Exclusive: Opioid supply crunch for U.S. coronavirus patients prompts appeal to relax limits – Reuters – Dan Levine – April 2, 2020
U.S. doctors running out of narcotics needed for COVID-19 patients on ventilators are asking the federal government to raise production limits for drugmakers, according to a letter seen by Reuters, after national quotas had been tightened to address the opioid addiction crisis.
It’s becoming ever more clear that the DEA has become an unacceptable impediment to healthcare delivery. They have no business regulating the practice of medicine when their purpose is the enforcement of the latest prohibition against an essential medicine.
The U.S. government sets annual limits on how much tightly regulated narcotics can be produced by pharmaceutical companies, and then allocates portions to various manufacturers. Continue reading
Illegal drug classifications are based on politics not science – report | Global development | The Guardian –Karen McVeigh – @karenmcveigh – Jun 2019
Illegal drugs including cocaine, heroin and cannabis should be reclassified to reflect a scientific assessment of harm, according to a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy
The commission, which includes 14 former heads of states from countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Portugal and New Zealand, said the international classification system underpinning drug control is “biased and inconsistent”.
A “deep-lying imbalance” between controlling substances and allowing access for medicinal purposes had caused “collateral damage”, it said. Continue reading
Tackle the epidemic, not the opioids – Nature.com – Judith Feinberg – Sep 2019
This article is notable mainly for where it was published: in the respected journal, Nature, the “International Journal of Science”.
Since 2000, the US Congress has passed several bills to address this opioid epidemic. All of these efforts have specifically targeted opioids. And that is part of the problem.
Historically, substance misuse has come in waves, with a new drug supplanting the previous one: the ‘heroin chic’ of the 1990s followed the ‘crack babies’ of the 1980s.
‘Business decision’: Former DEA official works for opioid lawyers but set standards for how many pills were made – By John O’Brien | Sep 3, 2019
The DEA knew more about what quantities of opioids went where than anyone else, so I’m baffled why they didn’t stop the excessive orders that everyone is complaining about now.
Asked what would’ve happened if a pharmaceutical distributor wanted advice on whether a large order of opioids was suspicious, the man in charge of federal regulation of those pills for 10 years said he wouldn’t have helped.
Instead, Joe Rannazzisi, who set always-increasing opioid quotas for theindustry while he headed a Drug Enforcement Agency department from 2005-15, said the company would be left on its own to figure it out. Continue reading
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
A More Sensible Surge: Ending DOJ’s Indiscriminate Raids of Healthcare Providers – by Michael C. Barnes DCBA Law & Policy, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a “Legislation & Policy Brief” I found that echoes what we’ve been trying to explain. This brief specifically mentions well-known doctors that have been prosecuted (and persecuted) by federal law enforcement for simply doing their jobs: treating their patients’ pain with opioids when nothing else gave relief.
Mr. Barnes understands and agrees with our position, urging that federal raids of doctors’ offices be halted.
He also points out that the overdose crisis is not about opioids specifically, that the deaths are from increasing numbers of people ingesting various combinations of illicit drugs. Continue reading
The White House drug czar is wrong: Most heroin addicts didn’t start with prescribed pain pills – Written by
As part of its campaign to stem opioid addiction and overdoses, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP — the drug czar’s office) has launched an education campaign called The Truth About Opioids, but some of the material it is presenting has more than a whiff of spin to it — and could imperil the ability of pain patients to get the relief they need.
I’m furious that they call it “the Truth” when it only spreads the big lie about the overdose crisis being from prescribed pain medications.
The website declares in big, bold letters that “80% of heroin users started with a prescription painkiller,” [NOT!] and highlights the words “80%,” “heroin,” “started,” and “prescription” in lurid purple. Continue reading
NarxCare narcotics score does not predict adverse outcomes – Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor) – Jul 2019
The increasingly used NarxCare narcotics score does not predict adverse outcomes or patient dissatisfaction after elective spine surgery,
An opioid use score based on state prescription databases does not predict complications or other adverse outcomes in patients undergoing spinal surgery, reports a study in the journal Spine.
“the current study did not identify perioperative outcome/satisfaction differences based on preoperative narcotics use criteria.” Continue reading
Here is a whole page of some excellent charts from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). – July 2019
NIDA has the most accurate, up to date, and pertinent information, since it’s the federal agency whose mission it is to deal with drug abuse, not the CDC or FDA.
Below is the chart showing that it’s illicit Fentanyl that’s increasingly involved. Note that in the numbers for prescriptions, the opioids are almost always not prescribed to the person overdosing.
Lawmakers contend WHO pain treatment guidelines are really Purdue ‘marketing materials’ – By ED SILVERMAN @Pharmalot MAY 22, 2019 – (article at “https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2019/05/22/purdue-opioids-world-health-guidelines/” accessible only through subscription to StatPlus)
Just the two first paragraphs of visible preview are astonishing and so infuriating that I’ll just leave you with these two:
Two lawmakers are urging the World Health Organization to rescind guidelines issued nearly a decade ago for treating pain because they contain “dangerously misleading” and sometimes “outright false claims” about the safety and effectiveness that were orchestrated by Purdue Pharma.
In a new report, the lawmakers contend that the WHO guidelines, which were released in 2011 and 2012, are “serving as marketing materials for Purdue.” And they pointed to efforts by the company to create and fund front groups that participated in research that shaped WHO decision making – and dovetailed with corporate goals to boost use of opioids, such as its own OxyContin pill.