Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Our View: Opiate abuse epidemic is a national nightmare
fall River ^ | 5/3/14 | Editorial Board

Posted on 05/03/2014 5:47:42 PM PDT by mgist

Our View: Opiate abuse epidemic is a national nightmare Beyond sharing the status of commonwealth, Massachusetts and Kentucky don't seem to have too much in common. But the commonwealths share a dubious bond that has only recently come out of the shadows: Both are epicenters of the opiate addiction epidemic sweeping the nation. Now Massachusetts and Kentucky are collaborating in efforts to fight back.

Beyond sharing the status of commonwealth, Massachusetts and Kentucky don’t seem to have too much in common. But the commonwealths share a dubious bond that has only recently come out of the shadows: Both are epicenters of the opiate addiction epidemic sweeping the nation. Now Massachusetts and Kentucky are collaborating in efforts to fight back.

Elected officials from both states were among the featured speakers at last month’s National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Atlanta, where public health officials, elected officials, law enforcement agents and drug treatment counselors gathered for a three-day conference to share research, resources and ideas to get to the root of the problem and develop local, state and national strategies to reverse these troubling trends.

Fall River had a strong presence at the summit, including Dr. Henry Vaillancourt, Fall River’s director of health and humand services; Laura Washington, Partnership for Success II director; and Mike Aguiar, BOLD’s youth services coordinator. The Herald News sent staff reporter Brian Fraga to the conference, from which he reports in-depth today.

The statistics presented are staggering: More than 125,000 Americans have died from opiate overdoses during the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Massachusetts, this has been a particularly deadly year for opiate-related overdose deaths, while drug-fueled crimes have been on the rise. In 2013, Massachusetts was seventh in the nation with 30 armed robberies at pharmacies. Meanwhile, Massachusetts was 10th in the nation last year with 137,000 prescriptions written for Oxycodone. Fatal overdoses are estimated at 10 to 15 per 100,000 Massachusetts residents, officials said.

Down South, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, said almost half the elementary school children in his southern Kentucky district have no parent at home. “They’re either in jail, strung out or dead,” Rogers said. It’s a reminder that addiction can often bring entire families down with the afflicted individuals.

Massachusetts and Kentucky officials have joined forces to address the issue in a proactive, bipartisan manner. U.S. Reps. William Keating and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., have joined with Rogers in pushing Congress and the federal government to help stem the tide of opiate addiction. The problem for many Americans begins in the medicine cabinet with opiate-based pain medication, which is molecularly nearly identical to heroin. In Kentucky, public health officials saw sharp decreases in opiate prescriptions after that state made its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program mandatory for prescribers. “Only 40 percent of the doctors in my state were using the system when it was optional,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, said. “When it became mandatory, many of them got mad. But we can stop a lot of this kind of stuff with simple record-keeping.”

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick recently followed this strategy, signing an April 22 executive order that requires providers who write prescriptions for Zohydro to participate in the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program.

Meanwhile, officials worry about the FDA’s questionable approval of the potent opiate-based drug Zohydro, despite the fact its own clinical advisory board voting 11-2 against doing so. “Is money from pharmaceutical companies influencing this?” Keating pointedly asked of Zohydro’s approval. Attorneys general from 28 states have written letters protesting the FDA’s decision to approve the drug, while lawmakers have called for investigations into the matter. Patrick even tried — albeit unsuccessfully — to ban the drug.

When will the federal government take action to address the opiate problem that it has deemed a national epidemic? Although states are collaborating, what is stopping a more coordinated federal policy from addressing the issue?

While the debate continues about federal marijuana policy, diverting the tremendous amount of resources currently dedicated to marijuana law enforcement to focus on the far more dangerous, deadly epidemic of opiate abuse could represent a much wiser use of federal and state resources and a more effective anti-drug strategy.


TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: heroin; vicodin; zohydro

1 posted on 05/03/2014 5:47:42 PM PDT by mgist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: mgist

Opiates are the religion of the people....at least for some of them.


