Mayor Bloomberg Limits Painkiller Use in NY Hospitals

In response to a citywide and national epidemic of prescription drug abuse, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has instituted a policy in New York City that will restrict the use of prescription painkillers in the city’s public hospitals. The policy, which will affect the distribution of prescription drugs from hospital emergency rooms, could set a model for hospitals across the nation.

Under Bloomberg’s new policy, emergency room patients will only be given three days worth of narcotic drugs like Percocet and Vicodin. Oxycontin, which has been shown to be one of the most addictive painkillers, will not be distributed at all from 11 public emergency rooms. This is also true of methadone and Fentanyl patches. Emergency rooms also will not fill painkiller prescriptions that are reported to have been stolen, lost or destroyed.

One of the goals of the new policy is …

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California Lawmaker Seeks More Oversight of Prescription Drug Deaths

A California state Senator has been working diligently to introduce a bill requiring coroners to report prescription drug deaths to the Medical Board of California. Senator Curren D. Price Jr., who is also Chairman of the Medical Board of California, hopes the new bill will help to identify medical professionals whose prescribing methods may contribute to prescription drug addiction and overdose.

The proposed legislation is a response to  an LA Times investigation into coroner reports. The investigation revealed that numerous deaths caused by the overuse of prescription pain medication can be linked to a handful of physicians. The Times examined 3,733 prescription drug related deaths that took place between 2006 and 2011 in the counties of Orange, San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura. It was revealed that 1,762 cases resulted from overdosing on medications that had been prescribed by doctors. …

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Drug Ring Salvages OxyContin and Vicodin Pills from Medical Waste Company

The demand for narcotic prescription drugs is so high that drug dealers will go to almost any length to get their hands on drugs to sell. A San Diego drug ring took this to an extreme by intercepting thousands of pills that were slated to be destroyed and selling them on the black market.

 

Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration arrested John Bonavita and two employees of Enserv West LLC, a medical waste disposal firm. The employees diverted pills that were slated to be destroyed to Bonavita, who sold them to other dealers. As part of a plea agreement, Bonavita admitted to purchasing and reselling 13,000 hydrocodone tablets (a pain medication that’s sold under the brand name Vicodin), 900 oxycodone tablets (another painkiller sold under the name OxyContin), 111 methadone tablets and 350 morphine tablets.

 

The drug…
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Prescription Meds Increasingly Prescribed

At the root of the Prescription Drug Abuse epidemic is the reckless prescription of the drugs themselves.

A couple of shocking statistics that we have shared here but bear repeating:

  • Purdue Pharmaceuticals revenue for OxyContin alone in 2010 was:  $ 3,084,262,027.00
  • Number of prescriptions written for Hydrocodone (Vicodin) in the U.S in 2010 was: 106,777,390
  • “According to recent estimates, Florida prescribes ten times more oxycodone pills than all other states combined. ” (U.S. Attorney Wifredo A .Ferrer stated recently)
  • The United States makes up only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, but consumes 80 percent of its opioids — and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone (the opiate that is in Vicodin)
  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults taking meds for Psychological Disorders

It’s no wonder that practices like the above have led to rampant  prescription drug abuse in the United …

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Death of Whitney Houston Needs to Put Focus on Prescription Drug Abuse

The exact cause of Whitney Houston’s death is still under investigation, but her long history of drug abuse indicates that she may be another celebrity whose privileged life was cut short by addiction. Based on the contents of her hotel room, authorities are already speculating that prescription drug abuse may have played a role in her death. In just the past few years, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy and Anna Nicole Smith lost their lives to prescription drug overdoses. Over the decades, other iconic stars including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland died prematurely because of prescription drug abuse.

Tabloid newspapers and website are kept busy these days by the high number of celebrities struggling with prescription drug abuse while reality shows like “Celebrity Rehab” chronicle their recovery. One unfortunate side effect of the focus on celebrity drug …

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Doctor Faces 230-year Sentence for Prescription Drug Dealing

In today’s changing climate of addiction, where prescription drug abuse has surpassed illegal drug abuse, the drug dealers are often members of the medical profession. This again became evident this week in a Los Angeles federal courtroom when Dr. Nazar Al Bussum pled guilty to drug distribution charges. The 72-year-old geriatric physician, who lives in the exclusive community of Newport Coast but operated clinics in Downy and Los Angeles, could be sentenced to as many as 230 years in prison and fined up to $11.5 million.

Al Bussum is charged with writing prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, codeine cough syrup and anti-anxiety medication for patients who had no medical need for the drugs. The majority of the prescriptions were for oxycodone, hydrocodone and Xanax – all highly addictive substances. Federal prosecutors estimate that he wrote more than 60,000 prescriptions between 2007 …

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Google Prepares for Hefty Fine for Illegal Drug Ads

Google, the internationally-known search engine and online advertising company, is being investigated by federal regulators for displaying ads for illegal pharmacies that sell prescription drugs online.  These illegal pharmacies sell legitimate prescription drugs without a prescription as well as counterfeit drugs.  Now a recent Securities and Exchange System filing by Google indicates that the company is setting aside $500 million in the event that they are fined for their drug advertising practices.  This sum represents 22% of the company’s net income of $2.3 billion.

If Google is fined $500 million or more, it could the largest penalty of its type ever paid to the U.S. Department of Justice.  This reflects the enormity of the problem of online prescription drug sales.  A study by doctors at the University  of California and Massachusetts General Hospital found a link between the increase in …

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The Facts about Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drugs are currently one of the most abused categories of drugs in America, surpassed only by marijuana.  They are even more widely abused than street drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.  Part of the attraction of prescription drugs is that they are relatively easy to obtain from doctors or prescription drug dealers.  They can be found in the medicine cabinets of many households, easily accessible to family members and visitors.  As a result, a growing number of people are abusing prescription drugs and becoming addicted.

The National Institutes of Health has reported that an estimated 20 percent of people in the U.S. have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.  The most highly addictive prescription drugs are narcotic painkillers (OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet), tranquilizers (Valium, Xanax, Ativan) and stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin).

Prescription steroids, which increase muscle mass and may be prescribed …

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