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lunedì 12 dicembre 2016

Opioid Overdose Epidemic Is 'Like A Carnage Of Humanity'

Shocking pictures of Ohio couple apparently overdosing with child in car highlight scale of US heroin and opioid epidemic Barney Henderson9 SEPTEMBER 2016

What can be done to stem the epidemic of opioid overdoses? 
That was the question discussed at a roundtable discussion of police, firefighters, doctors, drug abuse counselors and public officials at the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce
Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson described the situation as catastrophic. He gave the example of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Department, where first responders have answered about 4,000 overdose calls in 2016, he said. At around $1,000 per call, the public cost totals around $4 million. Delray Beach Fire Rescue has implemented mental health counseling for its firefighters.
“I heard things today that I probably never thought about,” said U.S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL) “For example, the traumatic effect on rescue workers - firefighters and police who are having to deal with all these deaths almost every single day. The number of people who are overdosing. Just repeated over and over. It’s almost like a carnage of humanity.”
Delray Beach Fire Rescue Chief Neil De Jesus says more than 90 percent of his department’s overdose calls are to sober living facilities.
The Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force will issue a report with recommendations to the state legislature in early January.

Congresswoman: Opioid Overdose Epidemic Is 'Like A Carnage Of Humanity'  Dec 11 2016

South Florida's opioid overdose crisis: At least 800 expected to die by end of 2016 Mike Clary Sun Sentinel Nov.20 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - Opioid addiction is killing Utahns at an alarming rate. On average, one person every day in Utah dies of an opioid overdose. The Beehive State now ranks fourth in the nation for opioid related deaths.

Utah's opioid epidemic gains national attention Kimberly Nelson 12/28 2016

An anesthetic commonly used for surgery has surpassed heroin to become the deadliest drug on Long Island, killing at least 220 people there in 2016, according to medical examiners’ records.
In New York City, more than 1,000 people are expected to die from drug overdoses this year — the first recorded four-digit death total in city history, according to statistics compiled by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Nearly half of all unintentional drug overdose deaths in the city since July have involved fentanyl, the health department said.

Fentanyl Outpaces Heroin as the Deadliest Drug on Long Island 

East Tennessee's opioid scourge, which has been rising steadily in recent years, continued unabated in 2016.
In Knox County, the year saw more than 220 people die of suspected drug overdoses, many attributed to opioids. That's thought to be the highest known number of such fatal overdoses recorded in the county.

2016 in review: East Tennessee's unrelenting opioid scourge Madison Wade and John North , WBIR December 28, 2016 

Prescription painkillers and heroin are fueling a rise in drug addiction and overdoses in communities across the country, killing tens of thousands of people each year. Research shows some of America’s most rural areas are particularly at-risk for opioid addiction and abuse, and many experts expect the problem to only get worse.

Rural areas of Colorado hard hit by opioid epidemic Posted by Luke Runyon, Harvest Public Media Dec 28, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – Life-saving overdose reversal drugs will now be available without a prescription and schools can now have the medication for use in an emergency under a new legislation.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed the legislation on Wednesday. 
“Protecting the health and safety of Michiganders by working to reduce opioid addiction and overdose deaths continue to be a priority but addiction is still on the rise so there is still a lot of work to do,” Calley said. “Increasing access to medications that prevent overdose deaths is a common-sense reform that will save lives.”
House Bill 5326, sponsored by state Rep. Anthony Forlini, allows opioid reversals to be obtained without a prescription to have on hand in case an overdose occurs.
Senate Bills 805 and 806, sponsored by state Sens. Jim Ananich and Dale Zorn, allow overdose reversal drugs to be prescribed to schools to have on-hand in the case of an overdose.
This bills continue recommendations of the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force, chaired by Calley, to make opioid antagonists more readily available.

