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Rising Physical Pain Is Linked to More ‘Deaths of Despair’
2023-01-30, Scientific American
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/rising-physical-pain-is-linked-to-...

Roughly 110,000 Americans died from a drug overdose between February 2021 and February 2022. That figure is part of a larger troubling trend. Life expectancy in the U.S. fell in 2020 and again in 2021, after decades of progress. Deaths linked to alcohol, drugs, and suicide are a major part of that change. Overdoses, suicides and other “deaths of despair” ... have been climbing since the 1990s and may have accelerated in recent years. Losing a job, recovering from an accident or illness, and experiencing divorce or financial difficulties may trigger desperation. People may use drugs and alcohol to ease these uncomfortable mental states. Scientific evidence shows that one common denominator in this cycle of stress, anxiety, depression and substance abuse is physical pain. The relationship between despair and pain is multifaceted. As most people know from personal experience, physical pain increases psychological distress and anxiety. The reverse relationship is also possible: psychological distress can cause physical pain. When someone is in a negative mood, researchers have found, the brain areas that play a role in physical pain also engage. The opioid epidemic may be the most prominent example of how physical pain and despair interact. The misuse of painkillers, especially opioids, generates changes in the brain that trigger higher pain sensitivity, as well as greater tolerance of and addiction to these drugs. As a result, people are more likely to overdose on these medications.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


A Cesspool of a Dungeon: The Surging Population in Rural Jails
2019-12-13, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/us/rural-jails.html

The Hamblen County Jail has been described as a dangerously overcrowded cesspool of a dungeon, with inmates sleeping on mats in the hallways, lawyers forced to meet their clients in a supply closet and the people inside subjected to horrible conditions every day. Since 2013, the number of people locked up in rural, conservative counties such as Hamblen has skyrocketed. Like a lot of Appalachia, Morristown, Tenn. ... has been devastated by methamphetamine and opioid use. Residents who commit crimes to support their addiction pack the 255-bed jail, which had 439 inmates at the end of October. While jail populations have dropped 18 percent in urban areas since 2013, they have climbed 27 percent in rural areas during that same period. Almost everyone in the county jail is there because of charges related to addiction, said the sheriff, Esco Jarnagin. Defense lawyers have proposed other options to address the crisis, including a pilot program [that] would have allowed some low-risk defendants to avoid having to post bail. But judges rejected the proposal because of fears that defendants would flee, said Willie Santana ... who is now one of four lawyers in the Hamblen County public defenders office. The whole system is geared toward generating pleas and putting people in jail, he said. For many inmates, that means the jail has been a revolving door. More than three-quarters of the 850 new cases that Mr. Santana handled in the past year involved a client who had previously been incarcerated.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the courts and in the prison system.


The Sacklers, Who Made Billions From OxyContin, Win Immunity From Opioid Lawsuits
2021-09-01, NPR
https://www.npr.org/2021/09/01/1031053251/sackler-family-immunity-purdue-phar...

Members of the Sackler family who are at the center of the nation's deadly opioid crisis have won sweeping immunity from opioid lawsuits linked to their privately owned company Purdue Pharma and its OxyContin medication. Federal Judge Robert Drain approved a bankruptcy settlement on Wednesday that grants the Sacklers "global peace" from any liability for the opioid epidemic. "This is a bitter result," Drain said. "I believe that at least some of the Sackler parties have liability for those [opioid OxyContin] claims. ... I would have expected a higher settlement." The complex bankruptcy plan ... grants "releases" from liability for harm caused by OxyContin and other opioids to the Sacklers, hundreds of their associates, as well as their remaining empire of companies and trusts. In return, they have agreed to pay roughly $4.3 billion, while also forfeiting ownership of Purdue Pharma. The Sacklers, who admit no wrongdoing and who by their own reckoning earned more than $10 billion from opioid sales, will remain one of the wealthiest families in the world. Critics of this bankruptcy settlement, meanwhile, said they would challenge Drain's confirmation because of the liability releases for the Sacklers. "This order is insulting to victims of the opioid epidemic who had no voice in these proceedings," said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The Department of Justice urged Drain to reject the settlement. Attorneys general for nine states and the District of Columbia also opposed the plan.

Note: Purdue Pharma spent $1.2 million on lobbying just before making this deal. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Ad agency tied to Purdue Pharma settles opioid claims for $350 million
2024-02-01, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2024/02/01/opioids-oxycontin-purdue-pub...

An advertising agency that helped market the blockbuster painkiller OxyContin will pay $350 million to states ravaged by the nation’s opioid crisis. Attorneys general from multiple states alleged that Publicis Health developed “unfair and deceptive” marketing campaigns aimed at persuading doctors to prescribe the addictive drug for longer periods of time and at higher doses. The company’s client was Purdue Pharma, the Connecticut drugmaker accused in lawsuits of helping ignite the epidemic through aggressive marketing and sales of OxyContin. Publicis, a subsidiary of French ad giant Publicis Groupe, settled with 50 states and D.C. Under the agreements, Publicis Health will stop accepting work related to prescription opioids and must release thousands of internal documents chronicling its dealings with companies such as Purdue. It is the first settlement with an advertising agency connected to the opioid crisis, according to the New York attorney general’s office. “Publicis was responsible for creating advertisements and materials, such as pamphlets and brochures that promoted OxyContin as safe and unable to be abused, even though this claim was not true,” according to a news release from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. Drug overdoses killed nearly 110,000 people in the United States in 2022, a record high, according to federal death statistics.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Law enforcement eyes opioid settlement cash for squad cars and body scanners
2023-10-20, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/10/20/1206326239/law-enforceme...

Policing expenses mount quickly: $18,000 for technology to unlock cellphones in Southington, Conn.; $2,900 for surveillance cameras and to train officers and canines in New Lexington, Ohio. And in other communities around the country, hundreds of thousands for vehicles, body scanners, and other equipment. State and local governments are turning to a new means to pay those bills: opioid settlement cash. This money — totaling more than $50 billion across 18 years — comes from national settlements with more than a dozen companies that made, sold, or distributed opioid painkillers, including Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, and Walmart, which were accused of fueling the epidemic that addicted and killed millions. In August, more than 200 researchers and clinicians delivered a call to action to government officials in charge of opioid settlement funds. "More policing is not the answer to the overdose crisis," they wrote. Years of research suggests law enforcement and criminal justice initiatives have exacerbated the problem. "Police activity is actually causing the very harms that police activity is supposed to be stemming," says Jennifer Carroll, an author of that study and an addiction policy researcher. In Louisiana ... 80% of settlement dollars are flowing to parish governments and 20% to sheriffs' departments. Over the lifetime of the settlements, sheriffs' offices in the state will receive more than $65 million — the largest direct allocation to law enforcement nationwide. And they do not have to account for how they spend it.

Note: Explore past news articles we've summarized on opioids, a crisis fueled by US drug companies and captured government agencies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.


OxyContin Maker Purdue to Plead Guilty Over Opioid Practices, Deal Sparks Opposition
2020-10-21, US News & World Report/Reuters
https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2020-10-21/oxycontin-maker-purd...

Purdue Pharma LP agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription opioid OxyContin, in a deal with U.S. prosecutors that effectively sidestepped paying billions of dollars in penalties and stopped short of criminally charging its executives or wealthy Sackler family owners. Prosecutors imposed significant penalties exceeding $8 billion against Purdue, though the lion's share will go largely unpaid. Purdue agreed to pay $225 million toward a $2 billion criminal forfeiture, with the Justice Department foregoing the rest if the company completes a bankruptcy reorganization dissolving itself and shifting assets to a "public benefit company," or similar entity, that steers the $1.775 billion unpaid portion to thousands of U.S. communities suing it over the opioid crisis. A $3.54 billion criminal fine and $2.8 billion civil penalty are likely to receive cents on the dollar as they compete with trillions of dollars of other claims from those communities and other creditors in Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings. Members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue agreed to pay a separate $225 million civil penalty for allegedly causing false claims for OxyContin to be made to government healthcare programs such as Medicare, according to court records. Neither the Sacklers nor any Purdue executives were criminally charged. Purdue reaped more than $30 billion from sales of OxyContin over the years, enriching Sackler family members while funneling illegal kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $572 million for its role in Oklahomas opioid crisis
2019-08-26, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/johnson-and-johnson-is-responsible-for-...

