The Oft-Forgotten Victims Of The Opioid Crisis: The Parents Who Have To Bury Their Children
"Who is saving us?" one mother wonders. "Nobody." Being a parent of a child who died from drugs can be isolating and traumatic, yet few resources go toward helping these families. In other news on the crisis: a look at what the federal government is doing to curb the epidemic; prescribing practices of doctors; risks of giving opioids to young patients; Walgreens' business practices; and more from the states.
The Associated Press:
Moms Of The Dead From Drugs: 'Where Is The Outrage For Us?'
The moms meet in a parking lot overlooking the little white funeral home and watch the mourners drifting toward the chapel doors — a familiar scene, beginning again. Cheryl Juaire taps nervously on her steering wheel. "Are we ready?" she asks the two other mothers leaning into the window of her SUV. (Galofaro, 1/28)
The Associated Press:
After The Overdose: A Family's Journey Into Grief And Guilt
There is nothing left to do, no more frantic phone calls to make, no begging or fighting that can fix this because the worst thing that could happen already has, so Doug Biggers settles into his recliner and braces for his daughter's voice to echo through his head. "Keep going, Daddy," she's saying. It's been months since they knelt over his 20-year-old son on the bedroom floor. But in these quiet moments, her words haunt him. "Don't give up," she'd said as he thrust down on his son's chest — his skin already blue, his hands already clenched. (1/28)
The Associated Press:
Q&A: Feds Tackle Opioid Epidemic, But Is It Helping?
President Donald Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency and urged prosecutors to seek the death penalty against drug dealers. Congress has provided targeted grants for treatment, recovery and prevention and made numerous policy changes to help people struggling with addiction get access to services. From the National Institutes of Health to Veterans Affairs and the Agriculture Department, government agencies are deploying their own specialized skills. Still, the addiction crisis will not easily release its grip on the nation, even as progress is made providing resources and improving coordination. (1/28)
Big Hike In Benzodiazepine Prescriptions Traced To Primary Care Providers
The percentage of outpatient medical visits that led to a benzodiazepine prescription doubled from 2003 to 2015, according to a study published Friday. And about half those prescriptions came from primary care physicians. This class of drugs includes the commonly used medications Valium, Ativan and Xanax. While benzodiazepines are mostly prescribed for anxiety, insomnia and seizures, the study found that the biggest rise in prescriptions during this time period was for back pain and other types of chronic pain. The findings appear online in JAMA Network Open. (Chatterjee, 1/25)
The New York Times:
Balancing The Risks And Benefits Of Opioids For Children
In a new survey of more than 1,000 parents by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, more than half were worried about opioid addiction, but almost two-thirds thought that opioids were the most effective pain medications for a child to take after a fracture or an operation. Experts in pediatric pain want parents to understand that there are effective alternative pain management strategies for many situations, and they should review them carefully with their children’s doctors. (Klass, 1/28)
Walgreens Shareholders Want To Know How The Retailer Manages Opioid Risks
Reflecting growing concern over the opioid crisis, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) shareholders voted in favor of a proposal calling for the company to issue a regular report on how it manages the risk of distributing these addictive prescription painkillers, according to preliminary results. The proposal requires the pharmacy chain to prepare a report by June 30 detailing any changes the company has made to corporate governance since 2012 concerning opioid sales. The report should include specific board oversight of programs pertaining to opioids and whether and how executive compensation has been changed to reflect incentives. (Silverman, 1/25)
Overdose Deaths Falling Throughout Ohio, But Not In Franklin County
The Buckeye State’s drop of 21.4 percent was the biggest in the nation in a new provisional count of fatal overdoses from July 2017 through June 2018 released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ...And records for all of 2018 from several large counties contacted by The Dispatch show decreases approaching 50 percent — although Franklin County does not appear to be sharing that downward trend. (Candisky and Rowland, 1/27)
Tampa Bay Times:
Needle Exchange In Florida Gains New Support To Go Statewide
Bills have been filed in Tallahassee for the upcoming legislative session to expand the simple exchange program that advocates say has combated the spread of HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis through dirty needles and saved lives. The program signed up its 1,000th participant in January and has reported at least 1,075 overdose reversals, according to a letter sent to the Department of Health. (Koh, 1/27)