2 posted on 05/03/2014 5:50:27 PM PDT by mkmensinger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mgist

It’s Darwin award time again folks.Because you have to be crazy to touch that poison.


3 posted on 05/03/2014 5:50:40 PM PDT by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mgist

Very sad for the children and all I can say is forget about rescuing them...at least that is my experience with foster care. The system is so screwed up and heavily weighted towards what’s best for the parents that most children don’t end up well. Unfortunately.


4 posted on 05/03/2014 5:55:42 PM PDT by Reddy (bo stinks)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mgist

Obama and the democrats armed the drug cartels with high powered weapons to enable them to fight the military in Mexico. I would bet money that a bunch of government types/democrats are on the receiving end of huge cash payments from drug cartels. And it could go to the highest office in the land......


5 posted on 05/03/2014 5:57:44 PM PDT by stockpirate (Only a tidal wave of tyrants blood will return our tree of liberty......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Farmer Dean

The heroin coming into this country these days is so pure it can be snorted, FDA has approved opiates even for children and it is available in lolipop form. A curious kid can get a baggy of deadly addictive heroin for less $ than a pack of cigarrettes.

The problem I have is that we a officially a narco nation and Americans are totally clueless. Obama et al are complicit. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are nothing ore than drug cartels, and Obama has dine nothing but support them.

Remember when Holder’s ATF gave an arsenal of weapons to the Mexican cartel? They are working the Taliban importing heroin.

It is coming in primarily through Chicago, and CNN wants to make Rahm King.

American children are dying in epidemic numbers, and nobody questions Obama’s America. May God’s justice be swift.


6 posted on 05/03/2014 6:01:55 PM PDT by mgist (.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: mgist

Up the concentration, increase the purity. When the addicts die, the problem is solved.


7 posted on 05/03/2014 6:07:13 PM PDT by NVDave
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mgist
One thing people must understand though, is that twenty years ago when you had surgery for a broken leg, hernia, knee repairs, back fusion, etc......you also had a hospital stay for a week. The stay had a nursing staff which managed your pain with demeral or morphine, monitored your blood for signs of infection, and saw to your recovery to a point of discharge.

Now, everything is like a cattle chute outpatient mill. As soon as your vitals are stable, out the door you go with a script for pain (which has very little efficacy if not administered in your IV or with a shot in the butt). No hospital stays. Raging post op infections are referred to wound care specialists after it's way too late.

It's a great way to create pill addicts and deliver crappy medicine at the same time.

8 posted on 05/03/2014 6:10:09 PM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mgist
What's with the new use of the word "opiate?"
Is this an attempt to conflate the specific drugs and the "popularity" of each?

There is a rising shout to decriminalize all drugs, and this seeming attempt to bewilder the public is disturbing.

So, where are the stats and what is the "popularity" of each drug involved?

9 posted on 05/03/2014 6:14:32 PM PDT by publius911 ( At least Nixon had the good g race to resign!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Farmer Dean

The heroin coming into this country these days is so pure it can be snorted, FDA has approved opiates even for children and it is available in lolipop form. A curious kid can get a baggy of deadly addictive heroin for less $ than a pack of cigarrettes.

The problem I have is that we a officially a narco nation and Americans are totally clueless. Obama et al are complicit. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are nothing ore than drug cartels, and Obama has dine nothing but support them.

Remember when Holder’s ATF gave an arsenal of weapons to the Mexican cartel? They are working the Taliban importing heroin.

It is coming in primarily through Chicago, and CNN wants to make Rahm King.

American children are dying in epidemic numbers, and nobody questions Obama’s America. May God’s justice be swift.


10 posted on 05/03/2014 6:16:58 PM PDT by mgist (.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: mgist
Fatal overdoses are estimated at 10 to 15 per 100,000 Massachusetts residents, officials said.

Even officials seem to be clueless. This statistic is meaningless.

What is useful, is the deaths per 100,000 USERS!

Not that I would necessarily miss any of them.
Survival of the fittest certainly encompasses individual choices.

