New FDA-approved “trackable” pill transmits information — it will tattle on you if you don’t take your meds

tracking pill

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a digital pill embedded with a sensor designed to inform physicians whether their patients are taking their medications. The federal approval marks a growing trend towards addressing drug non-adherence among patients, according to a New York Times report.

The pill, called Abilify MyCite, is a modified version of Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s drug Abilify that is used in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. It is equipped with a small tracking device developed by Proteus Digital Health. The new tracking pill works by transmitting a message from the sensor to a wearable patch, which then sends data to a mobile app to enable patients to monitor drug ingestion on their smartphone.

Patients who agree to taking the tracking pill can sign consent forms that allow their health care providers and up to four other people including their family members to receive information about the date and time that the drugs are ingested. The technology is currently not approved for patients suffering from dementia-related psychosis.

“The FDA supports the development and use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how technology might benefit patients and prescribers,” says Mitchell Mathis of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

A 2014 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that as much as 50 percent of patients on prescription medications fail to take their drugs as instructed. In fact, psychiatric medicine practitioners note that taking medications between 70 and 80 percent of the time is already considered ‘good’ adherence. Experts add that noncompliance costs as much as $100 billion annually as patients only get sicker and spend more on additional treatments and hospitalizations.

FDA approval may exacerbate paranoia in patients, experts warn

The latest FDA approval has been met with ethical concerns, especially among the psychiatric circle. The American Psychiatric Association has stressed the importance of balance between psychiatric care and patient privacy. Likewise, an expert has cautioned that the new tracking pill may boost drug adherence but may also be doomed to backfire due in part to trust issues. Dr. Peter Kramer, a psychiatrist and the author of “Listening to Prozac,” also warns that the new technology seems coercive despite being technically ethical. (Related: Talk to the voices: Unconventional yet obvious ways to heal schizophrenia and average mental mayhem.)

“Psychotic disorders are often characterized by some degree of paranoia, often reaching delusional proportions, in which patients may believe that outside forces are trying to monitor and control them, including controlling minds or bodies or harm them in some way. The idea that we’re giving this group of patients a pill that, in fact, transmits info about them from inside their body to the people that are involved in their treatment almost seems like a confirmation of the worst paranoias of the worst patients,”  says Dr. Paul Appelbaum, director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia University’s psychiatry department.

Sources include: 

NaturalNews.com

NYTimes.com

DailyMail.co.uk

What this article isn’t saying is that these tracking devices can change your DNA!!!  You’ve been warned!


Online faith based help for your drug & alcohol recovery is available at VictoryRetreatMontana.com.  Check us out!

Deaths During Opioid-Related Hospital Stays in U.S. Quadrupled

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Deaths from heroin increased 328% between 2010 and 2015, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now seeing a sharp rise as well. More Americans die from drug overdoses than in car crashes, and this increasing trend is driven by Rx painkillers.

A new study released earlier this week confirms that deaths in opioid-related hospital stays in the U.S. have quadrupled between 1993 and 2014, PBS NewsHour reports.

Zirui Song, an assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, launched the study in 2016 in an effort to gain a better understanding of the patients he treated.

Dr. Song analyzed nearly 385,000 hospital stays involving patients who were admitted for opioid use with data from the National Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, a national database compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality.

His research confirmed that by 2014, four times as many patients died from opioid-related causes while staying in the hospital, rising from 0.43 percent before 2000 to 2.02 percent.

Over the same time period, the study also found that patients admitted to the hospital for opioid use skewed younger — the average age was 39 years old — and were more likely to be Caucasian. The number of black and Hispanic patients admitted to hospitals for opioid or heroin use remained relatively stable.

Dr. Song said his study is intended to raise awareness for the need for better strategies for hospitals when patients are admitted for using opioids, in addition to continuing and improving public health.

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Doctors need to STOP prescribing Opiates and, those who do, need to properly detox their patients so they don’t have to go to Heroin!  Talk to your doctor about this today.


Need compassionate faith based one on one support in your recovery?  Please go to: VictoryRetreatMontana.com where you can completely recover – ONLINE from the comfort of your home!

Breaking Down the Uptick in Adolescent Overdoses

Reuters

The leading cause of death for Americans under 50 is now accidental death by drug overdose. There’s been a significant climb in overdose deaths among those under 18.

When it comes to acknowledging the opioid epidemic, the U.S. has been faced with some harsh realities over the past several months. Perhaps most notable is a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that indicates the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 is now accidental death by drug overdose. The 2016 count of lives lost exceeds 64,000, a 19 percent increase from the previous year’s 52,000. These figures are heartbreaking.

