This Week's News in Substance Use: 10/5/17

The Lawyer Who Beat Big Tobacco Takes On the Opioid Industry , Bloomberg

“Just as he did during the tobacco-litigation era, [attorney Mike] Moore has been traversing the country to recruit people to his cause. His trip to Washington was one of more than 50 he estimates he’s taken in the past six months to meet with hundreds of private attorneys, about 30 AGs, and professionals in law enforcement and public health. An alumnus of Ole Miss, where he wore his hair long and jammed on a synthesizer in a rock band, Moore’s expertise is in glad-handing and dealmaking. ‘My talents are not writing briefs, they are not researching the law,’ he says. ‘I know people. I know how to deal with people. I treat people fairly.’”

Poll: Most Americans Think Trump Hasn’t Done Enough to Fix Opioid Crisis , PBS

“The nation’s outlook for the opioid crisis is pessimistic. Four out of 10 Americans foresee no difference in the level of addiction to pain medication a year from now, while another third of U.S. adults only see things getting worse. A fifth of the country said things will improve with time. But do Americans personally view the opioid crisis as a threat? Overwhelmingly not. Nine out of 10 U.S. adults — 93 percent — said they do not worry much, if at all, about becoming addicted to prescription pain medication.”

Walgreens Expands Medication Disposal to 1,500 Stores in Opioid Battle , Forbes

“Walgreens is the latest healthcare company to step up efforts to combat the abuse and misuse of the overprescribed painkillers. Already, Walgreens rival CVS Health and several health insurance companies including Anthem, Cigna and UnitedHealth Group have increased restrictions to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions.”

Massachusetts AG Launches Probe of Addiction Treatment Fraud , STAT News

“The Massachusetts attorney general’s office is investigating a far-reaching insurance scheme that recruited drug users and sent them to treatment centers in other states to exploit their benefit payments, according to people contacted by the office and others familiar with the matter.”

If Addiction Is A Disease, Should Relapse Mean Jail Time? The Washington Post

“Less than two weeks after a court ordered Julie Eldred to not use drugs while on probation, she tested positive for the powerful opioid fentanyl. The woman, who has severe substance use disorder, spent the next 10 days behind bars in Massachusetts until her lawyer could find a bed for her at a treatment facility.

In a case that could have big implications, Eldred is challenging the practice of requiring people with addiction to remain drug free as a condition of probation. The 29-year-old argues that by jailing people with substance use disorder for failing to stay clean, courts are unfairly punishing users for something beyond their control.”

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Fixing the broken treatment system starts now

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