In the News

The opioid epidemic, explained

Posted by · October 12, 2017 10:43 AM

vox.pngIf nothing is done, we can expect a lot of people to die: A forecast by STAT concluded that as many as 650,000 people will die over the next 10 years from opioid overdoses — more than the entire city of Baltimore. The US risks losing the equivalent of a whole American city in just one decade.

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Medical marijuana patients report reduction in use of prescription drugs

Posted by · October 10, 2017 3:21 PM

chicago-tribune.jpgSome medical marijuana patients in Illinois say the drug has allowed them to reduce or eliminate their use of other prescription medication, a new study reports. The study by DePaul and Rush universities was small, with 30 participants, and involved only those who volunteered to respond to the topic, so researchers conceded the results might be biased in favor of marijuana. But it's believed to be the first peer-reviewed, published research of medical marijuana patients in Illinois.

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Cigna to stop covering most OxyContin prescriptions

Posted by · October 06, 2017 11:59 AM

cnn.pngIn 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.

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The opioid epidemic in 6 charts

Posted by · October 06, 2017 11:15 AM

CBS_new.pngDrug overdose deaths, once rare, are now the leading cause of accidental death 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.

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Medical Marijuana May Treat Rheumatism Better Than Opioids

Posted by · October 02, 2017 12:37 PM

the_fresh_toast.pngAs 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. 

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No, Simply Touching Fentanyl Can't Kill You

Posted by · September 22, 2017 4:06 PM

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.

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NAM special publication on how health clinicians can counter opioid epidemic

Posted by · September 21, 2017 12:24 PM

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.

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

Posted by · September 19, 2017 3:10 PM

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?

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Cannabis and chronic pain

Posted by · September 14, 2017 12:56 PM

Boulder_Weekly_Logo.jpgWe are a nation in pain. The exact numbers are a matter of (contentious) debate, but somewhere between 11 and 30 percent of us are in chronic pain. Our backs hurt and our joints ache, we have irritable bowel syndrome and we get migraines on the regular.

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Poor Pain Management Can Lead To Veteran Suicide

Posted by · September 13, 2017 11:32 AM

texas_public_radio.jpgThe Department of Veterans Affairs is taking steps to remedy the problem of suicide in the veteran community. Dr. Nicole Braida is the Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health at the South Texas VA. She says that over-prescription and misuse of opioid medication has created problems for the veteran community, leading to suicides and premature deaths. 

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The Secret To Treating Chronic Pain With Cannabis

Posted by · September 13, 2017 11:19 AM

the_fresh_toast.pngAt the recent Cannabis Science Conference, a “Docs and the Jocks” panel explored the role of cannabis in treating sports related injuries. Former NFL players Marvin Washington and Jim McMahon spoke about the stigma that remains present in the NFL towards those players who wish to treat their chronic pain with cannabis.

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Why Are Opioid Painkillers Legal But Marijuana Isn't?

Posted by · September 12, 2017 11:26 AM

images.pngThere is a bottom line people lose sight of when discussing the opioid crisis sweeping the country: Millions of Americans experience chronic pain every day. They need help, and painkillers created using opioids are highly effective.

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Study finds legal cannabis may reduce use of dangerous prescription drugs

Posted by · September 08, 2017 4:32 PM

univ_of_nm.png“The potential for addiction and health risks associated with using multiple scheduled drugs places additional direct monetary and health costs on patients and healthcare systems due to an increased number of side effects, risky drug interactions, dependency, and overdose” stated University of New Mexico researchers Jacob Miguel Vigil and Sarah See Stith, of a new study titled, Effects of Legal Access to Cannabis on Scheduled II-V Drug Prescriptions, which will be soon released in an upcoming issue of the Journal of American Medical Directors Association.

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The stunning prevalence of painkiller use among unemployed men

Posted by · September 07, 2017 11:53 AM

2000px-The_Logo_of_The_Washington_Post_Newspaper.svg.pngThe Princeton economist Alan Krueger started with a question: What’s keeping young people out of work? Over the last two decades, the share of employed Americans in their prime has steadily tumbled — even as the economy recovered and businesses nationwide struggled to fill openings. In a new paper, Krueger argues that opioids pose more than just a health threat: They’re benching workers across the country.

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Big Pharma Is Developing Cannabis-Based Painkillers

Posted by · September 06, 2017 4:24 PM

the_fresh_toast.pngThe success that medical cannabis has seen in the past five years has prompted researchers and scientists to dive deep into the plant’s medicinal properties and uses, one of the most important being the aid that cannabis can provide for victims of opioid addiction and chronic pain. 

