The Battle Over Kratom: Is It A Life-Saver For Recovering Opioid Users Or Just Another Drug To Become Addicted To?
The substance has offered hope to those recovering from opioid addiction, but the FDA contends that there is no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use. The CDC weighed in last week with a new report citing a significant death toll linked to kratom. In other news about the crisis: the Sackler deposition has gone mainstream, CVS is fined for its Percocet prescription practices, President Donald Trump will appear at a summit in Atlanta to discuss the epidemic, and more.
The New York Times:
Opioid Users Call Kratom A Godsend. The F.D.A. Says It’s A Menace.
The steep rise in the number of people suffering opioid addiction has helped spawn the widespread use of another substance: kratom, a green powdered herbal supplement that is widely available and virtually unregulated. Derived from the leaves of a tree native to Southeast Asia and sold in the United States online and in bodegas and head shops, kratom has long been used as a mood booster, energy supplement and pain reliever. (Oppel and Kovaleski, 4/17)
The Story Of The Sackler Deposition Hits Pop Culture Big-Time
What started as an obscure legal fight in eastern Kentucky more than three years ago has reached a pop culture pinnacle: a mention on HBO’s Sunday night lineup. On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” the host did one of his trademark deep dives into the opioid addiction crisis, spotlighting the alleged role that drug distributors and manufacturers had in starting the conflagration. The segment focused partly on a deposition of Dr. Richard Sackler, a member of the billionaire family that controls OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma and a onetime Purdue president. (Joseph, 4/16)
The Associated Press:
CVS Fined $535K For Filling Forged Percocet Prescriptions
Drugstore chain CVS Health has agreed to pay $535,000 to resolve federal allegations that it filled dozens of Percocet prescriptions its pharmacists should have known were forged. The U.S. attorney for Rhode Island and the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New England office announced the penalty Tuesday. (4/16)
CVS Fined For Filling Fake Percocet Prescriptions
CVS is agreeing to pay $535,000 to settle allegations the pharmacy chain filled prescriptions for Percocet, a powerful painkiller, that its pharmacists should have recognized were forgeries. The fine was announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island. CVS locations in Rhode Island filled 39 prescriptions for Percocet, a Schedule II narcotic, despite the fact that its pharmacists “had reason to know” they were fraudulent, according to officials. (Budryk, 4/16)
The Associated Press:
Trump, First Lady To Address Opioid Crisis At Atlanta Summit
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will discuss the opioid crisis at an Atlanta summit. The White House announced the April 24 appearance at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit on Twitter Tuesday, saying the Trumps will speak "about their fight to end the opioid crisis in America." Trump has declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and is spending billions of dollars to combat it. Opioid abuse claimed nearly 48,000 American lives in 2017. (4/16)
New Orleans Times-Picayune:
DEA Announces Strategy To Fight Opioid, Heroin Abuse In Greater New Orleans
The Drug Enforcement Administration has chosen New Orleans, St. Bernard and Jefferson Parish as their 16th location to implement a strategy in the fight against prescription opioid and heroin abuse. The plan, which involves a collaborative effort between state and local law enforcement agencies, healthcare organizations, as well as schools and faith-based organizations, was announced Tuesday (April 16) in New Orleans’ City Hall. (Clark, 4/16)
In Year 2 Of 'War On Opioids,' Highmark Touts Lower Prescribing, Takes On Stigma
In its continued “war” on opioid abuse throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health in Pittsburgh are working to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and steer away from defining it as a "moral issue." "Nine out of 10 people believe it's the fault of the person to some degree for the addiction, and that's sad that [people think] it's a moral behavior that's led to this addiction," said Deborah Rice-Johnson, President of Highmark Inc. "Often times that's not the case." (Wimbley, 4/16)