 

Perhaps a more important statistic is that overdose deaths among adolescents (those ages 12 to 17) are up as well, with a strikingly similar 19 percent increase in the past year. This information is significant, and not just because it’s alarming. It also begs a different approach in how to address the problem.

 

Several governmental actions have been taken to curb the effects of this devastating crisis. Many states have adopted Good Samaritan laws, which encourage bystanders to call law enforcement for help if there’s concern for a potential overdose, without fear of prosecution for being involved in illicit activities themselves. There are also federal regulations with heavy sanctions on misguided prescribers who may be buffering their revenues by pumping out scripts for prescription opioids. Plus, there’s the overdose-reversing drug Narcan and subsequent funding for free community trainings, with ease of access through your physician or local pharmacy.

But where is the haste toward prevention?

 

In my 13 years working in the mental health and addictions counseling field, I can list over a dozen adolescent treatment programs (that I was personally acquainted with) that have closed simply due to lack of census. Services were being offered, but few were using them. Some of these programs, responding to an increase of young adults (18- to 26- year-olds) in need of treatment, converted their juvenile programs to fit the business’s needs.

Alongside the trend for more young adults seeking treatment, service providers continued to see further declines in adolescents accessing services. In essence, what we’re seeing is a decrease of identification in teens, and an increase as they transition into adulthood. There’s something horribly wrong with this picture. As a culture, we’re being reactive to a crisis as opposed to placing efforts to be proactive. This, unfortunately, is a making of the tragedy we see on the news each and every day.

 

Yes, prevention does exist; however, it’s fragmented at best. Most common prevention efforts take place in the school setting. One of the most frequently used school-based prevention programs has been empirically suggested to be ineffective, and yet the program gets renewed year after year in some states. Some states’ education departments require that school boards employ a specialist to handle substance use and other crises in their students; however, these professionals often occupy several roles within the district, and their time is often stretched too thin. Programming targeting parents to provide information on current trends and concerns regarding substance use are lightly attended. I’ve facilitated many of these workshops myself; in a student population of 1,200, if you can get 20 parents to attend, you’re in luck.

 

One thing is blatantly clear: When we’re not appropriately addressing substance use and addiction in adolescence, we are inundated with young adults literally fighting for their lives shortly thereafter.

I’m not saying that the approach we’re taking to the opioid crisis is wrong. Rather, it’s incomplete. We need to start the conversation about drug use and addiction at an early age. And no, “just say no” isn’t an acceptable means of prevention. “Just say no” is something that we feel more comfortable doing. We can just check it off the list, say that we “had the conversation,” and be done with it. In order to create change, we have to be OK with getting uncomfortable. This is how we’re going to save these kids lives.

Talk to your families about substance use. If you have a family history of addiction, there’s all the more reason to do this – your children may have a predisposition. Go to prevention programs offered in your community. Most, if not all, are free. Bring your kids with you. Talk about the program on the drive home. Have family dinners once in a while. Bring up any pop-culture or media references to overdose deaths, and listen to their reactions. Reach out and call the school your child attends to find out how they address prevention. Acquaint yourself with the personnel who coordinate it. Introduce your child, too. Research other agencies in your community, and participate or volunteer in their events from time to time.

 

There are limitless ways that we can make small impacts in our families and our communities. Stigma usually hold us back. Stigma also adds to this crisis. However, if we’re more active in our prevention efforts, not only will we see a reduction in adolescent overdoses, but over time we will not have an opioid epidemic on our hands.

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President’s Commission on Opioid Crisis Calls for Nationwide System of Drug Courts

 

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President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released its final report on Wednesday, calling for expanding drug courts into all 94 federal court jurisdictions. The commission also recommended easier access to alternatives to opioids to treat pain, The Washington Post reports.

Drug courts are specialized court programs that target criminal defendants and offenders, juvenile offenders, and parents with pending child welfare cases who have alcohol and other drug dependency problems.

The commission made more than 50 recommendations, including requiring doctors and others who prescribe opioids to demonstrate they have received training in safely providing the drugs before they can renew their licenses to handle controlled substances with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Providers should be required to check prescription drug monitoring databases to ensure patients aren’t “doctor shopping” for prescription drugs, the commission said. In some states, use of the databases is voluntary, the article notes.

News Source


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Trump declares opioid crisis a ‘public health emergency’. Fentanyl to come off the market ‘immediately’!

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Calling it a “national shame” and “human tragedy,” President Trump on Thursday declared the opioid epidemic crippling American communities a “public health emergency” and pledged federal resources to help combat the growing problem.

“Addressing it will require all of our effort, and it will require us to confront the crisis in all of its real complexity,” Trump said during a speech in the East Room of the White House.

