Opinion | Fear, Loathing and Fentanyl Exposure – https://www.nytimes.com/ By The Editorial Board – April 4, 2019
The New York Times has published many articles about the “opioid crisis” that follow the usual unchecked assumptions around opioids, so I’m glad this opinion piece by the “top guns” of the Times finally explains the problems posed by fentanyl: it’s super potent, but not by accidental skin exposure or “breathing fumes”.
As baseless public health scares go, the one about police officers and nurses purportedly overdosing from passive fentanyl exposure should have been easy to dispel.
Emergency workers across the country have reported dozens of such incidents in recent years, but their symptoms are often inconsistent with opioid poisoning. Continue reading
Clinical Drug Diversion Costly to Health Care Organizations – Clinical Pain Advisor – Mar 2019
U.S. health care organizations lost nearly $454 million due to clinical drug diversion in 2018, according to the 2019 Drug Diversion Digest, released by Protenus Inc.
This article is written from the viewpoint of “Practice Management”, which nowadays isn’t about “practicing medicine” but about how to make money from it. These folks measure opioids by money gained/lost.
THE DEA always brags about how many pills/doses of opioids they confiscate in their raids, but here opioids aren’t counted by the pill of the MME, but by the mighty dollar. Continue reading
Harris, Senators Press HHS About Public Health Impact of “Fentanyl-Related” Scheduling | U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California– July 10, 2019
Several U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar regarding their concerns about the proposed new fentanyl scheduling (restrictions).
We are concerned that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) have not adequately consulted with public health agencies in connection with the DEA/DOJ’s recent request that Congress legislatively place all “fentanyl-related” substances into Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Since we’ve allowed the DEA and DOJ to “practice medicine” by deciding what and how much of our medication we should use, it comes as no surprise that they now expect to rule on health issues without consulting medical experts. This would have been unthinkable when doctors and STate boards still controlled the practice of medicine. Continue reading
One of us was a pain patient saved by opioids, the other was addicted to them. We both deserve a solution – Los Angeles Times – By Ryan Hampton and Kate M. Nicholson – Apr 2019
This is an excellent article in a popular mainstream publication written by two people on the opposite ends of the “opioid crisis”. They point out that a common solution is needed, not one at the expense of the other, as has been done in the past.
Opioids have figured prominently in both our lives.
- For Kate, they were a lifeline after a surgical mishap left her unable to sit, stand or walk for more than a decade.
- For Ryan, they were a gateway to a dark decade of heroin addiction.
many Americans believe that we have over-treated pain at the expense of those who became addicted to prescription opioids. Continue reading
United States Department of Justice v. Michelle Ricco Jonas | ACLU of New Hampshire – May 2019
I’m glad to see someone is standing up for patients against having their medical data available for warrantless DEA searches.
On May 29, 2019, the ACLU of New Hampshire and New Hampshire Medical Society filed a federal court amicus brief to support the State’s defense of patients from warrantless searches of medical records.
Also filed by the national ACLU and four other ACLU affiliates, the brief is part of the federal case U.S. Department of Justice v. Jonas, and explains that not only are these types of unjustified searches unconstitutional, but that they can have adverse consequences and deter patients from receiving needed medical care. Continue reading
Why Drugs Are Hurting More People Than Ever – And What to Do About It – Dan Bier -March 18, 2019
America’s drug overdose problem is severe, persistent, and still deteriorating.
For years, states and the federal government have taken drastic action to curb drug deaths, from restricting painkiller prescriptions, to cracking down on drug cartels, to cutting the overall production of legal opioids.
But the problem is only getting worse. Continue reading
Is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Overreaching Its Authority? – 4th May, 2019 – By Lynn Webster, M.D. – (This article, in a slightly edited form, first appeared on Pain News Network on May 5, 2019.)
Why Is the DOJ Conducting Criminal Investigations?
This is an excellent question because:
Medical practice is regulated by the states,
not the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) does not have the authority to determine which health care activities constitute a “legitimate medical purpose” under Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations. Continue reading
Drug Safety and Availability > FDA identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of serious harm in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines suddenly having these medicines discontinued or the dose rapidly decreased. These include serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, psychological distress, and suicide.
It’s strange to read this acknowledgment of “harms” from forced tapers after three full years of seeing these “harms” implemented very deliberately as a consequence of the disastrous CDC opioid prescribing guideline.
While we continue to track this safety concern as part of our ongoing monitoring of risks associated with opioid pain medicines, we are requiring changes to the prescribing information for these medicines that are intended for use in the outpatient setting.
“We continue to track this safety concern” implies they’ve been doing this all along, which they have not. Continue reading
Are Pain Doctors Wrongly Taking the Blame for the Opioid Crisis? – By Megan Hadley | Dec 2018
Dr. Bamdad is serving a 25-year sentence on a federal charge of distributing and dispensing Oxycodone, an opiate pain reliever, in Federal Medical Center (FMC) Fort Worth, a Texas prison.
Dr. Bamdad, believing he was innocent, had refused to take the plea deal he was offered, or to admit guilt, which is why the judge gave him such a high sentence.
The journey he took from clinic to jail is one of hundreds of similar, but little-known, footnotes to America’s struggle with the opioid epidemic. Continue reading
4 disturbing trends in health care – Praveen Suthrum | KevinMD | Aug 2018
I agree with the author that health care is changing dramatically and not necessarily in a good direction. This article points out some fundamental issues that must be addressed before any “progress” can be made.
It’s easy to get excited about technological advances such as nanobots that swim in blood to deliver drugs or 3-D printers that print human tissues. However, in our enthusiasm to find the next fix, we are failing to notice the ground slipping underneath the health care industry.
Here are four trends that are changing health care but on the surface are too unsexy for us to care about. Continue reading