Death Certificate Project Charges 9 CA Doctors With Opioid Overprescribing

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In California, nine doctors have been charged with overprescribing opioids along with other violations after a years-long investigation into their prescribing habits by a controversial state project. Dubbed the “Death Certificate Project,” the state scans death certificates to find people whose death was caused by prescription drugs such as opioids or benzos. The state then finds out what doctors prescribed a controlled substance to that patient within three years of death. (The doctors may not have been the current provider of prescriptions at the time of death, however.)

After implementing the highly controversial “Death Certificate Project,” California officials have charged nine doctors with overprescribing opioids. The state’s prescription drug database, CURES (California Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System), flagged the doctors for investigation alongside hundreds of their peers who were presumably cleared from trouble. In the complaints, the Project’s …

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New Class Action Suit Lawsuit Launched on Behalf of Opioid Babies

In Philadelphia, a law firm is taking action to file a class-action lawsuit against some opioid manufacturers on behalf of babies born addicted to opioids or otherwise affected medically by their exposure to drugs in the womb.

John Weston, an attorney from Sacks Weston Diamond, brought the suit Friday on behalf of an anonymous baby boy and his mother. Similar to other lawsuits filed by states, counties, and municipalities, he believes that this case is the first of its kind, at least in the state of Pennsylvania. Other states have chosen to file lawsuits sometimes, usually on behalf of babies diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Many of these babies suffer severe withdrawal effects from the lack of opioids in their system, as well as birth defects, racing heartbeats, and other medical symptoms. Most lawsuits are merely seeking monetary help …

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Oxycontin Manufacturer Helped Write the Laws it Claims Justify Marketing

Mired in lawsuits, Oxycontin manufacturer Perdue Pharma is quick to deflect blame when it comes to the opioid crisis. Marketing tactics such as paying doctors to do little more than discuss the drug with their colleagues and pushing the drug to ER physicians were all legal, according to the company. But is this reality, or are these the pleadings of a company that is watching its ship sink?

The truth is more complicated than that; it turns out. The FDA and Purdue Pharma have a close relationship, although until recently, the FDA may not have realized it. Purdue Pharma operatives were consulted when the FDA created policies that affect the entire nation, often getting the government agency to agree to policies and procedures that limit the manufacturer’s liability. However, the FDA officials didn’t realize that Perdue was paying the people …

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House Will Vote to Potentially Ban Kratom, Synthetics

The House of Representatives faces nearly two dozen votes on new drug-related bills in an effort to stem the addiction epidemic. Among those bills is H.R. 2851, The Stop Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act, a bill aimed at Kratom and other synthetic drug imports, even those that have not been created yet.

The bill, if passed and made into law, will significantly expand the powers of the Department of Justice, under the guise of unilaterally prohibiting any synthetic drugs the DOJ decides is chemically similar to currently banned drugs. People who import such drugs would face similar penalties to people who import substances that are alreadu banned.

While the measure may have been proposed with good intentions, critics say that if passed, a new era will be entered in the War on Drugs, and it may cause …

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Maryland Doctor Charged with Forging Oxycodone Prescriptions

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A doctor in Montgomery County, Maryland is charged with writing hundreds of prescriptions for oxycodone (the generic version of Oxycontin) for a patient that doesn’t exist. The total amount of pills he prescribed totaled 11,000.

Doctor Brandt E. Rice, 50, took the prescriptions to the pharmacy himself. The orders were for a patient Named Aaron Rice, who the police relentlessly attempted to find to no avail.

Police say that last December, Doctor Rice, 50, went to a Rite-Aid store with his driver’s license, DEA card and a prescription for Oxycodone in Rice’s name. He also handed the pharmacist with a prepared letter explaining his patient was homebound and suffering from prostate cancer, and the patient has been battling cancer for a decade.

The pharmacist at the Rite-Aid grew suspicious of Dr. Rice’s claims and told the doctor she needed to …

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Making Oxycontin Harder to Abuse Led to Heroin OD’s

Have you ever wondered how heroin became such a prominent drug in the past few years? In 2010, Purdue Pharma, the makers of Oxycontin, were under a lot of pressure from various stakeholders. The popular drug, used for anything from pain for an acute injury to long-term chronic pain like cancer, had proven more addictive than they anticipated. By the 2000’s, it was clear that something had gone awry. People were crushing pills and snorting or shooting them up. So they decided to make Oxycontin more difficult to abuse by reformulating the medicine. By making the pills difficult to crush and more extended-release, people wouldn’t be able to abuse them.

While this was a logical step to take, especially from the drug manufacturer’s perspective, the damage had already been done for many people. Thousands were already misusing the pill, and …

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Prosecutors Says Insys Bribed 5 NYC Doctors to Prescribe Fentanyl

Five New York City doctors allegedly took at least $800,000 from Insys Therapeutics Inc., to prescribe the spray version of fentanyl, a highly addictive opioid that has been known to cause overdose deaths across the country. According to a 75-page indictment that the Manhattan federal court released on Friday, all the defendants pleaded not-guilty to the charges, which included conspiracy to describe the efforts to overprescribe the medication.

The doctors had been “working” for the company’s ‘Speakers Bureau’ for four years starting back in 2012. However, their positions were a way to hide the fact that the “speech” part of the job description was a farce.

According to the New York Times, Insys paid more than $100,000 annually to at least two of the doctors. The indictment also says that Insys funneled the illegal payments to the doctors through …

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College is a High Risk Time & Place for Mental Health & Addiction (Infographic)

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The connection between addiction and behavioral & mood disorders like anxiety, depression and PTSD is well established.  More and more, government organizations like the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) are releasing findings that support a strong connection between mental health disorders and chemical dependency.

If someone is already ‘at-risk’ due to mental health challenges the college experience might be particularly risky for them to unwittingly stoke the fire of a latent addiction.  The co-occurring conditions feed into each other in this environment as the student is often experiencing new surroundings, new activities, and new stressors.

College Age Drug Abuse & Mental Health Infographic

We wanted to share this infographic about drug abuse and mental health in college aged students to bring more awareness to this phenomenon.  The stress and …

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Is Kratom an Opioid? The FDA Says Yes

The Food and Drug Administration put out new warnings about kratom, saying that the drug is best classified as a substance with “opioid properties” and linking it to 44 deaths. Previously, the DEA took steps to outlaw the drug altogether but halted their actions as Kratom advocates led campaigns against the agency involving petitions and phone calls.

Kratom has become popular among people with opioid use disorder trying to get clean from heroin and other potent, addictive drugs. People with chronic pain, depression, and a myriad of other diseases. Often, sellers of Kratom market the drug in capsule, powder, and tea form. People claim it helps ease the symptoms of a wealth of diseases.

While these benefits sound great, there are many people in the addiction community that believe that replacing opioids with Kratom is a dangerous and unsustainable practice. …

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Rural Opioid Epidemic Leads to Use of Telemedicine

According to a recent survey of rural farming and ranch families, nearly 45% of rural families say they have been affected by opioid addiction. When it comes to farmworkers that number goes up to 75%. Farmers agree that people can quickly get ahold of opioids, but treatment options are few and far between. There is a lot of frustration and grief in these rural communities—few people know where to turn for themselves or a loved one, and not all of them even have access to insurance that would help them get access to treatment programs.

Created and funded by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union, the October 2017 poll also helped resolve some of the problems people have had when seeking help for loved ones. The answers and skepticism from the local communities have helped create …

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