“As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” Trump said. “It is time to liberate our communities from the scourge. … We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.”

Trump spoke to an audience at the White House that included family members of those affected by the opioid crisis, as well as several administration officials and elected leaders.

The president, who said “not one part of American society has been spared” from the crisis, stopped short of calling it a national emergency, something he previously promised he’d do. The announcement follows months of debate on how to tackle the problem.

‘We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.’

– President Trump

Trump himself has gone on record more than once saying he would declare the crisis a national emergency. Such a designation would allow states to tap into the same federal funds typically reserved for natural disasters like hurricanes through the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Instead, Trump signed a presidential memo that directs acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan to declare a public health emergency under the Public Health Services Act — which directs federal agencies to provide more grant money to combat the epidemic.

White House officials say the step helps cut through regulatory red tape and gives states more flexibility in how they use federal funds to fight the problem.

The designation will also allow changes such as expanded access to medical services in rural areas.

It doesn’t, however, create any additional funding.

The emergency declaration will last 90 days but can be renewed.

In 2015, 33,091 people died from opioid overdose, while 12.5 million people misused prescription opioids, according to the most recent statistics available from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The president on Thursday also revealed plans to take an “evil” opioid off the market immediately as well as the government’s intention to bring lawsuits against some of the drug makers, though he did not provide specifics. He also vowed to crack down on heroin imports from Mexico and fentanyl imports from China.

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is an opiate drug that’s up to 100 times more potent than morphine. In the past, drug dealers used it to spike the potency of the heroin they sold but traffickers are now selling fentanyl by itself.

Drug deaths involving fentanyl increased nearly 600 percent from 2014 to 2016, The Washington Post reported. There were 582 fatal overdoses linked to the synthetic drug in 2014. Last year, the number jumped to 3,946.

Trump also discussed the alcohol addiction that claimed his older brother Fred’s life in 1981.

“[Fred] had a problem with alcohol, and he would tell me, ‘Don’t drink, don’t drink,’” Trump said.

The president said watching his brother as well as other friends struggle with addiction is what set him on a no-drug, no-alcohol, no-cigarette path.

“There is nothing desirable about drugs,” Trump said. “They’re bad.”

Trump vowed to tackle the opioid crisis on the campaign trail, but critics claim his administration has been slow to act.

Trump created a presidential commission that in August recommended he declare the crisis a national emergency.

“Your declaration would empower your Cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the executive branch even further to deal with this loss of life,” the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis wrote. “It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: If this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.”

However, White House officials told reporters Thursday morning that a national emergency declaration was not necessary in the case of opioids.

The public health emergency will “reorient all of the federal government and executive branch resources toward focusing on providing relief to this urgent need.”

Past instances of public health emergencies include the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009.

Since the commission released its report, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has stepped down from his post while Trump’s pick for drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino, withdrew his nomination.

At an event at the Heritage Foundation earlier Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said it’s important to “reestablish the view that people should say no to drugs.”

“I do think this whole country needs to not be so lackadaisical about drugs,” he said. “Much of the addiction starts with marijuana. It is not a harmless drug.”

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My comment on the above is that the addiction liability begins with Big Pharma and the doctors who prescribe them for anything else but to relieve extreme pain during the last days of life.  At that time, they were being misused by doctors as well.  I am a nurse who worked during those times.  A doctor would verabally say to a nurse, “sleep him through”.  That meant to overdose him with so much morphine so as to end life.  No – I never honored those doctors’ orders because my job is to heal, not kill; however, most nurses did it.  I believe God is the One to decide when one dies.  So, throughout time, it’s the doctors who should be made to be accountable for their sins by holding them as murderers and drug dealers.  Do you have an opinion on that?


Recovering from prescription drug addiction (or any other addiction), please visit VictoryRetreatMontana.com to learn how you can fully recover and leave addiction as dust in the wind.

PROFIT at any cost: Big Pharma’s bribery and kickback schemes led to deaths of U.S. soldiers

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The families of U.S. troops who have been killed or injured while fighting overseas in Iraq have filed a lawsuit against multiple U.S. and European pharmaceutical and medical supply companies after accusing the corporations of knowingly financing the Mahdi Army, an anti-American militia, through a series of bribes and kickbacks.

The lawsuit, which was filed against some of the biggest and most well-known names in the industry – including GE Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Roche Holdings – claims that the corporations sent financial aid to Iraq’s Ministry of Health through their local agents. Allegedly, these funds were then used by officials at the ministry to assist the militia as they carried out attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Needless to say, if the accusations made in the lawsuit really are true, then it would be one of the most egregious acts ever committed by pharmaceutical companies to date, and would even border on treason.