Lt. Governor signs law making overdose reversal drugs available without prescription Sarah Roebuck December 28th 2016

George Michael’s Drug Horror: Singer’s Heroin Addiction Exposed Source reveals his secret battle. Radar Staff 

Prince Died From Fentanyl Overdose Ashley Hayes Brunilda Nazario, MD June 2, 2016

Prince's death and the growing fear of the 'kill pill' Sara Sidner Mallory Simon CNN September 1, 2016


 Continue reading the main story

The funeral of a woman who died from an opioid overdose.Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

During the worst year of the HIV/AIDS crisis, 43,000 Americans lost their lives to the virus. In 2015, 52,000 died of a drug overdose. Never in recorded history had narcotics killed so many Americans in a single year; the drug-induced death toll was so staggering, it helped reduce life expectancy in the United States for the first time since 1993.
It also, arguably, helped put a demagogue with authoritarian tendencies into the Oval Office.
The opioid epidemic is a disaster with several authors. Economic stagnation may have played a role: Research by Angus Deaton and Anne Case found especially high rates of overdose among non-college-educated whites in economically disadvantaged regions of the country. Separately, a well-intentioned desire to treat chronic pain — an increasingly prevalent symptom in an aging population — was doubtlessly a factor.
But a great deal of blame belongs to our system of pharmaceutical patents, and the sociopathic greed that it incentivizes.
There is an irony to this: Drug patents’ ostensible reason for being is the virtuous incentives that they create. Pharmaceutical research is an expensive and uncertain endeavor — a company can invest millions in a potential treatment, only to see it fail during clinical trials. And yet, those investments are critical for the advancement of public health. Thus, the government provides pharmaceutical companies with a motivation for researching new drugs — and a means of recouping losses from failed experiments — by offering those companies a temporary monopoly on newly discovered medications.
This formula for pharmaceutical innovation has many downsides, the most well-appreciated being the price-gouging that patent monopolies enable. The American public is well aware that drug prices are too damn high. When breakthrough Hepatitis C treatments retail at $28,000 a month, or the price of an EpiPen shoots up 400 percent, the costs of patent-driven innovation are unmistakable. These stories have inspired such widespread political support for price controls on pharmaceuticals, drug companies spend upwards of $200 million a year lobbying Congress to ensure that no such controls — or any other profit-reducing regulations — are imposed on them.
But a less-well-understood hazard of the patent system is the enormous incentive it gives drug companies to conceal the harmful effects of their products: When you can sell a prescription painkiller at a price orders of magnitude higher than the cost of production, you end up with a multibillion-dollar motivation to ignore — or suppress — evidence that your drug does more harm than good.

For the past two decades, the makes of OxyContin have done just that, and generated $35 billion in revenue in the process.
Meanwhile, Purdue is working to export America’s opioid crisis to Europe and the developing world. All around the globe, Purdue’s international brand, Mundipharma, is working to overcome “opiophobia” — its term for foreign doctors’ mistaken belief that prescription opioids carry a high risk of abuse. According to the Los Angeles Times:
For generations, physicians have been taught that opioid painkillers are highly addictive and should be used sparingly and primarily in patients near death. Mundipharma executives and consultants call this “opiophobia” and top company officials have said publicly that success in new markets depends on defeating this mind-set.
Thus, in “Brazil, China and elsewhere,” Mundipharma is “running training seminars where doctors are urged to overcome ‘opiophobia’ and prescribe painkillers.”