11 posted on 05/03/2014 6:19:58 PM PDT by publius911 ( At least Nixon had the good g race to resign!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NVDave

Kind of reminds me of Huxley’s “soma”, and the woman that OD / for all practical purposes OD, after being rescued from being stranded for a number of years.


12 posted on 05/03/2014 6:29:38 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: mgist

I work in a nice, suburban area hospital in the ICU. We are getting at least one heroin abuser every week.


13 posted on 05/03/2014 6:36:29 PM PDT by 3catsanadog (I love my country; I don't like its government)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mgist

Obama Abuse Epidemic is a national nightmare.

There, I fixed it.


14 posted on 05/03/2014 6:46:29 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mgist
It's a hard scenario. Patients have legitimate pain. Doctors want to ameliorate the symptoms by prescribing pain pills. That's the purpose of pain pills.

Doctors in fact have an obligation to do so, according to the doctors. And patients discover they can feel good by self-medicating. It's a difficult situation with no easy answers.

All I know is that anytime government gets involved ...... in anything ... everything is worse than before.

15 posted on 05/03/2014 7:12:02 PM PDT by LouAvul (In favor of reducing government to a more common sense entity.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LouAvul

Opiates can be addictive. Rush Limbaugh is the most famous but by no means the only case of celebrity opiate medication abuse.

These drugs are habit-forming and its not easy to get off them even when the condition for which they were originally prescribed has been treated.

Doctors have to watch patients’ carefully and monitor their need for pain-relieving drugs with a high addiction potential.


16 posted on 05/03/2014 7:19:55 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
Yet, so many doctors work in environments/clinics where they are a volume enterprise. It's impractical to expect them to monitor every patient that uses pain killers.

So, it's left up to the staff. Unfortunately the staff aren't always the sharpest knives in the drawer.

The way it works is that a patient calls the office for a Rx refill. The staff calls it in. The primary care provider isn't always in the loop. I know it sounds weird, but that's the way it is.

17 posted on 05/03/2014 7:28:37 PM PDT by LouAvul (In favor of reducing government to a more common sense entity.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: mgist

SAMHSA ( substance abuse and mental health services administration) -another federal agency?/* not mentioned here? Just job growth Obama style.


18 posted on 05/03/2014 8:35:30 PM PDT by Recompennation (Constitutional protection for all not ju st selectively for Democrats.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mkmensinger

Well said.


19 posted on 05/03/2014 8:55:57 PM PDT by aposiopetic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mgist
I remember reading a series of articles in the old NY Journal American in 1959 that made the statement that heroin was fast becoming a nightmare in NYC and the rest of the country.
Can someone explain to me what happened in the ensuing fifty-five years that makes this "nightmare" different from that "nightmare"?
20 posted on 05/03/2014 9:34:31 PM PDT by Larry381 (The Media Have Become the Enemy of the American people...Pat Caddell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: stockpirate

The Mexico.gov - cartels - Obamademocrates axis of evil


21 posted on 05/03/2014 9:41:40 PM PDT by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: stockpirate

The Mexico.gov - cartels - Obamademocrates axis of evil... the new normal of politics.


22 posted on 05/03/2014 9:41:55 PM PDT by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: mgist; mkmensinger; Farmer Dean; Reddy; stockpirate; NVDave; blackdog; publius911; Calvin Locke; ...

Here’s what mystifies me about this. The DEA has doctors running scared that they might appear to prescribe too much Vicodin. So, if they are already scared to prescribe Vicodin, they sure as hell aren’t about to prescribe Zohydro!


23 posted on 05/04/2014 1:19:47 AM PDT by Enterprise ("Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mgist

Regime doing its part to destroy foundations, this being our youth in this country. Heroin can be bought on the street for 5 dollars, doctors are handing out vicadin and oxy for a toothache. The DOJ applauds! Armed Drug gangs are left to do thier business while doucheberg and his band of mothers try to disarm the law abiding citizen. And Karl Rove sez Jeb is our man #$%@#$##@#$$%%^^%$#$$%%%^^& I apologize for the harsh language


24 posted on 05/04/2014 3:51:51 AM PDT by ronnie raygun
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson