How A Little Pharmacy Shop In Tennessee That Touted Its Great Milkshakes Became State’s Largest Opioid Purchaser
The Nashville Tennessean dives into the story of the Reeves-Sain shop in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where DEA data shows that even if the company supplied every single nursing home and hospice patient in the Southern U.S., the pharmacy would have outnumbered patients with opioid pills by about 13 to 1. Other news on the opioid crisis comes out of Washington state and North Carolina.
How Did One Murfreesboro Pharmacy Earn Title Of State's Largest Purchaser Of Opioids?
But from a nearby building in the same strip mall, its owners ran a complex web of pharmaceutical businesses that purchased millions of opioid pills during the peak of Tennessee’s prescription opioid boom, while the overdose death rate was skyrocketing. One of the companies, Reeves-Sain Extended Care, was the state's top buyer of opioid pills from 2006 to 2012, according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency data obtained and released publicly by the Washington Post in July. However on Monday — more than a month after the release — the pharmacy's current owner contested the data, claiming its repackaging company originally reported information incorrectly to the DEA. (Hineman, Sauber and Reicher, 8/28)
Anyone In Washington State Can Now Obtain Naloxone, The Opioid Overdose Medication
Washington public health officials have been trying to get Naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses, to as many people as possible. The state’s top doctor aided this push Wednesday by making Naloxone available to anyone through a pharmacy. Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state’s health officer, signed a “standing order” for Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan. The order is statewide and allows any person or organization to obtain the medication from a pharmacy without a prescription. (Blethen, 8/28)
North Carolina Health News:
NC Needle Exchange Programs Expand Their Reach Despite The Odds
Roughly three years after syringe exchange programs became legal in North Carolina, more people than ever are receiving clean needles and kits to help them reverse an overdose. Collectively, North Carolina’s syringe exchange programs — operated by local health departments, as well as faith-based and other community organizations — had more than doubled their number of participants from just under 4,000 people in 2016-17 to more than 9,600 in 2018-19. (Engel-Smith, 8/29)
And read Part Two of KHN's coverage of the burgeoning pain industry in India —
Kaiser Health News:
In India’s Slums, ‘Painkillers Are Part Of The Daily Routine’
In the crowded waiting room of Dr. Sunil Sagar’s clinic, in the working-class neighborhood of Bhagwanpur Khera, a toddler breathes from a nebulizer. Fever is widespread, and the air quality in Delhi has reached “severe-plus emergency.” The patients sit, motionless, but there is somehow tremendous noise. The clinic is a squat cement building draped in wires, a red cross on the door. Sagar sits behind a desk in a small, open room, as a squad of assistants escort patients to him. He seems utterly unflappable. A father with a troubled look sits down next to the doctor, holding a baby. Sagar listens to the baby’s chest with a stethoscope, pulls out scrap paper and writes a prescription. The father hands over a few rupees, and Sagar places the bills into a money drawer under his desk. The entire exchange takes perhaps two minutes. (Varney, 8/29)
Read Part One: Beset By Lawsuits And Criticism In U.S., Opioid Makers Eye New Market In India