A judge Monday found Johnson & Johnson responsible for fueling Oklahomas opioid crisis, ordering the health-care company to pay $572 million to remedy the devastation wrought by the epidemic on the state and its residents. Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkmans landmark decision is the first to hold a drugmaker culpable for the fallout of years of liberal opioid dispensing that began in the late 1990s. More than 400,000 people have died of overdoses from painkillers, heroin and illegal fentanyl since 1999. With more than 40 states lined up to pursue similar claims against the pharmaceutical industry, the ruling ... could influence both sides strategies in the months and years to come. Plaintiffs attorneys around the country cheered the decision, saying they hoped it would be a model for an enormous federal lawsuit brought by nearly 2,000 cities, counties, Native American tribes and others scheduled to begin in Cleveland, Ohio, in October. Johnson & Johnsons products ... were a small part of the painkillers consumed in Oklahoma. But Hunter painted the company as an industry kingpin because two other companies it owned had grown, processed and supplied 60 percent of the ingredients in painkillers sold by most drug companies. At the root of this crisis was Johnson & Johnson, a company that literally created the poppy that became the source of the opioid crisis, the state charged. The state also said the health-care giant actively took part in ... an aggressive misinformation campaign.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


'They're drug dealers in Armani suits': executives draw focus amid US epidemic
2018-09-30, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/30/theyre-drug-dealers-in-armani...

The mayor of the West Virginia city that has come to symbolize Americas opioid epidemic has called for the jailing of pharmaceutical company executives he likens to street corner drug dealers. Steve Williams, mayor of ... a city ravaged by prescription pill and heroin addiction, said he wants to see executives face criminal prosecution, after it was revealed that a member of the family that made billions of dollars from the painkiller that unleashed the epidemic stands to profit further after he was granted a patent for an anti-addiction medicine. They are drug dealers in Armani suits, said Williams. The decisions that have been made within the pharmaceutical industry have ravaged our nation. In June, Massachusetts became the first state to sue individual executives and owners of Purdue Pharma, the maker of the drug, OxyContin, which kicked off the biggest drug epidemic in American history, estimated to be killing more than 115 people a day. The lawsuit seeks to recover the billions of dollars in profit banked by members of the Sackler family, which owns Purdue. Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey, accused the company and its officials of knowingly profiting from overdoses and death. Purdue Pharma and its executives built a multi-billion-dollar business based on deception and addiction. The more drugs they sold, the more money they made, she said in announcing the lawsuit.

Note: According to a former DEA agent, Congress helped drug companies fuel the opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


How corporate chiefs dodge lawsuits over sexual abuse and deadly products
2022-11-07, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/bankruptcy-tactics-releases/

Scandals brought down Harvey Weinstein’s movie studio and major opioid supplier Mallinckrodt. But their wealthy owners, directors and executives were granted lifetime immunity from related lawsuits in bankruptcy court — an overwhelmingly common tactic in major U.S. Chapter 11 cases, a Reuters review found. Such immunity grants have become a pervasive but little-understood feature of the U.S. bankruptcy system. The releases are now granted by judges in 9 of 10 major Chapter 11 cases. The lawsuit shields, requested by the company or organization in bankruptcy, are called “nondebtor” releases because they are bestowed on people and entities that never have to declare Chapter 11 themselves. The recipients effectively get the benefits of bankruptcy protection without the associated financial or reputational damage. Reuters ... examined 29 U.S. bankruptcies that were preceded by mass tort litigation against companies or other entities, many of which included allegations involving dangerous products or sexual abuse. The review found that about 1.2 million claimants in these cases have signed away their rights to sue related parties or face pressure to approve such releases in ongoing bankruptcy-court negotiations. The 29 bankruptcies included those of 14 Catholic dioceses or religious orders and the Boy Scouts of America amid lawsuits alleging child molestation; [and] the collapse of opioid suppliers Purdue Pharma LP and Mallinckrodt plc over their alleged roles in a deadly addiction epidemic.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.


'The level of sneakiness with Americans hiding money abroad is staggering'
2022-07-22, Yahoo News
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/patrick-radden-keefe-americans-hiding-money-ab...

Whether dodging taxes or legal peril, wealthy Americans often succeed in concealing assets from the government by hiding their money in offshore bank accounts. Research from the IRS and a group of economists last year found that the top 1% of earners in the U.S. neglect to report 20% of their income — and that random audits almost never detect offshore accounts. Tax havens like Switzerland or the Cayman Islands have traditionally offered Americans a place to hide their assets because they fiercely guard financial privacy and have minimal to no taxes. Often, they also have laws that inhibit scrutiny from foreign tax officials. Prior to his latest book, [author Patrick Radden] Keefe published "Empire of Pain," which chronicled the billionaire Sackler family's connection to the nation's opioid epidemic. The Sacklers, the notorious family that owned the now bankrupt Purdue Pharma, reportedly have much of their wealth hidden in offshore accounts. An audit commissioned by Purdue showed the family withdrew more than $10 billion from their company during the opioid crisis, CNN reported in October 2020. They began drawing especially large amounts of money from the firm after paying $600 million in a 2007 plea deal with the Justice Department for misleading physicians and consumers about the opioid OxyContin, CNN reported. “The kind of sophistication of the whole industry of financial dissimulation ... such that nobody can put their hands on the money, is really interesting.” Keefe told Yahoo Finance.

