Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Sep 252017

The Collateral Damage of the Opioid Controversy

nationalpainreport.pngDr. Nagel, who wrote an excellent book on chronic pain called Needless Suffering; How Society Fails Those With Chronic Pain, has been speaking on the issue since his book came out. I shared with him what feels like an intensifying anger and parallel hopelessness that has set in among some of our readers and presumably among many more chronic pain patients.

Read More

Sep 252017

The Effects of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries on Adverse Opioid Outcomes - Americans for Safe Access

ssrn-logo.pngThis paper uses a unique marijuana dispensary dataset to exploit within- and across-state variation in dispensary openings to estimate the effect increased access to marijuana has on narcotic-related admissions to treatment facilities and drug-induced mortalities. I find that core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) with dispensary openings experience a 20 percentage point relative decrease in painkiller treatment admissions over the first two years of dispensary operations. 

Read More

Sep 222017

Working to Influence Global Policy on Cannabidiol (CBD) - Americans for Safe Access

World Health LogoThis week, we submitted comments relating to the efficacy and medical usefulness of cannabidiol as a medical treatment. In August, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice in the federal register asking for public comments on cannabidiol (CBD) and 16 other substances prior to a meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) that will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from November 6-November 10. The FDA will consider the comments on these substances in creating a response to WHO which will determine what, if any, international restrictions will be placed on the listed substances.

Sep 222017

No, Simply Touching Fentanyl Can't Kill You

reason.pngI thought it might be useful for other reporters, and people who are simply concerned and/or curious about fentanyl, to figure out which oft-reported claims are true, partially true, or flat out wrong. So I got in touch with the Stanford anesthesiologist Steven Shafer, an expert in the pharmacology of pain medicine. I've edited our exchange for length and clarity.

Read More

Sep 212017

NAM special publication on how health clinicians can counter opioid epidemic

screenshot-www.eurekalert.org-2017-07-12-12-58-20.pngHalting the opioid epidemic requires aggressive action across multiple dimensions, including informed, active, and determined front-line leadership from health clinicians working in every setting throughout the nation, says a new National Academy of Medicine (NAM) special publication developed at the request of the National Governors Association to assist the nation's governors as they work with clinicians to counter the opioid crisis.

Read More

Sep 202017

Councilmember David Grosso Sets Example for Local Leadership in Opioid Crisis - Americans for Safe Access

David_Grosso_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key.jpgWashington D.C. — District of Columbia Councilmember David Grosso introduced improvements to the nation’s capitol’s medical cannabis program yesterday, recognizing the power of cannabis to fight the opioid crisis. The Medical Marijuana Improvement Amendment Act of 2017 reduces major barriers that previously existed in D.C.’s medical cannabis program. Councilmember Grosso is joined by Councilmembers Vincent Grey, Robert White, Jr., and Brianne Nadeau in introducing this important bill.

The legislation, which shares components of model legislation drafted by Americans for Safe Access, increases access to medical cannabis for the residents of the District of Columbia - particularly those who struggle with chronic pain. Significantly, it allows a patient to receive cannabis on the same day a patient is issued a doctor’s recommendation, like any other medicine, and allows for delivery of medical cannabis. It also allows a patient without a primary care physician to self-certify a medical condition through a signed affidavit. Low income patients who struggle to pay for doctor's visits will particularly benefit from these provisions.

Sep 192017

Women and Opioids: Inside the Deadliest Drug Epidemic in American History

Glamour-Logo.svgThirty-one women will lose their lives to opioids today. This special report details how the crisis is impacting all of us—and what it will take to end it.

Read More

Sep 192017

37 state AGs call on insurance industry to prioritize non-opioid pain meds: 3 things to know

hospital-logo.pngAttorneys general from 37 states are urging insurers to alter their coverage policies to prioritize non-opioid pain medications over opioids for the treatment of chronic pain not related to cancer.

Read More

Sep 192017

We must tackle opioid problem before it leads to an AIDS epidemic

thehill-logo-big.pngA stitch in time saves nine. This may not be the reality we want or a society we court but we are in a crisis mode as far as opioids use is concerned. How did we get here? Who is to blame? Could it be our government or the physicians prescribing opioids? Some have argued culpability for civil society and of course who would forget the drug companies?

Read More

Sep 182017

ASA Activist Profile: Valencia Elliott, Westchester, New York - Americans for Safe Access

unnamed.jpgValencia Elliott grew up in what she calls a tough part of the country where she’d regularly smell cannabis being smoked, but she never had any interest in it. That changed late in life when her husband, an Army veteran who’d been exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, confided he had cancer. Worse, he’d been hiding a prostate cancer diagnosis for a year, and by the time he told her, he also had two other types of cancer. That was June 3, 2015, but the nightmare had already started. She didn’t know what was wrong, but they were already going back and forth to the hospital with complaints about his pain.