KHN Morning Briefing

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Massachusetts To Begin Far-Reaching Probe Of Addiction Treatment Scams

State Attorney General Maura Healey's office is conducting an investigation of people who allegedly prey on those with an opioid addiction by sending them to treatment centers hundreds of miles from home for expensive and often shoddy care paid for by insurance benefits obtained by using fake addresses.

Stat: Massachusetts AG Launches Probe Of Addiction Treatment Fraud
The Massachusetts attorney general’s office is investigating a far-reaching insurance scheme that recruited drug users and sent them to treatment centers in other states to exploit their benefit payments, according to people contacted by the office and others familiar with the matter. Jillian Fennimore, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Maura Healey, confirmed the office is conducting a criminal investigation of addiction treatment scams, which have proliferated amid the national opioid addiction crisis. She would not provide details of the probe, including whether particular entities or individuals were being targeted. (Armstrong and Allen, 9/29)

In other news on the crisis —

The Star Tribune: Minn. Medical Companies Work On Alternatives For Opioid Drugs
Medical device and drug companies in the state offer a panoply of therapeutic options using precise gadgetry, chemicals, electricity, radio-frequency energy and cryogenics to counteract intense pain, whether short-term or chronic. ... But manufacturers argue that their nonopioid therapies deserve fresh consideration in light of the realization that mass-produced opioid drugs carry more risks and less long-term effectiveness than the medical community was initially led to believe. (Carlson, 9/30)

The Washington Post: The History Of Heroin And Opioid Addiction In The U.S.
The president, a swaggering populist from New York, was worried that a national crisis of opiate addiction was weakening America and diminishing its greatness. So in 1908, Teddy Roosevelt appointed a handsome Ohio doctor with a handlebar mustache, Hamilton Wright, to be the nation’s first Opium Commissioner.Americans, Wright warned, “have become the greatest drug fiends in the world.” (Miroff, 9/29)

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