Note: A 2015 Guardian newspaper article further describes how the US helps the super-rich hide assets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


'A staggering increase': Yearly overdose deaths top 100,000 for first time
2021-11-17, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/yearly-drug-overdose-deaths-top-10...

Drug overdose deaths in the United States surpassed 100,000 in a 12-month period for the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday, a troubling milestone amid an already devastating period for the country. The number of overdose deaths rose 29 percent, from 78,056 from April 2019 to April 2020, to 100,306 in the following 12 months. The data, from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, is considered provisional but is a good indication of what the final numbers will show. “It’s a staggering increase for one year,” said Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the NCHS. Vermont saw the biggest rise, with a nearly 70 percent increase. Large increases were also observed in West Virginia (62 percent), Kentucky (55 percent), Louisiana (52 percent) and Tennessee (50 percent). Drug overdose deaths went down in just four states: Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota. South Dakota had a nearly 20 percent decrease in overdose deaths, the greatest by far. Just how much of a role the stress and isolation of the pandemic played in the rising overdose deaths remains to be seen. “Opioid addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition such that the stress or the social isolation and the inability to access support groups could have resulted in relapses in people with opioid addiction, and Covid could have made it harder for people with opioid addiction to access treatment, as well,” [Dr. Andrew] Kolodny said.

Note: Yet another tragic consequence of the lockdowns and fear-mongering. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.


Internal drug company emails show indifference to opioid epidemic
2019-07-19, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/internal-drug-company-emails-sh...

In May 2008, as the opioid epidemic was raging in America, a representative of the nations largest manufacturer of opioid pain pills sent an email to a client at a wholesale drug distributor in Ohio. Victor Borelli, a national account manager for Mallinckrodt, told Steve Cochrane, the vice president of sales for KeySource Medical, to check his inventories and [i]f you are low, order more. If you are okay, order a little more, Capesce? Then Borelli joked, destroy this email ... Is that really possible? Oh Well... Those email excerpts are quoted in a 144-page plaintiffs filing along with thousands of pages of documents unsealed by a judges order Friday in a landmark case in Cleveland against many of the largest companies in the drug industry. A Drug Enforcement Administration database released earlier in the week revealed that the companies had inundated the nation with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills from 2006 through 2012. Nearly 2,000 cities, counties and towns are alleging that the companies knowingly flooded their communities with opioids, fueling an epidemic that has killed more than 200,000. The filing by plaintiffs depict some drug company employees as driven by profits and undeterred by the knowledge that their products were wreaking havoc across the country. Plaintiffs in the case argue that the actions of some of Americas biggest and best-known companies - including Mallinckrodt, Cardinal Health, McKesson, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Purdue Pharma - amounted to a civil racketeering enterprise.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


As Purdue Pharma Sought Controversial Bankruptcy Settlement, It Spent Over $1.2 Million on Lobbying
2021-08-13, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2021/08/13/purdue-pharma-sackler-bankruptcy-lobbying/

As Purdue Pharma seeks approval for a controversial bankruptcy settlement, it has retained the services of highly compensated lobbying firms Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and Capitol Hill Consulting Group. At the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy trial that began Thursday, Judge Robert Drain is widely expected to approve a proposed settlement of the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy that would release members of the billionaire Sackler family, the company’s owners, from all current and future opioid-related civil claims. In the year and a half leading up to the trial, Purdue spent at least $1.2 million on federal lobbying expenses as it worked toward the settlement, an Intercept review of lobbying records shows. If the settlement is approved, the Sacklers will be making a contribution of $4.28 billion, which will leave them with over $6 billion at minimum in total assets — money that will be effectively untouchable by opioid crisis victims, even though it is Purdue going bankrupt, not the Sacklers. “This whole bankruptcy was the Sacklers trying to buy immunity,” said activist Ed Bisch, who lost his son to an OxyContin overdose in 2001 and is a claimant and active opponent of the settlement. “The only question was what would be the price.” Among the lobbyists paid by Purdue Pharma — maker of the opioid painkiller OxyContin — since it filed for bankruptcy reorganization in September 2019 are politically connected Brownstein Hyatt, which received $480,000, and Capitol Hill Consulting Group, which got $300,000.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Revealed: how Mexico's Sinaloa cartel has created a global network to rule the fentanyl trade
2020-12-08, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/08/mexico-cartel-project-synthetic...

