This Week's News in Substance Use: 9/29/17


New Research: Overprescribing of Postsurgical Opioids Poses a Serious Threat to Patients and Their Communities; Women Undergoing Surgery Are at Greatest Risk , Market Insider

“Nearly 3 million individuals who had surgery in 2016 became persistent opioid users, continuing to take opioids three to six months after their procedure, according to the new research. Further, as a result of overprescribing, 3.3 billion pills were left unused by patients, making them available for potential diversion or misuse.”

FDA Targets Hundreds of ‘Rogue’ Websites Illegally Selling Opioids and Other Prescription Drugs , The Washington Post

“The Food and Drug Administration targeted more than 500 websites it said were illegally selling unapproved versions of prescription medications, including opioids, antibiotics and injectable epinephrine products, the agency said Monday.

The action was part of a global operation called Pangea X, led by the international police organization Interpol. That group said the international enforcement effort, designed each year to identify the makers and distributors of illegal, counterfeit and substandard medical products on the Internet, occurred Sept. 12 to 19.”

Approaching Deadline, Trump’s Opioid Commission Weighs Successes and Setbacks , PBS

“As it approached the deadline for its final report, President Donald Trump’s opioid commission heard from researchers Wednesday who said effective treatment exists but is often underused or not available as an option.

The comments came during the third meeting of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, created by executive order in March as a way to map out a strategy for emerging from the public health crisis.”

First Lady Listens and Learns About Opioid Crisis , Associated Press

“Melania Trump is listening and learning about the nation’s opioid epidemic. The first lady heard Thursday from experts and people affected by addiction to drugs whom she invited to the White House for a discussion. Mrs. Trump said she is concerned about the well-being of children and wants to help as many as possible with the issues they face growing up.”

Big Pharma Is Getting Hit with A Huge Wave of Opioid Suits , Fortune

“It wasn’t a coincidence that the corporate suits showed up for the Mingo County Commission meeting last May. On the agenda was a vote about whether the 26,000-person county, deep in West Virginia coal country, should join a lawsuit against the nation’s three major drug distributors for their role in the region’s opioid epidemic. (Collectively, the three companies had distributed 423 million pills in West Virginia over a five-year period.) One of those distributors, $121 billion Cardinal Health, had three representatives in the audience—one of whom had travelled all the way from Washington DC—‘to educate the County Commission’ about aspects of opioid litigation in surrounding counties.”

Dismayed by Trump, Head of Drug Enforcement Administration to Leave , The Washington Post

“The acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration will resign at the end of the week, according to law enforcement officials, who said he had become convinced that President Trump had little respect for the law.

“The official, Chuck Rosenberg, who twice served as chief of staff to the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey and remains a close confidant, had grown disillusioned with Mr. Trump. The president fired Mr. Comey in May, and then in July told law enforcement officers ‘please don’t be too nice’ when handling crime suspects.

Mr. Rosenberg forcefully rejected Mr. Trump’s comment, sending an email to all D.E.A. employees at the time to tell them that they should not mistreat suspects.”

This Woman's Opioid Relapse Could Change Drug Laws Forever , VICE

“Julie Eldred was ordered to stay sober as a condition of probation after repeatedly stealing to get heroin. She thinks that's unconstitutional—and she's not alone.

If addiction is a disease, is it fair to punish people for showing symptoms of it? That's the question raised by a case going before the Massachusetts Supreme Court next week, one that has national implications for the intersection between drugs and the law in the Trump era.”

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Fixing the broken treatment system starts now

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