Blog Voices from the Frontlines
In an attempt to reduce opioid use amid a nationwide abuse epidemic, insurance giant Cigna will no longer cover most OxyContin prescriptions in its group plans beginning January 1. "Our focus is on helping customers get the most value from their medications -- this means obtaining effective pain relief while also guarding against opioid misuse," Cigna Chief Pharmacy Officer Jon Maesner said in a statement Wednesday.
Former Pain Doc: 'If Opiates Didn’t Cause Tolerance, We Wouldn't Be Here' - Americans for Safe Access
Dr. Bobby Dey, a retired physician and pain management specialist, says that no one is at fault for America’s epidemic of opioid dependence and overdose—but that it had more to do with the nature of prescription painkillers themselves.
Drug, once rare, are now the in the U.S., surpassing peak annual deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, guns and HIV infection. The data show that the situation is dire and getting worse. Until opioids are prescribed more cautiously and until effective opioid addiction treatment becomes easier to access, overdose deaths will likely remain at record high levels.
As seen with many medical conditions relating to treatment with marijuana, research into the benefits of the herb’s uses concerning rheumatism is still in its infancy. However, there have been a few rather interesting studies to date.
By Gillian Mohney for Healthline
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has introduced a bill to relax medical marijuana research regulations.
“On the one hand, it’s a political victory. I think having a bill that even touches on the subject from Orrin Hatch is considered a win, but on the other hand, we’re of the mind the research is there, the research is done.[Medical marijuana] programs have been around for 20 years. A research bill was more appropriate in the late 1990s and early 2000s.” - David Mangone, JD
Trump: Declare a National Emergency so states can use cannabis to fight opioid overdoses. - Americans for Safe Access
Opioids claim the lives of 91 individuals every day. With nearly 60,000 overdose deaths in 2016, 60% of which were related to prescription opioids, it is clear that there is a major public health crisis in our country. That is why we are launching our End Pain Not Lives campaign.
Dr. 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.
The Effects of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries on Adverse Opioid Outcomes - Americans for Safe Access
This 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.
This 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.
I 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.