The money was sent in the form of “commissions” or “free goods,” and at times amounted to as much as 20 percent of the total value of a contract with ministry officials. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants included specific language in their contracts that promised Iraq’s Ministry of Health after-sales support and other services related to the product that was sold to them.

“In reality, such services were illusory and functioned merely to create a slush fund the local agents could use to pass on ‘commissions to corrupt (ministry) officials,’” the lawsuit states.

While the lawsuit claims that the money that was sent from these pharmaceutical companies to Iraq’s Ministry of Health violated the U.S. anti-terrorism act, Pfizer released a statement explaining that the company “categorically denies any wrongdoing.” In addition, GE said that they were “thoroughly reviewing the allegations,” and a spokeswoman for Roche declined to comment because the company had yet to be officially served with the lawsuit. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson also refused to comment on the matter.

“Defendants did not intend for the ‘free goods’ provided to Kadima (health ministry’s pharmaceutical importing agency) to serve any legitimate charitable or medicinal purpose,” the lawsuit alleges. “It was widely understood in Iraq that MOH (Ministry of Health) operated more like a terrorist organization than a legitimate health entity, and no rational company would have viewed MOH as a suitable object for charity.”

Back in 2007, the global intelligence company Stratfor reported that U.S. led forces in Iraq had arrested the deputy health minister after he was accused of “selling health services and equipment in return for millions of dollars that he later funneled to Shiite militias.”

Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time that global brands have engaged in backdoor deals and shady transactions in exchange for special privileges from and relationships with politicians and lawmakers. In August, for example, Lee Jae-yong of Samsung was sentenced to five years in prison after it was revealed that he had paid almost $8 million in bribes to win over the support of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the midst of ongoing corporate negotiations. In 2012, Walmart was accused of sending millions of dollars to the Mexican government in hopes of speeding up construction of their stores there, an issue that the company is still dealing with to this day.

Indeed, while these allegations against these pharmaceutical companies are certainly serious and warrant further investigation, it would be inaccurate to say that this sort of thing is rare and uncommon.

Attorneys working for law firms of Sparacino & Andreson and Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick stated that they have spent thousands of hours so far reviewing transactions that were made between the pharmaceutical companies in question and the Iraqi Ministry of Health between the years 2004 and 2013.

Ami Neiberger-Miller, whose 22-year-old brother was killed in a roadside bomb allegedly planted by the Mahdi Army in Baghdad back in 2007, explained that she wants the companies to be held accountable for providing them with financial aid. “I had always pictured my brother’s killers as faceless,” she said. “I wouldn’t have thought U.S. companies would have anything to do with his death. Those funds went directly from those companies to terrorists who had a mission to kill U.S. troops like my brother. They should be held accountable. Companies should know what is done in their name.” (Related: The US government admits that Agent Orange that was sprayed on GMO farms poisoned troops.)

Whether its U.S. corporations sending money to terrorists in Iraq, or even the disastrous and poorly run Department of Veterans Affairs, something needs to be done to improve the way veterans and military individuals are treated in this country. It’s sad, but far too often these brave men and women don’t receive the amount of respect and care that they deserve, and if U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies really did put our troops in danger for money, then it really is a sad day in America.

Sources include:
NaturalNews.com
USAToday.com
NYTimes.com


 

Big Pharma Plays Every Dirty Trick in the Book to Transform Teens and Adults Into Opioid-Zombified Addicts

Prescription Drug AddictionOver a 40-year career, Philadelphia attorney Daniel Berger has obtained millions in settlements for investors and consumers hurt by a rogues’ gallery of corporate wrongdoers from Exxon to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. But when it comes to what America’s prescription drug makers have done to drive one of the ghastliest addiction crises in the country’s history, he confesses amazement.

“I used to think that there was nothing more reprehensible than what the tobacco industry did in suppressing what it knew about the adverse effects of an addictive and dangerous product,” says Berger. “But I was wrong. The drug makers are worse than Big Tobacco.”

The U.S. prescription drug industry has opened a new frontier in public havoc, manipulating markets and deceptively marketing opioid drugs that are known to addict and even kill. It’s a national emergency that claims 90 lives per day. Berger lays much of the blame at the feet of companies that have played every dirty trick imaginable to convince doctors to overprescribe medication that can transform both teens and adults into zombified junkies.

So how have they gotten away with it?

A Market for Lies

The prescription drug industry is a strange beast, born of perverse thinking about markets and economics, explains Berger. In a normal market, you shop around to find the best price and quality on something you want or need—a toaster, a new car. Businesses then compete to supply what you’re looking for. You’ve got choices: If the price is too high, you refuse to buy, or you wait until the market offers something better. It’s the supposed beauty of supply and demand.

