Tag Archives: addiction

Taking On the Scourge of Opioids | National Affairs

Taking On the Scourge of Opioids | National Affairs | Summer 2017 By Sally Satel

This article is especially noteworthy because this political publication, “its founding editor, Yuval Levin, and authors are typically considered to be conservative.” 

The author describes the origin and current state of the “opioid issue” in great detail and reasonably concludes that “factors beyond physical pain are most responsible for making individuals vulnerable to problems with opioids”

An estimated 2.5 million Americans abuse or are addicted to opioids — a class of highly addictive drugs that includes Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, and heroin.   Continue reading

Will Limits on Opioid Rx Duration Prevent Addiction?

Will Strict Limits on Opioid Prescription Duration Prevent Addiction? Advocating for Evidence-Based Policymaking: Substance Abuse:  , MD, MPH,  , MD, MPH &  , MD, MSc –  Jun 2017

Quick answer: NO!

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the first national guideline in the United States regarding opioid prescribing for pain.

The guideline included the recommendation that patients treated for acute pain should receive opioids for no longer than 7 days, prompting at least five states to implement laws requiring prescribers not to exceed this threshold when providing initial opioid supplies.

The rapid conversion of this guideline into policy appears to reflect an underlying assumption that limiting initial opioid supplies will reduce opioid consumption, and thus addiction.   Continue reading

Opioid Addiction Isn’t The Disease; It’s The Symptom

Opioid Addiction Isn’t The Disease; It’s The Symptom | HuffPost – 06/16/2017 – by Clay Marsh, Contributor Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences, West Virginia University

The same issues leading to the opioid epidemic are what drives the tremendous cost and disease burden of our country at large.

The opioid epidemic is merely a symptom of a much larger crisis, one we as Americans must learn to solve: the crisis of isolation, despair and hopelessness. …communities are crucial to our wellbeing: irrespective of genus, the most psychologically damaging experience any young creature, human or animal, can have is being separated from the group and abandoned to fend for itself.  

And yet, increasingly, more and more of us are, in a way, abandoned and afraid.  

Continue reading

Lyrica and Neurontin Linked to Opioid Overdoses

Lyrica and Neurontin Linked to Opioid Overdoses — Pain News Network – May 2017

“It is important that doctors and people dependent on opioids are aware that the number of overdose deaths involving the combination of opioids with gabapentin or pregabalin has increased substantially and that there is evidence now that their concomitant use – either through co-prescription or diversion of prescriptions – increases the risk of acute overdose deaths,” said Matthew Hickman, a Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology

The idea that Lyrica and Neurontin are being abused may be surprising to many patients and doctors, but the drugs are increasingly being used by addicts.   Continue reading

The myth that prescriptions caused the opioid crisis

The myth that prescriptions caused the opioid crisis | News & Observer | Apr 2017 by Thomas F. Kline, MD. Ph.D

“Job One” in the medical profession is to relieve pain.  Prescription controls always sound good but don’t work and harm those who are seriously in pain.

Opioids (narcotics) are the only class of medicine to control real pain.

Out of 100 people taking pain medicine, only a very few, perhaps three or four, will develop an addiction. Restricting pain medicine in the other 97[%] is not good medical practice.   Continue reading

Misconceptions about Opioid Abuse in Chronic Pain

Opioid Abuse in Chronic Pain — Misconceptions and Mitigation Strategies — NEJM – Nora D. Volkow, M.D. [Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)], and A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D. – Mar 2016 – free full-text article

Chronic pain not caused by cancer is among the most prevalent and debilitating medical conditions but also among the most controversial and complex to manage.

The urgency of patients’ needs, the demonstrated effectiveness of opioid analgesics for the management of acute pain, and the limited therapeutic alternatives for chronic pain have combined to produce an overreliance on opioid medications in the United States, with associated alarming increases in diversion, overdose, and addiction

Here, we draw on recent research to address common misconceptions regarding the abuse-related risks of opioid analgesics and highlight strategies to minimize those risks.  Continue reading

Rx painkillers aren’t driving opioid overdoses anymore

Opioid overdoses are climbing. But prescription painkillers aren’t driving them anymore. – Vox – by sarah.frostenson@vox.com Apr 1, 2017,

The crackdown on opioid prescriptions to rein in the raging epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses is picking up steam.

Ten states have passed legislation that limits new opioid prescriptions to 10 days or less (in line with 2016 Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention guidelines), and more states are likely to follow suit. 

But as prescriptions for oxycodone and morphine get more restrictive, opioids sold on the black market are eclipsing them as a bigger threat, at least when it comes to overdoses.   Continue reading

The Fallacy of the Gateway Drug Theory

The Fallacy of the Gateway Drug Theory – Pain Medicine News – Dec 2016 – by Lynn R. Webster, MD

In 2012, Vanyukov et al published an article describing two separate views on the role that drugs play in initiating an addiction.

  • One is the “gateway theory” and the
  • other is the “common liability to addiction concept.”

The gateway theory places the drug as the primary factor in initiating a substance use disorder (SUD).

The belief is that exposure to a licit rewarding drug (e.g., tobacco, prescription opioid) begins a developmental process that progresses like a disease to a more serious stage, culminating in the use of an illicit drug (e.g., marijuana, heroin). Thus, in this theory, exposure to a drug initiates an SUD independent of the biology of the individual.   Continue reading

Reply to Study of Rx Drug Monitoring

Reply to Study of Rx Drug Monitoring Programs – Health Affairs – June 2016 – David L. Evans, Nurse Practitioner

I’m encouraged by this professional’s response to yet another study about opioid prescribing that refuses to acknowledge that none of these restrictive policies are diminishing overdoses.

More money is still being spent on creating and studying methods to reduce opioid prescribing, which only serves to deflect our attention from the real problem, which is the increasing rate of addiction in America.

It seems blatantly obvious that to decrease overdoses, we must decrease addiction.   Continue reading

The Fallacy of the Gateway Drug Theory

The Fallacy of the Gateway Drug Theory – Pain Medicine News – Dec 14, 2016 by Lynn R. Webster, MD

In 2012, Vanyukov et al published an article describing two separate views on the role that drugs play in initiating an addiction (Drug Alcohol Depend 2012;123:S3-S17).

One is the “gateway theory” and the other is the “common liability to addiction concept.”

The gateway theory places the drug as the primary factor in initiating a substance use disorder (SUD). The belief is that exposure to a licit rewarding drug (e.g., tobacco, prescription opioid) begins a developmental process that progresses like a disease to a more serious stage, culminating in the use of an illicit drug (e.g., marijuana, heroin).

Thus, in this theory, exposure to a drug initiates an SUD independent of the biology of the individual.   Continue reading