At the same time, the company is spending millions encouraging potential patients to recognize their chronic pain as an illness that requires lifelong opioid use.
Seeking new patients in Spain, Mundipharma chose ambassadors guaranteed to attract attention: Naked celebrities. A string of topless actors, musicians and models looked into the camera and told fellow Spaniards to stop dismissing aches and pains as a normal part of life. “Don’t resign yourself,” Maria Reyes, a model and former Miss Spain, said in the 2014 television spot.
These tactics are nearly identical to those the company deployed in the United States in the mid-’90s. If the effects of that marketing prove identical, the results will be catastrophic; many of the developing countries that Mundipharma is targeting have far fewer resources than America does for providing drug treatment and rehabilitation.
To be sure, there is untreated pain, here and abroad, that can and should be relieved by opioid medications. Each year millions with terminal cancer and AIDS die in needless agony, according to the United Nations. Providing such people with potent painkillers is a legitimate goal for policy makers and drug companies to pursue.
But Purdue Pharma has farther-reaching ambitions. While the company does provide pain relief to the dying, its core business is the treatment of chronic pain — a focus that derives from the fact that generic morphine works pretty well for terminal patients, and the reality that it is difficult to make large sums of money off of customers who aren’t going to be around for very long.
The problem with this focus is that there’s little evidence that treating chronic pain with opioids is effective — and a lot of evidence that it’s dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have concluded that there is “insufficient evidence” that opioids provide effective pain relief when taken for a period of longer than three months.
The CDC has also concluded that roughly a quarter of those who use opioids on a long-term basis become addicted. But you can make a lot of money selling dope to addicts; and Mundipharma has shown little deference to the CDC’s findings.
When one fully accounts for the costs of our system of incentivizing pharmaceutical research, the virtues of simply funding that research through direct public investment become apparent. There are multiple ways we could do this. Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has suggested prize system in which the government buys up the patents of drugs that prove themselves effective, and then allows them to be retailed as generics. Economist Dean Baker has made the case for directly financing drug research:
The United States already spends more than $30 billion a year on publicly funded biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health. If this sum was tripled, it could likely replace the funding now being supported through patent monopolies and then all new drugs could be sold at generic prices.
The fact that our elected leaders have so little interest in alternatives to our current system — despite its exorbitant costs, in both lives and dollars — suggests that America’s wealthiest drug dealers have gotten our political system hooked on their money.

The Opioid Epidemic Is a Symptom of Toxic Greed December 21, 2016

Opioids, both legal and illegal, now kill more Americans than gun violence does. That death toll has been rising for some time. What changed this year was the public’s awareness of the issue — think Prince and fentanyl — and the resources to fight it – think 21st Century Cures Act.

Opioid epidemic is getting worse, says CDC December 20, 2016 

New data shows surge in Ga. heroin overdose deaths Neima Abdulahi, WXIA December 20, 2016 

Drug-related overdose deaths increase in Knox County Kendall Morris, WBIR December 21, 2016

Rise in heroin overdose deaths to continue in 2017, officials say Amanda VanAllen Dec 20, 2016

  • There was another outbreak of drug overdose deaths in Ohio: seven people died in one day in the Cleveland area.
  • Officials believe the drugs involved were either heroin or fentanyl.

  • Ohio has struggled as one of the states hit hardest by the opioid scource across America.

  • Just last year, there were there were 3,000 unintentional drug overdoses in the state.

  • Seven people overdose in Cleveland in ONE DAY as Ohio's drug epidemic worsens — after opioid deaths reached a historic high last month Associated Press 25 September 2016

    The Opioid Epidemic Has Officially Hit North Dakota 

    Opioid Epidemic In The US 2016: Virginia Declares Public Health Emergency As Overdose Death Toll Rises  GNATARO

    Nationwide opioid epidemic hits UC Davis SHIVANI KAMAL DECEMBER 7, 2016 

    It’s estimated that one person dies every 20-minutes from a drug overdose. That’s more than car accidents.  

    And it’s also estimated that about 500-thousand people will reach out to multiple health care providers to get prescriptions to feed their addiction.

    It’s called “Doctor Shopping.”