Carlos is a Mexican businessman. Two associates accompanied him as he travelled [to] India. There, [he] met Manu Gupta, a businessman active in a variety of sectors. On 25 September 2018 he was arrested in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, along with a Mexican associate and an Indian chemist. The three men were wearing masks and gloves – and were in possession of more than 10kg of fentanyl — an ultra-potent synthetic opioid. The case sheds light on the international networks which Mexican cartels have built up – and the business methods they employ to dominate the lucrative fentanyl market. Fentanyl increasingly displaced heroin on the underground market, causing record numbers of overdoses around the world. In 2018, fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs accounted for nearly half of the 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the US. This year, overdoses have rocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 40 US states reporting an increase in drug mortality rates – particularly from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. In theory, sales of precursors are highly regulated. In reality, the extent of the problem is revealed with a simple Google search. Entering keywords for fentanyl precursors quickly leads you to the social network Pinterest, where – nestled between wedding moodboards and home decor inspiration – are posts from Chinese companies offering fentanyl precursors for export – many directed towards Mexico.

Note: Pharmaceutical executives have been caught bribing doctors to prescribe fentanyl-containing painkillers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


First major drug distribution company, former executives, criminally charged in opioid crisis
2019-04-23, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/former-ceo-major-drug-distribution-compa...

In a national first in the fight against the opioid crisis, a major drug distribution company, its former chief executive and another top executive have been criminally charged in New York. Rochester Drug Co-Operative, one of the top 10 largest drug distributors in the United States, was charged Tuesday with conspiracy to violate narcotics laws, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and willfully failing to file suspicious order reports. Laurence Doud III, the company's former chief executive, and William Pietruszewski, the companys former chief compliance officer, are individually charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to defraud the U.S.. Pietruszewski is also charged with willfully failing to file suspicious order reports with the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA. The U.S. attorney's office also filed a lawsuit against Rochester Drug Co-Operative on Tuesday seeking "penalties and injunctive relief." Between 2012 and 2016, Rochester Drug Co-Operative is accused of distributing tens of millions of doses of oxycodone, fentanyl and other opioids to pharmacies that its own compliance department found had no legitimate need for them. Prosecutors said Rochester Drug Co-Operative went against the DEA and its own policies and distributed drugs to pharmacies that were "filling controlled substances prescriptions issued by practitioners acting outside the scope of their medical practice, under investigation by law enforcement, or on RDCs 'watch list.'"

Note: Many doctors also profited from excessive prescribing of dangerous opioids. And according to a former DEA agent, Congress helped drug companies fuel the opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


These Are the World's Healthiest Nations
2019-02-24, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-24/spain-tops-italy-as-world-...

Spain just surpassed Italy to become the worlds healthiest country. Thats according to the 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health. Spain placed sixth in the previous gauge, published in 2017. Four additional European nations were among the top 10 in 2019: Iceland (third place), Switzerland (fifth), Sweden (sixth) and Norway (ninth). Japan was the healthiest Asian nation, jumping three places from the 2017 survey into fourth and replacing Singapore, which dropped to eighth. Australia and Israel rounded out the top 10 at seventh and 10th place. The index grades nations based on variables including life expectancy while imposing penalties on risks such as tobacco use and obesity. It also takes into consideration environmental factors including access to clean water and sanitation. Researchers say eating habits may provide clues to health levels enjoyed by Spain and Italy [#2 on the list], as a Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet, according to a study led by the University of Navarra Medical School. Meanwhile in North America, Canadas 16th-place ranking far surpassed the U.S. and Mexico, both of which dropped slightly to 35th and 53rd. Life expectancy in the U.S. has been trending lower due to deaths from drug overdoses and suicides.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


FDA knew doctors were misusing powerful opioids
2018-08-03, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/fda-knew-doctors-w...

The Food and Drug Administration knew that some doctors were wrongly prescribing powerful opioid painkillers. The drugs include mouth sprays and lozenges meant to provide immediate relief for breakthrough cancer pain ... in patients who have been taking opioids for long periods of time. The formulations, referred to as transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl products, or TIRF products, can kill patients who take them without having first developed tolerance. But they were prescribed to patients who had no tolerance, and for migraines or dental pain, the team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said. The U.S. is suffering through an epidemic of opioid abuse. Opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, killed 42,000 people in 2016. At the same time, the CDC reported last year, the number of prescriptions for the painkillers tripled from 1999 to 2015. The FDA set up a special plan to control [TIRF products], called a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy. The FDA asked one of its expert panels ... to help review how the strategy for the TIRF opioids has been working. It has not worked as designed, the Johns Hopkins team said in testimony given to the panel. The strategy has "generated red flags for years," the team said in written testimony. FDA had evidence as early as April 2016 that TIRFs were being prescribed for many patients who were not opioid tolerant, they wrote in their testimony. Of more than 25,000 patients receiving TIRFs, as many as 51 percent were not opioid tolerant.

