AMERICAN OPIOIDS EPIDEMIC
Over the past few years, dozens of lawsuits have culminated in major pharmaceutical companies being held at least somewhat accountable for creating America’s crippling opioid addiction epidemic. Most recently, New York State settled a $524 million lawsuit with Teva Pharmaceuticals. While the lawsuit is a monumental step in the right direction, it’s even more important that those who suffer from opioid addiction receive proper treatment.
Newly published research has produced evidence of yet another drug risk, i.e., allergy medications being added to illicit street opioids. This development poses an increased risk to users, as antihistamines have a drowsiness effect, which, when coupled with the depressant nature of opioids, is believed to make addicts go unconscious more easily. The result? Experts are publishing evidence that suggests addicts are at higher risk of an overdose when they use opioids that have been mixed with antihistamines. Unfortunately, most addicts have no way of knowing if their drugs are antihistamine-tainted.
New research into a significant change in New York dental practice has found that dentists can stop prescribing opioids and shift to only recommending over-the-counter pain relievers for patients, all with little to no negative effects. The findings may herald the beginning of a welcome shift away from opioid prescribing by dental practitioners.
In the now two-decade-long opioid epidemic in the U.S., pharmaceutical opioid manufacturers, pharmacies, and doctors have all come under fire for the role they played in the surge of opioid addiction and death. One group, previously unnoticed and only just now coming under investigation, bears mentioning. As reports have shown, pharmaceutical distributors had just as critical a role in the opioid epidemic as other bad actors.
For anyone touched by America’s opioid epidemic and anyone who has followed the development of this crisis, as I have, Patrick Radden Keefe’s new book adds to our knowledge of the steps that must be taken to heal from our crisis of drugs abuse and overdoses.
In an alarming development in the ongoing litigation between thousands of plaintiffs against Purdue Pharmaceuticals (and the Sackler family that owns it), a federal judge just overturned the Sackler bid for bankruptcy protection and immunity. What does this mean for America’s most important pharma lawsuit?
Clinicians and families alike may not be aware of the risk posed by consumption of a readily available type of poppy seed. Despite this lack of awareness, this seed can result in addiction, overdose and death.
The United States just passed a grim milestone, the first time in recorded history when over 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in one year. It’s a painful wake-up call, and a call to action that something must be done about the drug addiction epidemic.
The litigation of Purdue Pharma/the Sacklers is now over. One of the key aspects of the case that deserves full scrutiny is that Purdue’s owners threatened to withdraw settlement funds if they did not achieve personal immunity. In the end, they won.
Words and terms like “epidemic,” “pandemic,” and “national health emergency” have become commonplace in American society. These terms often make one think of the dangerous spread of communicable diseases and illnesses. Yet with almost 200,000 deaths in 2020 from drug-related causes and alcohol-related causes, is it time to look at addiction as America’s next National Epidemic?