But the prescription drug “market” operates nothing like that. Drug makers game the patent and regulatory systems to create monopolies over every single one of their products. Berger explains that when drug makers get patent approval for brand-name drugs, the patents create market exclusivity for those drugs, which protects them from competition from other brand drugs that treat the same condition as well as from generics. The manufacturers can now exploit their monopoly positions created by the patents by marketing their drugs for conditions for which they never got regulatory approval —and this dramatically increases sales. They can also charge very high prices because when you’re in pain or dying, you’ll pay virtually anything.

Using all these tricks, opioid manufacturers have been able to exploit the public and have created a whole new generation of desperate addicts. They monopolize their products and then, as Berger puts it, “market the hell out of them for unapproved and dangerous uses.”

Opioids are a drug class that includes opium derivatives like heroin (introduced by German drug maker Bayer in 1898), synthetics like fentanyl, and prescription painkillers like oxycodone (brand name: OxyContin). A number of factors are aggravating the addiction crisis: There has been a movement in medicine to treat pain more aggressively, while at the same time wide-ranging economic distress has generated a desire to escape a dismal reality. But a key driving force is doctors who have been wooed by Pharma marketing reps overprescribing for chronic pain.

“For the first time since the years after heroin was invented,” writes investigative journalist Sam Quinones in Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, “the root of the scourge was not some street gang or drug mafia but doctors and drug companies.”

Doctors were once reluctant to write prescriptions for opioids. The U.S. drug regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, would only approve such drugs for severe cases like cancer patients in chronic agony or certain people in short-term pain after, say, an operation. But representatives of Connecticut-based drug maker Purdue, which released OxyContin in 1996, along with other companies, began to flood doctors’ offices with reports asserting that using the drug for off-label purposes was harmless. Often the targets were primary care physicians with little training in addiction. Have a chronic arthritis case? Give your patient OxyContin. Tell folks to take it every day, for weeks, even years, to treat just about any kind of chronic pain. The upshot was dependence, typically not because people were getting high for fun, but because they were using a legal drug in precisely the way the doctor ordered.

Purdue and others whisked doctors to stylish retreats to push them to prescribe drugs for uses not approved by U.S. regulators—a marketing strategy banned by federal law. They even created fake grassroots organizations to make it seem as though patients were demanding more prescriptions. Pharmaceutical companies like to dodge responsibility for the opioid crisis by blaming dishonest distributors and pointing out that they’re not the ones prescribing or handing out drugs to patients. True enough: They don’t need to, because they’ve done their work hooking you long before the drug is in your hands.

“The marketing is not only fraudulent; it’s incredibly elaborate,” says Berger. “Fake scientific studies promote the lie that opioids are better than other medications for pain. They’ve gone to just about any length. Bribery, you name it. It’s outrageous.”

OxyContin is so addictive it can create physical dependency in a matter of weeks. As drug makers and doctors who began to dole out pills by the handful in pain clinics learned, addicts do not behave like ordinary consumers: They don’t “choose” to buy or to wait until next week. They need their drug right away and will do anything to get it because if they don’t they will suffer excruciating symptoms.

Los Angeles Times report shows that among the lies Purdue spread about OxyContin was that one pill subdued pain for 12 hours. Except that for many patients it wears off much sooner, exposing them to unbearable pain and withdrawal. Purdue knew this, but feared lower sales if it admitted the truth. So sales reps advised doctors to just give stronger doses, which increased the addiction risk. As the money from hooked patients piled up, so did the bodies.

In 2007, Purdue pleaded guilty in federal court in Virginia to misleading doctors and patients about OxyContin’s safety and paid a $600 million fine. But that sum was hardly an annoyance. From 1995 to 2015, Purdue made $35 billion from OxyContin sales alone. The Sacklers, who own the company, is now one of the richest families in America, as revealed by this triumphant Forbes spread. They know that lax regulation keeps the heat off, and that even litigation and criminal prosecutions can do little to stop them. Berger says that until such legal programs are massive in scale and scope, companies will go on with business as usual.

“We have to have injunctive relief [a court order to stop a behavior] that bans the marketing to doctors of opioids completely for unapproved uses, as well as an expansion of the FDA and DEA to specifically target the drugs,” says Berger. His law firm, Berger & Montague, is involved in the effort to seek relief for the city of Philadelphia, which has seen above-average opioid prescribing and suffered the highest rates of fatal drug overdoses in the state last year.

