saying that it would no longer send sales representatives to market the opioid painkiller at doctor’s offices and that the Medical Affairs office will now handle all Oxycontin orders and queries.

Many people involved in the addiction industry, the medical community and other public heatlh experts say it’s too little, too late.

Purdue has long marketed Oxycontin as effective and safe for use, dropping off samples at the offices …

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NC vs. Insys Lawsuit Alleges Fraud, Bribes

The state of North Carolina is suing drug maker Insys Therapeutics, Inc. for pushing a drug through what they say is fraudulent and illegal tactics. In the state’s Insys lawsuit, North Carolina accused the pharmaceutical giant of knowingly and repeatedly violated the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act in how it marketed and sold its product, Subsys, for years.

“As millions of Americans were becoming addicted to and dying from prescription painkillers, it appears Insys and its sales representatives [were] pushing its incredibly potent opioid on North Carolina patients just to make more money,” said Attorney General Stein in a press release announcing the actions. “This is unconscionable, it’s unacceptable and it’s illegal.” Subsys is meant specifically for cancer patients who are already taking heavy narcotics but experience additional, breakthrough pain. The drug is meant for patients that don’t …

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FDA Says Kratom is Not Safe
A kratom leaf c/o YayImage.com

FDA Says Kratom is Not Safe

The FDA recently issued a warning that Kratom isn’t a safe way to withdraw from Oxycontin or other opioids — or use for pain management. The plant that has been consumed for thousands of years by indigenous people, has made its way to America via the internet, marketed as a cure for opioid addiction, pain, and over a dozen other maladies that have normally been treated with pharmaceutical medication. One of the most storied uses of Kratom, however, is that it was once used as a “substitute” in East Asian countries during the opium epidemic.

Users of the drug don’t believe that Kratom is not safe and tout the benefits of daily usage. Sure, some people use it heavily and experience withdrawal, they will admit, but this is no worse than caffeine withdrawal. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration tried …

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