While they could have gone even further, Senators Markey and Paul, and Representatives Norcross and Bacon deserve praise for stepping outside the box to address opioid addiction and overdoses.
Cato Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Jeffrey Singer (also a member of the ACSH Scientific Advisory Board) has written a powerful piece about the inability of policymakers to realize that their plan to reduce drug overdose deaths is wrong on every level.
A critically important paper in the journal Frontiers in Pain Medicine concludes that while the rationale for reducing opioid prescriptions to minimize overdose deaths was sound between 2006-2010, during the ensuing decade the opposite was true. Reducing opioid prescriptions during this time dramatically increased deaths and hospitalizations. In other words, what worked 15 years ago is an unmitigated disaster at this time.
There are hundreds of pain-patient advocates constantly fighting to overturn the cruel and misguided policies of withholding power pain medications from those truly in need. But it would be difficult (perhaps impossible) to find one who's dedicated his career to advocating for pain patients, now for a quarter of a century. An interview with Dr. Richard "Red" Lawhern, an ACSH advisor.
Upon first glance, the revision of the atrocious 2016 CDC opioid prescribing guidelines would seem to be an improvement – a low bar by any measure. But it doesn't take long to see that the 2022 version still leaves much to be desired.
Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and ACSH advisor, was asked to submit a statement to the Subcommittee on Health of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which was holding hearings on substance use (and misuse) in the US. Dr. Singer emphasized that illicit fentanyl, not prescription opioids, is responsible for the surge in overdose deaths.
Did you honestly believe that the CDC announcement six months ago – of a 4.1% decline in drug overdoses in 2018 – was a sign of progress in the so-called war on drugs? Of course, it was nothing of the sort. Just an exercise in tweaking numbers. ACSH advisor Dr. Jeff Singer tells us the real story.
Ontario may be cold, but the same cannot be said of its chief medical officer. Let's hear it for Dr. Nancy Whitmore, the head of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. She has the ethics and the courage to make changes in policy that should have never been in place to begin with. Barbaric forced tapering will no longer be permitted, and doctors and patients will make treatment plans together. The U.S. should be looking north.
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.