oxycontin

President Trump has convened a panel to address America's opioid epidemic. Its first mission should be to find convincing data to identify the actual cause(s) of the problem. That will be much harder than it sounds, since ideologues are always in plentiful supply.

Indeed, many influential people already seem to have a strong opinion about who is to blame. Claire McCaskill, a Senator from Missouri, points her finger at pharmaceutical companies. She is launching an investigation, but there is little need for one, given that she has already told us what its conclusions are ahead of time: 

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The overdose epidemic sweeping the nation is hitting some demographics harder than others. New data released by the CDC breaks down heroin overdose deaths by age.

As shown below, heroin overdose deaths began to skyrocket in 2010. Of all groups, older Millennials (i.e., individuals aged 25-34) are the likeliest to die from a heroin overdose. In 2015, the mortality rate from a heroin overdose was 9.7 per 100,000 for this group, which is more than quadruple the rate in 2010 (which was 2.2 per 100,000). 

 

This is a very shocking development. The overall mortality rate for Americans aged 25-34 is 108.4 per 100,000. That means more than one out of...

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 1.08.22 PMLast month, I took issue with Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin over his dogmatic (and undoubtedly political) stance regarding the FDA's decision to approve a children's version of the powerful narcotic, OxyContin.

Shumlin framed the issue as just another means of adding to the enormous narcotic addiction problem in the United States.

However, he neglected to mention that OxyContin is already being given to children suffering from severe pain but without FDA guidance...

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 3.33.37 PMIt is hardly news that the US is plagued by an enormous narcotic addiction problem. Nor is it news that the so-called war on drugs has been an abysmal failure since its inception.

Thanks to new technology, there is, at least, a reasonable method that could minimize opioid (aka opiate) abuse arguably the most serious problem at this time. (Methamphetamine, aka meth abuse is probably comparable.)

However, with drug abuse, nothing is simple. And nothing demonstrates this better than the OxyContin story. The drug a high dose, slow release formulation of oxycodone (the...

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 2.34.40 PMOne of our (many) pet peeves at ACSH is that not only does the press publish results of junk science as if they were undeniably true, but they also frequently write headlines that contradict the already-dubious results of whatever study they may be covering.

The latest example of this involves a ubiquitous news story as of late opiate addiction and abuse in the U.S. This is a pervasive and serious problem that has claimed and ruined many lives. Yet, the clever science that succeeded in diminishing this problem is mostly portrayed as a failure. It is not.

A...

Dr. Josh Bloom on Science 2.0, March 3, 2015

I never know what I'm going to find on the editorial pages of the New York Times. Sometimes I agree with them, and sometimes I don't. But, they usually, at the very least, make sense.

That streak ended on March 2nd, when the Times printed an editorial titled "Painkillers Abuses and Ignorance." The paper really dropped the ball on this one. After reading it, I was left wondering whose ignorance...[Read more].

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 1.16.49 PMIf you are suffering from moderate-to-severe pain, you can add one more worry to your list the real possibility is that you will not be able to get effective pain-relieving drugs without considerable effort. And maybe not at all.

It is clear that there is a serious problem with narcotic addiction in the U.S. Virtually no one disagrees with this. But when it comes time to do something about it (assuming this is even possible), opinions differ widely.

And ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, whose recent...

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.26.09 PMWhat on earth is going on over at the FDA?

Recently, they have been facing some very difficult issues regarding narcotic pain medications. In particular, as pointed out by ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom in his December 2nd op-ed in The New York Post, they just enacted a rule change that, ostensibly in the interest of combating drug abuse, will make it much more difficult for patients with legitimate need for drugs to...

78425259Opiate drugs are widely used, and very effective, for pain relief. They are also the drugs of choice for many addicts. They carry a real risk, however, of death from overdose (OD). As we reported a couple of years ago, this is not a rare occurrence: According to the CDC, in both 2009 and 2010, over 37,000 people died of drug ODs: an astounding toll of 100 American OD deaths every day (on average).

In the same article, we...