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 worries that some doctors won’t pay attention to dosing, which could also be dangerous. With the approval, the pharmaceutical company itself is pretty thrilled to reveal a new product.…

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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 to make them less harmful, they are also looking at opioid alternatives. This is important to note because historically, Big Pharma has downplayed the addictive nature of opioids, and…

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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 physicians prevent and respond to opioid use disorder. The plan also involves adding treatment and recovery options, increasing resources to combat illicit opioid supply chains, and other actions that…

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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 do it! Future generations certainly don't need the added worry of addictive substances in the water. There is also the worry that if you throw the drugs in the…

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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 of practitioners and telling physicians that it was ideal for treating chronic pain. While these statements weren’t proven, medical marketing is an industry that often finds the loopholes. Purdue…

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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 find other medications as effective as the alternatives, such as high doses of morphine. The lawsuit alleges a laundry list of illegal actions according to the State of North…

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FDA Says Kratom is Not Safe

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

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 to temporarily place the main psychoactive component found in Kratom into the schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act, only to get a large amount of pushback from chronic…

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Opioid Ravaged States Turn to Addiction Outreach

Sometimes simple actions are powerful in the fight against opioid addiction. Across the US, programs meant to help people with substance abuse disorders have cropped up on a local level. One such way is through outreach programs in some of the areas where opioid addiction rages. An innovative addiction outreach program in Dover, New Hampshire reaches out to people, both clean and trying to get clean, and asks them how they’re doing. The program, aptly named the Telephone Recovery Support service (TRSS), says they make over 200 phone calls every week to support people who can’t make it to meetings or are unable to get a bed in treatment. TRSS volunteers make phone calls to people who can’t get out to one of the recovery centers or other meetings with their peers. Some people who can’t get out are homebound for legal reasons, while others may be paralyzed by anxiety. Some may not be able to get across town. There are people from all walks of life who need…

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Tom Price Debates Using Opioids to Treat Opioids

There is a general consensus in the United States that opioid addiction is not a ‘curable’ disease but rather a disease that requires treatment. The notion of using opioids to battle addiction to opioids has had considerable opposition over the years. Recently this method has come under scrutiny by Tom Price, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration. He has stated that these methods only diminish the addiction and are not a step towards finding a cure. A National Crisis No Longer in the Shadows Meanwhile awareness of this epidemic has come to the surface in main stream society in the United States, especially in West Virginia, where they have highest death rates related to all available forms of opioids. Regardless if it is heroin or prescribed medication the outcry for a solution is ringing in the ears of the people who make important decisions. On May 9, in West Virginia, Tom Price shared his opinions. He said “Folks need to be cured so…

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Fentanyl and Other Home Made Opiates Invade Canada

The opiate epidemic continues to evolve and Canada has found out the hard way and they are trying to create legislation in order to cope with the new realities as opiates ravage indiscriminately. Liquid Fentanyl Discovered in Canada Fentanyl is now a very popular option for many opiate drug abusers, but the substance is so incredibly potent that the risk of overdose can not be overstated. Only recently, the first instance of liquid Fentanyl has been discovered by police in Ontario. This drug has alarmed authorities and health care professionals because it it is often created in home labs which creates a lot of uncertainty about the strength of the substance (this probably contributed to a deadly Fentanyl outbreak in Northern and Southern California recently).  Recent arrests have also revealed the drug is being illicitly created in China and then shipped to Canada. Fentanyl Robbery in Hamilton, Ontario, Alarms Authorities Recently a robbery of a pharmacy that saw the crooks abscond with a large stash of Fentanyl caused authorities to scramble…

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