opioid crisis

As winter rolls into spring, we here at ACSH are springing ahead with our pro-science agenda. (Did you see what we did there?) From Fox Business to the Financial Times, here are the places we appeared in recent days.
Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol, have some 'splaining to do. It would seem as if the company is using some unsavory marketing tactics to boost sales of its product. How so? For starters, the company has informed us that Tylenol is not an opioid. Who knew? What's the reason behind this odd claim? Better keep reading.
An ordinary (or worse) study sets out to rehash the same nonsense about how deadly prescription opioids are. In addition, it ends up botching the conclusion to appear that it's contradicting itself. This is seriously strange.
The New York Times objectively reports on how the news media, politicians and science were wrong about "crack baby" epidemic. But they never apologize to their readers or accept responsibility.
The Oregon Democrat recently wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, claiming that his Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, formed in 2016, was corrupted by big pharma money. The task force was charged with reforming the CDC's disastrous 2016 opioid guidelines. Sen. Wyden claims that two respected physicians in the group had conflicts of interest. Instead, perhaps it's time for the lawmaker to look in the mirror.
The DEA, an arm of the Department of Justice, released a 184-page report claiming that prescription opioid analgesics is the drug class that's killing the most Americans. Huh? This sure seems strange. But a closer look suggests that the only thing strange is the manner in which that data is used in the report. The DEA spins and wins. Pain patients lose.
A group of academics, bureaucrats and self-appointed addiction experts put their collective heads together and their collective noses where they didn't belong. They produced the 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, an abysmal failure. Here are what's wrong with it and some ways to undo the damage.
In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. That's a staggering number -- almost double the number of car crash fatalities and nearly quadruple the number of homicides. Most drug overdoses involved some type of opioid. The dominant media narrative is that unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies and careless doctors are to blame. But this is only one part of a multifaceted problem, and a rather skewed perspective at that. The reality is that recreational drug users are driving the crisis, not pain patients. To understand how we arrive at that conclusion, a brief history of the opioid crisis is in order.
First fallacy: the mere existence of an opioid pill is why there is a crisis. Finding solutions requires proper identification of a problem. The time is now for the public narrative to follow suit.
Keith Humphreys, a psychologist, writes about opioids for The Washington Post. But he has an unusual take on the matter. Does Humphreys know what he's talking about? Let's see. 
Can the FDA's tactics – to impact the current opioid problem – also predict its successor? The goal is to head off escalation before problems are crises, and the move is a departure from the status-quo, reactive nature of prior policies.
Shaming and blaming isn't part of improving patient safety or resolving the opioid crisis. Healthcare workers and Congress frequently blame others and rarely take personal responsibility, and that's not a culture that fosters reflection and meaningful improvement.