Tag Archives: opioids

A Wicked Cocktail of Corporate Greed, Social Media and Opioids Is Slashing U.S. Life Expectancy Rates, by Robert Bridges

US life expectancies have declined for three straight years. Why? From Robert Bridge at strategic-culture.org:

Following decades of increased life expectancy rates, Americans have been dying earlier for three consecutive years since 2014, turning the elusive quest for the ‘American Dream’ into a real-life nightmare for many. Corporate America must accept some portion of the blame for the looming disaster.

Something is killing Americans and researchers have yet to find the culprit. But we can risk some intuitive guesses.

According to researchers from the Center on Society and Health, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, American life expectancy has not kept pace with that of other wealthy countries and is now in fact decreasing.

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76 Billion Opioid Pills: Bombshell Report Unmasks Who Is Responsible For Epidemic, by Tyler Durden

Why would anyone doubt that the makers of opioid pills did their best to sell them? Did they do so in ways that were criminal? Plenty of trials will address that question. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

US District Judge Dan Polster presiding over nationwide opioid litigation dismissed an order that now allows the general public, for the first time ever, to examine opioid sales from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) that details how the opioid epidemic exploded into almost every community across the US from 2006 through 2012.

“The public release of pre-2012 ARCOS data, which shows how prescription opioid pills flooded American communities, is a positive and transparent step forward,” plaintiffs attorneys Paul Hanley, Paul Ferrell and Joe Rice said in a statement released Monday.

“The data provides statistical insights that help pinpoint the origins and spread of the opioid epidemic.”

As per The Washington Post, the ACROS data showed big pharmaceutical companies pumped 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills from 2006 through 2012 into nearly every zip code across the country.

The data provides an unparalleled view of how legal opioid pills from big pharma fueled the opioid epidemic, which has resulted in approximately 100,000 deaths in those 4 years. 

Only six companies distributed 75% of all the painkillers during the six years: McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS, and Walmart.

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Johnson & Johnson faces multibillion opioids lawsuit that could upend big pharma, by Chris McGreal

Opioids may be the next asbestos or tobacco for state attorney generals. From Chris McGreal at theguardian.com:

Oklahoma is holding the drug giant with the family-friendly image responsible for its addiction epidemic

The state of Oklahoma is suing Johnson & Johnson in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit.
The state of Oklahoma is suing Johnson & Johnson in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Day after day, the memos flashing across screens in an Oklahoma courtroom have jarred with the family-friendly public image of Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant best known for baby powder and Band-Aid.

In one missive, a sales representative dismissed a doctor’s fears that patients might become addicted to the company’s opioid painkillers by telling him those who didn’t die probably wouldn’t get hooked. Another proposes targeting sales of the powerfully addictive drugs at those most at risk: men under 40.

As the state of Oklahoma’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson has unfolded over the past month, the company has struggled to explain marketing strategies its accusers say dangerously misrepresented the risk of opioid addiction to doctors, manipulated medical research, and helped drive an epidemic that has claimed 400,000 lives over the past two decades.

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Opioids Are Responsible For 20% Of Millennial Deaths, “Crisis Will Impact US For Generations”, by Tyler Durden

The opioid crisis is especially severe among millenials. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The opioid crisis has become a significant public health emergency for many Americans, especially for millennials, so much so that one out of every five deaths among young adults is related to opioids, suggested a new report.

The study is called “The Burden of Opioid-Related Mortality in the United States,” published Friday in JAMA. Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, found that all opiate deaths — which accounts for natural opiates, semi-synthetic/ humanmade opioids, and fully synthetic/ humanmade opioids — have increased a mindboggling 292 percent from 2001 through 2016, with one in every 65 deaths related to opioids by 2016. Men represented 70 percent of all opioid-related deaths by 2016, and the number was astronomically higher for millennials (24 and 35 years of age).

According to the study, one out of every five deaths among millennials in the United States is related to opioids. In contrast, opioid-related deaths for the same cohort accounted for 4 percent of all deaths in 2001.

Moreover, it gets worse; the second most impacted group was 15 to 24-year-olds, which suggests, the opioid epidemic is now ripping through Generation Z (born after 1995). In 2016, nearly 12.4 percent of all deaths in this age group were attributed to opioids.

“Despite the amount of attention that has been placed on this public health issue, we are increasingly seeing the devastating impact that early loss of life from opioids is having across the United States,” said Dr. Tara Gomes, a scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s.

“In the absence of a multidisciplinary approach to this issue that combines access to treatment, harm reduction and education, this crisis will impact the U.S. for generations,” she added.

Over the 15-year period, more than 335,000 opioid-related deaths were recorded in the United States that met the study’s criteria. Researchers said this number is an increase of 345 percent from 9,489 in 2001 (33.3 deaths per million population) to 42, 245 in 2016 (130.7 deaths per million population).

