Today’s nonmedical opioid users are not yesterday’s patients; implications of data indicating stable rates of nonmedical use and pain reliever use disorder – Journal of Pain Research – Jeffrey a Singer, Jacob Z Sullum, Michael E Schatman – Feb 2019
This paper published in the Journal of Pain Research calculates the numbers and types of overdoses over the years and finally puts to rest the unsubstantiated story that pain patients are the ones overdosing and dying.
According to the narrative underlying current policies aimed at reducing opioid-related deaths, the problem can be traced to a dramatic increase in opioid prescribing that began in the late 1990s.
This trend supposedly was fueled by unscrupulous pharmaceutical company representatives who convinced practitioners that opioids posed a low risk of misuse and overdose (although a recent analysis suggests there were probably 30 or more root causes of the crisis). Continue reading
Why California pharmacies are rejecting some prescriptions for pain medications – BY CATHIE ANDERSON – Jan 17, 2019
Doctors around California are complaining that the state did not send them notice of a Jan. 1 change in prescription forms and that pharmacies are rejecting prescriptions for controlled substances on forms they used just last year.
Dr. Richard Buss, a family practice physician in Jackson, said this is the second year the state made changes to prescription requirements without notifying doctors directly.
He said he was unaware of the change until Jan. 2 when a pharmacy told him it wouldn’t fill a prescription. He was unable to get new prescription forms that meet state requirements until Monday.
Just another problem created by the cumbersome bureaucracy built up around opioids, creating mess after mess after mess… and never being held accountable for any damage. Continue reading
The Crisis of Misuse and Abuse: Bigger and Longer Than Opioids – Sept 2018
Here’s another article pointing out that the “drug crisis” has been growing exponentially since the 1970’s:
New Data Analysis Finds  Decades-Long Exponential Growth in Overdose Fatalities
An analysis conducted by researchers at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health concludes that rising death rates from drug overdoses in the US long precede the now notorious “opioid crisis,” and that a near perfect exponential growth curve in these rates can be tracked back to the end of the 1970s. Continue reading
Here’s a little good news to make up for the darkness of the previous post:
A push for drug decriminalization surges in countries around the world — could the US be next? | TheHill | Aug 2018 | BY JAG DAVIES
Drug decriminalization has rapidly emerged as a mainstream political issue in Canada and several other countries, but few U.S. policymakers have embraced it so far. That could change soon.
Ending criminal penalties for drug possession, often referred to as decriminalization, means nobody gets arrested, goes to jail or prison, or faces other forms of criminal punishment simply for possessing a small amount of drugs for personal use. Continue reading
Opioid policy fallout | Medical Economics – Jeff Bendix – May 30, 2018
The epidemic of opioid-related deaths sweeping the country has lawmakers and regulators in Washington, D.C., and state capitals scrambling for answers. And while doctors generally welcome the attention to the crisis, many also fear that the solutions being proposed and enacted will do more harm than good.
The concern among physicians and public health and pain management experts is that laws and regulations designed to limit use of prescription narcotics, however well-intentioned, are yet another constraint on doctors’ ability to treat patients as they think best. Continue reading
The ‘Phony War’ Against Opioids: Some Inconvenient Truths | The Crime ReportThe Crime Report
Anyone who watches TV news will know that America has a major public health problem concerning drug addiction and opioid overdose deaths. In this context, we sometimes hear terms like “prescription opioid epidemic” and “over-prescribing” thrown about indiscriminately.
Hidden inside the hype and misinformation are several inconvenient truths. Public policy on the drug crisis cannot be remotely effective until we embrace such truths and act on them. Continue reading
Backlash over opioid crisis hurting chronic pain patients: Quebec study | Montreal Gazette | Charlie Fidelman May 30, 2018
A survey of more than 1,400 patients from Quebec and British Columbia made public Wednesday suggests that the extensive media coverage of the opioid crisis has had a significant negative effect on those suffering from chronic pain.
The survey showed some doctors have became reluctant to prescribe narcotics for pain relief.
Patients reported having trouble getting the medication they need to control their pain and that doctors are reducing their doses against their wishes. Continue reading
Fentanyl deaths up 1,000% since 2013, so much so that even heroin’s supply is dwarfed – by Terry DeMio, Cincinnati Enquirer – June 6, 2018
The powerhouse opioid fentanyl has drenched the drug supply in Greater Cincinnati, dwarfing the presence of heroin sold on the streets.
More than 90 percent of drugs analyzed at the Hamilton County crime lab through May 3 this year have had the synthetic opiate in them.
Fentanyl crept into the drug stream around 2012. By 2013, fentanyl-related deaths amounted to 24. Last year? 324.
The Lethal Success of Pain Pill Restrictions – Jacob Sullum | May 9, 2018
In a speech on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department is striving to “bring down” both “opioid prescriptions” and “overdose deaths.”
A study published the following day suggests those two goals may be at odds with each other, highlighting the potentially perverse consequences of trying to stop people from getting the drugs they want. Continue reading
Here’s a graph showing that prescription opioids and overdose deaths are not correlated and the opposing trajectories show a dramatic increase in the discrepancy between the two.