Panel Recommends Opioid Solutions but Puts No Price Tag On Them , New York Times
“President Trump’s bipartisan commission on the opioid crisis made dozens of final recommendations on Wednesday to combat a deadly addiction epidemic, ranging from creating more drug courts to vastly expanding access to medications that treat addiction, including in jails.
“The commissioners did not specify how much money should be spent to carry out their suggestions, but they pressed Congress to ‘appropriate sufficient funds’ in response to Mr. Trump’s declaration last week of a public health emergency. The 56 recommendations — which covered opioid prescribing practices, prevention, treatment, law enforcement tactics and funding mechanisms — did not so much advocate a new approach as expanding strategies already being used.”
“The Trump administration approved Medicaid waivers in Utah and New Jersey to help improve access to treatment for opioid addiction, according to the states’ governors. The waivers were the first to be approved under a new policy from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that will allow states to design demonstration projects to let Medicaid to pay for opioid use disorder treatments. CMS called for more states to apply in a Nov. 1 letter to Medicaid directors.”
Watch Gary Mendell on air with William Brangham discussing President Trump’s recent remarks about the opioid crisis.
“That is the hefty sum that's left in the United States' Public Health Emergency Fund as reported by Nathaniel Weixel for The Hill. In other words, the currently available funds for a nationwide public health emergency can maybe buy you one diamond encrusted Bluetooth headset, 7 Louis Vuitton Skateboards (if you don't include the tax), or about four years of an inexpensive private high school tuition for one child. Notice that the word in the previous sentence is ‘or’ and not ‘and.’ If you want to wear the headset while riding a Louis Vuitton Skateboard, you are out of luck.”
“As the opioid epidemic grew, Endo Pharmaceuticals took the extraordinary step in 2012 of pulling a version of one of its best-selling painkillers off the market, saying that the narcotic was susceptible to [misuse].
Endo even unsuccessfully sued the US Food and Drug Administration that year to prevent the approval of any generic version of its drug, called Opana ER. The drugmaker argued that given a chance, drug [misusers] would crush and snort the generic pills, just as they had with the brand-name drug. Snorting intensifies the high but heightens the chance of overdosing.
It seemed as though a drug maker was taking selfless action to try to curb the growing opioid epidemic. But some industry observers say the story of Opana ER may better illustrate the lengths a drug company would go to in order to protect its profits.”
“It’s common for Americans to know someone with a current or past drug addiction – and it’s an experience that mostly cuts across demographic and partisan lines.
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in August found that 46% of U.S. adults say they have a family member or close friend who is addicted to drugs or has been in the past. Identical shares of men and women say this (46% each), as do identical shares of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents when compared with Republicans and Republican leaners (also 46% each). There are no statistically significant differences between whites (46%), Hispanics (50%) and blacks (52%).”
“For years, Raymond Jones has built his businesses around drugs – first as a meth dealer, then as the founder of a nonprofit drug rehab called Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program.
“Rather than providing treatment, Jones puts dozens of court-ordered defendants to work slaughtering chickens, and working factory jobs for local plastic, welding and chicken processing companies in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“The men and women work for free, under threat of prison. All their pay goes to Jones’ program. He even owns two Corvettes with the license plates ‘DARP-1’ and ‘DARP-2,’ according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma on behalf of seven former DARP participants.”