To continue reading: Opioids Are Responsible For 20% Of Millennial Deaths, “Crisis Will Impact US For Generations”

 

U.S. Healthcare Isn’t Broken–It’s Fixed, by Charles Hugh Smith

US health care spending (or more properly, overspending) is among the most inefficient and corrupt in the developed world. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Healthcare/sickcare will bankrupt the nation by itself.If you want to understand why the U.S. healthcare system is bankrupt, financially, morally and politically, then start with this representative anecdote from a U.S. physician. I received this report from correspondent J.F. on the topic of direct advertising of pharmaceutical products to the public (patients).
As background information, pharmaceutical companies were not allowed to advertise directly to consumers (patients) in the good old days. Now, as we all know, half the adverts on TV are for pharmaceutical products, and many of the remaining half are advertising lawsuits relating to pharmaceutical products that harmed or injured the patients who received them (or clamored for them as a result of endless direct-to-consumer adverts).
Here is J.F.’s report:
This morning, I read a report on augmentation of antidepressants. It seems folks who get a little better, but not a lot better on an antidepressant may improve if a drug in the class of second generation antipsychotics is added. Three of these drugs have been tested, with pretty much equivalent benefit – quetiapine, aripiprazole, and brexpiprazole. As the names suggest, the last two are very similar in chemical structure.
– quetianpine and aripiprazole are available in cheap generic for. Brexpiprazole is not, it’s sold only as branded Rexulti.
– shortly after reading the piece, I walked past the waiting room TV which was playing an ad urging folks to “ask your doctor about Rexulti”.
– lowest costs for a month’s supply in my neighborhood, courtesy of goodrx.com:
quetiapine – $6.80
aripiprazole – $22.60
Rexulti – $1,120.20 (!)
– so the ad is urging folks to “ask their doctor” about a drug that is 16,473% more expensive than a similar drug that may work just as well.

Meet the Sacklers: The Family That’s Killing Millions (Maybe More Than Stalin), by Joseph Marcela

The Sackler family has graced the world with OxyContin. From Joseph Mercola at lewrockwell.com:

The U.S. has a massive opioid addiction problem. According to the U.S. surgeon general, more Americans now use prescription opioidsthan smoke cigarettes,1 and addiction to narcotic pain relievers now costs the U.S. more than $193 billion each year. The Manchester, New Hampshire, fire department recently said it now responds to more calls for drug overdoses than fires.2 That’s not so surprising when you consider that opioids are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.3

The following graph by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows the progressive incline in overdose deaths related to opioid pain relievers between 2002 and 2015.4 This does not include deaths from heroin addiction, which we now know is a common side effect of getting hooked on these powerful prescription narcotics. In all, we’re looking at just over 202,600 deaths in this 13-year time frame alone.5

Time to buy old US gold coins

National Overdose Deaths

Misleading Marketing Created the Opioid Epidemic

How did we get into this mess? Part of the problem, from the very beginning, has been false advertising. This past summer I wrote about how a single paragraph in a 1980 letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine became the basis of a drug marketing campaign that has since led hundreds of millions of people straight into the arms of addiction and/or death.

In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved OxyContin (an extended-release version of oxycodone) for children as young as 11,6 thereby opening the gate for narcotic addiction among children and young teens as well. In July 2015, The Fix7,8 wrote about the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, who that year made it onto Forbes’ Top 20 billionaires list9 — in large part due to the burgeoning sales of OxyContin.

About 80 percent of heroin drug addicts report starting out on painkillers such as OxyContin.10 Indeed, prescription opioids are now recognized as the primary gateway drug to heroin and other illicit drug use, and prescription painkillers — not illicit drugs — are the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S. As noted by Zachary Siegel, writing for The Fix,11 “It’s easy to get rich when health care providers write 259 million prescriptions for painkillers, enough for every American adult to have a bottle full of pills.”

To continue reading: Meet the Sacklers: The Family That’s Killing Millions (Maybe More Than Stalin)

How Pharma Sabotaged the Drug Enforcement Agency and Caused Hundreds of Thousands of Deaths, by Joseph Mercola

The pharmaceutical industry and drug distributors stand accused of amplifying the opioid crisis. From Dr. Joseph Mercola at lewrockwell.com:

Opioid-related statistics reveal the U.S. has an enormous problem on its hands. Americans use 80 percent of all the opioids sold worldwide.1 In Alabama, which has the highest opioid prescription rate in the U.S., 143 prescriptions are written for every 100 people.2 A result of this over-prescription trend is skyrocketing deaths from overdoses.3,4

As recently reported by CNN, the Manchester, New Hampshire, fire department responds to more calls for drug overdoses than fires these days.5 In 2015, 52,404 Americans died from drug overdoses; 33,091 of them involved an opioid and nearly one-third of them, 15,281, were by prescription.6,7,8

The following graph by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows the progressive incline in overdose deaths related to opioid pain relievers between 2002 and 2015.9 This does not include deaths from heroin addiction, which we now know is a common side effect of getting hooked on these powerful prescription narcotics. In all, we’re looking at just over 202,600 deaths in this 13-year time frame alone.10

National Overdose Deaths

Meanwhile, kidney disease, listed as the ninth leading cause of death on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) top 10 list, killed 48,146.11 The CDC does not include drug overdoses on this list, but if you did, drug overdoses (63 percent of which are opioids), would replace kidney disease as the ninth leading cause of death as of 2015. As if that wasn’t bad enough, recent statistics reveal that in Americans under the age of 50, opioids are now the LEADING cause of death.

In a sadly ironic twist, research reveals many other nations struggle with a dire lack of pain relief for end-stage, terminal patients. As reported by The Atlantic:12  “Some 45 percent of the 56.2 million people who died in 2015 experienced serious suffering, the authors found. That included 2.5 million children. More than 80 percent of the people were from developing regions, and the vast majority had no access to palliative care and pain relief.”

To continue reading: How Pharma Sabotaged the Drug Enforcement Agency and Caused Hundreds of Thousands of Deaths