Even though prescriptions have been slightly reduced across the country since 2012, Philadelphia is finding out what happens to many people hooked on opioids when they can’t get a prescription or find the price too high: They turn to heroin. Fatal overdoses of heroin, oxycodone’s close cousin, have been skyrocketing since 2007 across the country.

‘Landscapes of Despair’

The opium poppy has been part of human history since at least 3,400 BCE, when it was cultivated in Mesopotamia as the “joy plant.” Derivatives such as laudanum and morphine offered more convenient, and people wrongly believed, safer ways to get the plant’s benefits. Bayer originally touted heroin as a non-addictive substitute for morphine (even for children) until it was outlawed in the U.S. in 1925. Rendering it illegal did not stop it from destroying the lives of many of America’s most celebrated artists, from Billie Holiday to Philip Seymour Hoffman. Drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined. In 2015, nearly two-thirds of all overdoses had one thing in common: opioids.

Syracuse University’s Shannon Monnat, a sociologist focused on rural issues and an INET grantee, has been studying the epidemic and how it impacts various populations. Her research reveals that the rise in drug-induced deaths has been especially sharp among middle-aged people (45-55), with prescription opioid overdoses increasingly impacting both middle-aged and older populations. Heroin, whose sedating and euphoric effects are very similar to prescription narcotics, looks to be the culprit in more young adult overdoses.

Monnat considers how the opioid crisis points to bigger societal problems impacting the economy, educational institutions, the health care system, political systems, and communities. Her work centers on investigating the characteristics of what she calls “landscapes of despair”—places where people are hurting economically and socially, like Appalachia, the industrial Midwest and parts of New England. She points out that persistent disadvantage and long-term poverty are clearly connected to the opioid crisis, noting that many of the areas most impacted were once robust centers of manufacturing before jobs moved to other countries.

Opioid addiction seems to thrive in downwardly mobile small cities in rural areas—but not all of them. “What’s fascinating is that some of these areas have very high mortality rates from drug overdose, like Appalachia,” say Monnat. “But others, like the Southern ‘Black Belt’ [a region that stretches across Alabama and Mississippi], have not seen such rises.”

Originally named for its rich, dark, soil, which attracted cotton planters in the 19th century, the Black Belt has a high population of African Americans. The area has a history of unremitting poverty, low incomes, high unemployment, and high mortality. Yet despite many hardships, which are linked to the legacy of slavery, Monnat says that the region is also distinct for its “very tight-knit communities, strong kinship networks, and other networks where people can find emotional support.” It seems that when people have somewhere to turn in hard times, they may build up immunity to an epidemic like the opioid scourge.

Ironically, another factor that may have protected these communities, discussed by Quinones in Dreamland, is prejudice: The low-profile heroin dealers originating from Mexico’s west coast who are associated with the current opioid scourge prefer to target white communities. They also avoid big cities where large cartels are already established. So small, predominately white towns are their sweet spot.

Appalachia is known for kinship networks, but it also has a legacy of isolation and an outlaw tradition associated with the history of moonshining and bootlegging which can feed into today’s underground selling and distribution of opioid drugs. In this region, much of the struggling white working-class has seen economic distress with little hope of relief from America’s political system. Democrats often openly disdain the people they call rednecks and hillbillies, while concentrating on identity politics rather than economic distress. Republicans promote policies of free trade and deregulation that cast the region further into destitution.

Monnat has found that counties with large numbers of people employed in physical labor—especially physical occupations with higher disability rates—have higher drug fatalities. These are places where coal miners work in backbreaking positions and military veterans suffer the pain of injuries. Drug companies have besieged these areas with aggressive marketing of pain pills. “In Appalachia, you’d see mining companies with physicians on staff prescribing opioids to keep people in pain working,” she says. “That was happening before OxyContin, but companies like Purdue targeted these communities to push OxyContin as a safer alternative to other pain medications.”

The National Institutes of Health report that the opioid epidemic, which started as a regional crisis, is now a national crisis, decimating communities and even helping to reshape the American political landscape. Monnat finds a relationship between the landscapes of despair and the 2016 presidential election. Voting patterns show that areas in which President Trump did better than expected, like Pennsylvania and Ohio, were also places where opioid overdoses and deaths from alcohol and suicide occurred at high rates over the past decade.

During his campaign, Trump expressed concern for people in regions like Appalachia and flung stinging barbs at the politicians who had failed them. These voters supported him in high numbers, yet his policies will likely give more power to the pharmaceutical companies that have turned their suffering into stock windfalls.