Note: A recent CNN report titled, "The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make" shows how doctors have profited from over-prescribing these dangerous drugs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma.


A town of 3,200 was flooded with nearly 21 million pain pills as addiction crisis worsened, lawmakers say
2018-01-31, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/01/31/a-town-of-32...

Over the past decade, nearly 21 million prescription painkillers have been shipped to a tiny town in West Virginia, a state where more people have overdosed on opioids and died than in any other in the nation. 20.8 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills have been delivered to Williamson, W.Va., a town with ... fewer than 3,200 residents. [House Energy and Commerce] Committee leaders sent letters to two regional drug distributors, asking why the companies oversupplied this town, among others, with painkillers. These numbers are outrageous, Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said in a statement. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced a nationwide crackdown on pharmacies and prescribers that are oversupplying opioids amid a deadly epidemic sweeping the United States. In the letters, dated Jan. 26, the congressional committee noted that between 2006 and 2016, drug distributors shipped large quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone to two pharmacies in Williamson. During that time, Tug Valley Pharmacy received more than 10.2 million pills and Hurley Drug Company received more than 10.5 million pills. The pharmacies are 0.2 miles apart. The committee said in a letter to distributor Miami-Luken that from 2008 to 2015, the company had supplied more than half of all the prescription pain pills shipped to Tug Valley Pharmacy. And distributor H.D. Smith, the committee said, provided the pharmacies with nearly 5 million pills between 2007 and 2008.

Note: A CBS article titled, "Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress" describes major regulatory failures that contributed to this addiction crisis. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Medical marijuana has no public health risks should not be withheld from patients
2017-12-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://guardian.ng/features/health/medical-marijuana-has-no-public-health-ri...

After months of deliberation and investigation, the WHO has concluded that cannabidiol (CBD) is a useful treatment for epilepsy and palliative care, and does not carry any addiction risks. The organization is set to run a fuller review of cannabis next year. The report ... also recommended imposing the strong restrictions available on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which has killed thousands of people in Americas drug addiction epidemic. There is increased interest from Member States in the use of cannabis for medical indications including for palliative care, the report said. Responding to that interest and increase in use, WHO has in recent years gathered more robust scientific evidence on therapeutic use and side effects of cannabis and cannabis components. In conclusion, the authors wrote: Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions. They added that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol, and declared that taking medical marijuana will not lead to addiction to THC, the psychoactive property of cannabis that induces a high.

Note: More people are arrested in the US for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined and the US federal government continues to regard non-psychoactive CBD as a dangerous drug. The UK government recently announced it will regulate CBD as medicine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


How big pharma's money and its politicians feed the US opioid crisis
2017-10-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/19/big-pharma-money-lobbying-us-...

Trumps nominee for drug czar, the US congressman Tom Marino, was forced to withdraw after a report by the Washington Post and CBSs 60 Minutes highlighted his role in forging legislation that hinders the DEAs ability to move against drug distributors or pharmacies recklessly dispensing the opioid painkillers at the heart of the epidemic, which claims more than 100 lives a day. Marinos acceptance of substantial donations from those same companies compromised his nomination to head the federal agency charged with tackling the opioid crisis. But for Congress, the process was nothing unusual. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow to lobbyists and politicians on Capitol Hill each year to shape laws and policies that keep drug company profits growing. The impact of so much drug company money coursing through the veins of Congress is often incremental or largely unseen by the American public. But on occasion it has a hugely visible impact. While lobbying shapes medical policy across the board, it has had a profound impact on the opioid epidemic as deaths quadrupled between 1999 and 2015. The pharmaceutical industry poured resources into attempting to place blame for the crisis on the millions who have became addicted instead of on the mass prescribing of powerful opioids. Some of the pressure came through industry-funded groups such as the Pain Care Forum, which spent $740m over a decade lobbying in Washington and state legislatures against limits on opioid prescribing.

Note: This excellent article has lots more on the intense level of corruption found in this opioid crisis. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.