    The most common prescription drugs abused include hydrocodone, oxycodone, Adderall and Xanax. And that many of those addicted get hooked after being prescribed the drugs for pain or anxiety and become addicted for reasons that can include past trauma and trying to self-medicate.
    These patients suffer from a chemical imbalance in the brain from using drugs

    The tragic toll of America's drug epidemic: Overdose deaths rocket by 33% - with some states seeing increases of almost 200% Associated Press 16 December 2016

    Deaths from synthetic opioids up 72%, CDC says DECEMBER 16, 2016 CNN WIRE

    Fatal drug overdoses in U.S. soar as heroin deaths increase 20% Keegan Hamilton 

    Fentanyl crisis: up to 9 drug overdose deaths in Vancouver last night Jason Proctor, Karin Larsen, CBC News Posted: Dec 16, 2016

    Dangerous Addition To Opiod Epidemic Found In Western Pa. December 16, 2016

    Death Rate From Synthetic Opioids Soars, Driven by Fentanyl December 16, 2016 Mary Caffrey

    Police chief wants harsher punishment for fentanyl dealers GILLIAN SLADE DECEMBER 16, 2016

    The deaths are happening so frequently that some funeral directors are supplying their premises with naloxone kits to reverse possible overdoses among grieving loved ones or the staff who handle the bodies of opioid overdose victims. The British Columbia Funeral Association sent a bulletin to its members last month urging funeral directors to carry the kits, the Vancouver Sun reported.
    The overdose crisis playing out in each local funeral home is a microcosm of the fentanyl epidemic raging across British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province and the epicenter of opioid deaths in the country. In the first 10 months of 2016, 622 people died of apparent illicit drug overdoses in British Columbia, compared to 397 during the same period in 2015. About 60 percent of the deaths were linked to fentanyl, according to the British Columbia Coroners Service.
    Fentanyl, the fast-acting synthetic painkiller that killed Prince, is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Overdoses of the opiate can be reversed with naloxone, which blocks the receptors in the brain where opiates attach. In response to the growing opioid crisis in the United States and Canada, officials have rushed to put naloxone in the hands of drug users’ families and friends.
    In April, British Columbia’s health officer declared a public health emergency due to the alarming increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths. It was the first time he had exercised his emergency powers. By late September, 13,000 lifesaving kits had been distributed across the province to sites such as hospitals, jails, and health centersthe Canadian Press reported.

    The fentanyl crisis is so deadly in Canada that even funeral directors need the antidote Samantha Schmidt December 16 2016

    Farmaci falsi: il fentanyl cinese fa strage In Canada 160 morti, è stata anche la causa della morte di Prince Giovanni D’Agata 17/12/2016

    Il fentanyl fa strage A Vancouver 160 morti in tre settimane a causa di pillole in arrivo dalla Cina 17/12/16

    "China is not the only source of the problem, but they are the dominant source for fentanyls along with precursor chemicals and pill presses that are being exported from China to the U.S., Canada and Mexico," said Russell Baer, a DEA special agent in Washington.

    Officials: Beijing denies U.S. claim that China source of killer drug THE ASSOCIATED PRESS December 20, 2016

    The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) thanks President Obama for signing into law the 21st Century Cures Act which includes comprehensive mental healthcare reform and funding to address the opioid and heroin crisis. 
    The legislation contains $1 billion in grants to states to expand their prescription opioid and heroin abuse prevention and treatment initiatives, such as the training of health care providers, improving prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing prevention activities and expanding access to opioid treatment programs.
    "The 21st Century Cures Act is a huge step forward in helping those who suffer from mental illness and opioid and heroin abuse," said Carlson.
    In addition to lobbying for mental health care reform on Capitol Hill, ENA also released its Naloxone Education Toolkit (NET) earlier this year in response to the opioid and heroin overdose epidemic. NET is designed to assist emergency nurses with providing education to patients and their family or peers who present to the emergency setting with an opioid overdose, or those who are determined to be at risk for an overdose.

    The ‘Kill Pill’ The Fentanyl Epidemic December 6, 2016

    Operation Save Teens from drug abuse September 1, 2015

    Substance Abuse, Mental Illness Deaths Have Skyrocketed in Rural AmericaMEREDITH RUTLAND BAUER December 16, 2016

    Suicides and Psychiatric Drugs 26 DICEMBRE 2016

    "Healing Without Hurting" Natural Medicine Vs. Big Pharma December 14, 2016

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