Profit Trumps People

Trump the campaigner shook his fist at Big Pharma for “getting away with murder”—one of those statements that occasionally drops from his lips with atomic accuracy. But Trump the president has done an about-face. As journalist David Dayen pointed out, a draft of an executive order on drug prices (which never materialized) called for deregulation of the FDA and favors to industry. It was written by a pharmaceutical lobbyist.

In March, President Trump issued an executive order creating a commission to study drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. The commission, headed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has so far released recommendations that locate the overprescribing problem “in doctor’s offices and hospitals in every state in our nation,” while making nary a mention of pharmaceutical marketing departments. The panel suggests insufficient remedies like new treatment facilities and educating schoolchildren on the dangers of opioids, along with ineffective ideas like more funds to Homeland Security. Regulation of Big Pharma? Nope.

The federal government did announce it would team up with drug makers to research and generate non-opioid pain medications and additional medication-assisted treatment options. Among the participants? Purdue.

Economist William Lazonick of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and an INET grantee, agrees with Berger that the way the pharmaceutical industry operates amounts to a catastrophe for the public. “It’s crazy that each and every drug is not treated like a regulated monopoly,” he says. “Taxpayers fund much of the research that goes into creating these drugs through the NIH and other public research facilities. Moreover, the companies are gifted with a monopoly through patents which last two decades.”

Lazonick notes that Big Pharma claims it needs high profits to keep inventing new drugs, but the industry spends more of its profits buying back its own stock than increasing investment in R&D on new drugs. Executives running drug companies are incentivized to make profits any way they can because they are rewarded by high stock prices. Lazonick explains that they stoke those stock prices by gouging patients or lying about the safety of products—whatever it takes.

He observes that for the past several decades America has undergone a devastating experiment based on the philosophy of economist Milton Friedman, who claimed that the only social responsibility of a company is to make a profit. Untimely deaths from tobacco-related illnesses, auto safety failures, and now, harmful opioid drugs, prove that the experiment is a tragic failure.

Lazonick sees the need for nothing less than a new structure of corporate governance that ensures the ethical responsibly of drug makers to do what they are supposed to do: create high-quality, low-cost products that are safe. The current structure, based on the misguided idea that companies should be run for the sole purpose of enriching shareholders, is particularly perverse when it comes to products that are potentially fatal. The problem with this model is that when shareholders are the only people who matter, the rest of us suffer.

Since taxpayers support pharmaceutical companies by funding public research and many other things they require to do business, Lazonick says it is only fair and logical that someone representing the public sits on their boards. Berger adds that companies should be required to make drugs widely available at affordable prices in return for their use of publicly funded basic research at no cost whatsoever.

America, for the time being, stands out among nations in letting pharmaceutical companies run amok to inflate drug prices, advertise and market drugs without proper regulation, and use taxpayer resources while exposing them to egregious harm. “The only thing America’s drug companies are competitive about,” says Lazonick, “is getting people addicted.”

ARTICLE SOURCE




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America Is DRUGGED OUT On Opioids, Alcohol And Prescription Medications… Is SANITY Long Lost?

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shocking scientific study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that 38% of Americans were prescribed addictive opioid painkillers in 2015. In addition, 1 in 8 Americans are said to be active alcoholics. With millions more Americans on psychiatric drugs, antidepressants, statin drugs and chemotherapy, it’s no exaggeration to say that America is a drugged-out nation. (Click here for original study from Annals.org)

“It’s a zombie nation,” I explain in the video below. A whopping 5% of American adults are currently abusing prescription opioids and 1% of American adults are chemically addicted to opioids.

According to the CDC, opioid drugs are now killing 33,000 Americans. This is a war on America, all conducted in the name of Big Pharma profits and the mass chemical intoxication of the masses. (Read DangerousMedicine.com for more news.)

It’s no coincidence, either, that a mass drugged-out population loses its ability to reason, making it highly vulnerable to fake news from the lying mainstream media, which now seems determined to destroy reason, vilify rationality and overthrow the Republic.

Learn the truth about the mass fatalities caused by toxic drugs at PharmaDeathClock.com:

Watch my studio news video to learn more:

Sources include:

Opioids.news

http://annals.org/aim/article/2646632/prescription-opioid-use-misuse-use-disorders-u-s-adults-2015

THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC NOW REACHES NEW HEIGHTS! PROTECT YOURSELF!

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A comprehensive study validates the impact opioid abuse has on our country, with results suggesting that from 2009 to 2015, overdose-related ICU admissions increased by 34 percent and the cost per ICU admission rose by 58 percent. During the same period, the number of opioid deaths within the ICU nearly doubled. Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center warn that their study implies a health crisis. Dr. Jennifer P. Stevens, the lead author, wrote that the review “tells [the public] that the opioid epidemic has made people sicker and killed more people, in spite of all the care we can provide in the ICU, including mechanical ventilation, acute dialysis, life support and round-the-clock care.”

