Skip to comments.Our View: Opiate abuse epidemic is a national nightmare
Posted on 05/12/2014 12:12:23 PM PDT by mgist
May. 3, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Beyond sharing the status of commonwealth, Massachusetts and Kentucky dont 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 months 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 Rivers director of health and humand services; Laura Washington, Partnership for Success II director; and Mike Aguiar, BOLDs 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. Theyre either in jail, strung out or dead, Rogers said. Its 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 states Prescription Monitoring Program.
Meanwhile, officials worry about the FDAs 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 Zohydros approval. Attorneys general from 28 states have written letters protesting the FDAs 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.
The Federal Government is helping the cartels and heroin so pure it can be snorted is blooding our markets.
Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Egypt, Afghanistans record poppy production protected by US army, the SEC ignoring Wall Streets banks money laundering, etc., is ALL ABOUT HELPING THE CARTELS!
SEC ignoring Wall Streets banks money laundering, etc., is ALL ABOUT HELPING THE CARTELS!
“Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin
Obama’s bizarre use of the American military to support the Muslim Brotherhood, has been well documented by famed author Seymour Hersch. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line
It isn’t so bizarre when you remember that the Muslim Brotherhood is cartel for the $multi Billion heroin trade.
Every American kid who dies or has their life wrecked by heroin is another casualty of our war in Afghanistan.
Every child who dies is a casualty of our corrupt drug dealing government.
True, it is also the breakdown of the morality of America. All the liberal groups that want the usage of “soft” drugs is what is pushing the envdeloppe that will lead to a worse epedidemic of other drugs.
Hate to sound harsh, but I always view drug overdose as almost a good thing. Darwinism in action. Weak willed addicts taking out their own trash so to speak. The uptick in crime sucks and that has spreading effects. But the drug addict that ODs? Good riddance.
“Hate to sound harsh, but I always view drug overdose as almost a good thing. Darwinism in action. Weak willed addicts taking out their own trash so to speak. The uptick in crime sucks and that has spreading effects. But the drug addict that ODs? Good riddance.”
The problem is that they take a lot of decent, innocent people with them.
“Sometimes you’re better off just taking the pain killer” - Bury Hussein Obama
I believe this to be a self-correcting problem.
The problem, as outlined in the article, is rooted in prescription opiates. Unless you think Pfizer is working with the Cartels.
Heroin has always been snorted. It usually is the gateway into the drugs. You don't get the instant high, so when the user is hooked he has to inject to get his kick.
Firewood for the medical/judicial/industrial prison system.