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One in 12 doctors accepts payment from pharmaceutical companies related to opioids

Posted by · September 05, 2017 11:59 AM

worldpharmanews.pngOne in twelve physicians - and nearly one in five family medicine physicians - accepted payments from pharmaceutical companies related to opioids, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine. This is the first large-scale, national study of industry payments involving opioids and suggests that pharmaceutical companies may have a stronger hold than previously known on how doctors prescribe the powerful drugs. 

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Letter: Medical cannabis can be a lifeline for those suffering from severe pain

Posted by · August 27, 2017 4:17 PM

chicago_tribune.pngOur nation’s addiction to opioids has been building for 10 years and Illinois’ failed medical cannabis policies compound this problem, putting our patients at a dangerous and potentially deadly disadvantage. The Tribune reported on President Donald Trump’s declaration labeling the opioid epidemic a national emergency. As a seasoned orthopedic surgeon, I can attest to the devastating effects opioid dependency has on my patients, their families and friends, and our society as a whole. It is a critical public safety issue that must be addressed immediately.

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Can Medical Marijuana Alleviate the Opioid Crisis?

Posted by · August 17, 2017 3:23 PM

InternationalPolicyDigest-Logo.pngOn Thursday, August 10th, President Donald Trump told reporters that “the opioid crisis is an emergency…a national emergency.” President Trump is correct: the United States is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. From 1999-2015, over 183,000 Americans died from prescription-opioid overdoses. More worrisome than the total number of overdoses is that opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999, resulting in 33,091 deaths in 2015, with 16,000 alone from prescription opioid pain relievers.

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Is Marijuana the Answer to the Opioid Epidemic?

Posted by · August 14, 2017 3:48 PM

healthline.pngCan marijuana save the day? Not yet. But Americans in pain are already turning to the marijuana plant.

The hope: One day you’ll have a choice of varieties or formulations of compounds in marijuana — called “cannabinoids” — that bring relief, aren’t addictive, and leave your mind clear.

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Treatment center using medical marijuana to treat opioid addicts

Posted by · August 11, 2017 3:52 PM

fox_5_dc.jpegAs President Donald Trump declares the nation’s opioid epidemic a national emergency, there are still many questions about how to tackle the problem in a meaningful and long-lasting manner. One advocate for treating addiction, Joe Schrank, believes the answer lies in legalized medicinal marijuana. Schrank has detailed efforts to use cannabis as a conduit to wean addicts from using of harmful opioids as part of High Sobriety, a California-based treatment program.

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How Medical Cannabis Might Be A Silver Bullet For Neuropathy

Posted by · August 09, 2017 4:13 PM

the_fresh_toast.pngNeuropathy is a generalized term which signifies exhibited symptoms of nerve damage in human beings—neuropathic pain is one of these symptoms. Neuropathy pain arises from a wide variety of sources that all stem from nerve injury, including: “diabetes mellitus…infections, alcoholism, traumatic injuries, autoimmune diseases, medications, infections, tumors, and inherited disorders”.

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Opioid tapering may improve outcomes for chronic pain sufferers

Posted by · July 12, 2017 1:04 PM

screenshot-www.eurekalert.org-2017-07-12-12-58-20.pngDose reduction may improve pain, function, and quality of life for patients prescribed long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain. Results of a systematic evidence review are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Approximately 10 million U.S. adults are prescribed long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain. This dramatic increase in opioid prescribing has been accompanied by increases in opioid overdose. Expert guidelines recommend reducing or discontinuing long-term opioid therapy when risks outweigh the benefits, but evidence on the effects of dose reduction on patient outcomes had not been systematically reviewed.

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Science Calls Out Jeff Sessions on Medical Marijuana and the "Historic Drug Epidemic"

Posted by · June 14, 2017 3:38 PM

SCIENTIFIC-AMERICAN.pngAmid a drug crisis that kills 91 people in the U.S. each day, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congress to help roll back protections that have shielded medical marijuana dispensaries from federal prosecutors since 2014, according to a letter made public this week. Those legal controls—which bar Sessions’s Justice Department from funding crackdowns on the medical cannabis programs legalized by 29 states and Washington, D.C.—jeopardize the DoJ’s ability to combat the country’s “historic drug epidemic” and control dangerous drug traffickers, the attorney general wrote in the letter sent to lawmakers.

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Can Legal Marijuana Solve The Opioid Crisis?

Posted by · March 28, 2017 3:26 PM

Newsweek_Logo.svgU.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently said he was “astonished” by claims that legal marijuana could solve the opioid crisis devastating the nation. However, a new study firmly linked legalized weed to decreased opioid abuse and overdoses.

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