Data from the study, which will be published ahead of print in Annals of the American Thoracic Society, are believed to be the first in the country to quantify how opioid abuse affects acute care services. Dr. Stevens and her team say that given the current trend, critical care services may not be able to meet the growing demand in the near future.

Over the course of seven years, the team analyzed more than 23 million hospital admissions of adult patients in around 162 hospitals across 44 states. Of the four million patients who required acute care, 21,705 patients were admitted due to an opioid overdose. Cross-analyzing the data even further, the researchers found that opioid-related ICU admissions increased by approximately half a percent each year. Researchers also noted that apart from the growth in number, patients who were admitted to the ICU required increasingly intensive care, which included more treatments of dialysis or other forms of high-cost renal replacement therapy. Moreover, the mortality rates of these patients also rose every year.

These findings have a worrying ramification in the medical industry. While more people are becoming addicted to opioids, hospitals and other health facilities appear to be unable to expand their prevention and treatment plans to treat this epidemic.

The authors also placed a disclaimer that their methodology limits the true scope of the health crisis. Their data came from mostly academic medical centers and were not reflective of opioid addiction in other settings. As such, it is reasonable to assume that overdose admissions in acute care may actually be higher. This study also did not take into account ICU admissions caused by complications related to drug use.

“The pace of the opioid epidemic continues to increase,” warned Dr. Stevens. “Those of us who work in hospital intensive care units need to make sure we have the tools we need to help patients with opioid use disorders when they are at their sickest, because there doesn’t appear to be any end to this epidemic in sight.” (Related: The United States has crossed the pandemic threshold in the opioid epidemic…and Big Pharma keeps cashing in.)

Opioid addiction in America

Heroin remains the number one opioid that is abused in our country. However, health professionals are noting that pain medications are quickly becoming a contender. Statistics show that three out of four people who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from a friend or family member. More troubling, 80 percent of prescription painkillers are given by 20 percent of prescribers, according to Addictions.com.

There is also evidence that suggests that many medical doctors over-prescribe their patients, or hand out prescriptions without first determining if the patient truly needed it. This works both ways as well. Previous data shows that more than 12 million Americans reported using prescription pain medication for non-medical purposes in 2010. This may be a contributing factor as to why the number of overdose deaths from pain medications has increased by more than 300 percent since 1999.

Follow more news on the opioid epidemic at Opioids.news.

Sources include:

NaturalNews.com

ScienceDaily.com

ConsumerAffairs.com

ATSJournals.org

Addictions.com

HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS VIEW ADDICTION? Do They?

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The word addiction has two basic meanings. The first definition, and the one most of us are familiar with is “to cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance.” Those who are addicted or “given to much wine” (Titus 1:72:3), “drunkards” (1 Timothy 3:3) or “heavy drinkers” (1 Timothy 3:8) are disqualified from teaching or holding a position of authority in the church. It’s clear that church leadership needs to be sober and self-controlled so that, by their example, they can teach others to be the same, for we know that “drunkards . . . shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:10). Believers must not be dependent upon alcohol, and it stands to reason that this would also apply to addiction to any other substance, i.e. drugs, pornography, gambling, gluttony, tobacco, etc.

The second definition of addiction is “to occupy (oneself) with or involve (oneself) in something habitually or compulsively.” This speaks of an unnatural (for the Christian, at least) obsession with anything other than God: sports, work, shopping and/or acquiring “stuff,” even family or children. We are to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), which is, according to Jesus, the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38). We can conclude, then, that an addiction to anything other than God Himself is wrong. God is the only thing we can (and should) occupy ourselves with habitually. To do so with anything else draws us away from Him and displeases Him. He alone is worthy of our complete attention, love, and service. To offer these things to anything or anyone else is idolatry.

Whether it’s prescription drugs, illegal street drugs, alcohol, or some behavioral addiction, in order to make it to Heaven, you need to repent and get help.  Staying with your addiction will cause you to miss an eternity with Jesus that is beyond our imagination. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Bible clearly says that “Drunkards” (those who are involved in any substance addiction) and “Idolators” (people who refuse to get help) don’t make it.  I’m by no means telling you that getting off of drugs is easy; it’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.  I know, because I did it over 10 years ago.  Like everything, it’s a choice.  PLEASE choose wisely.  Eternity is forever!  So, what sounds like an insulting or stern warning, is actually an act of ultimate love from me.

Article Sources:  GotQuestions.org and NationalAddictionNews.com