painkillers

In the U.S., the opioid crisis is about too many opioids. In some other parts of the world, the opioid problem is about the exact opposite — a lack of access to powerful pain management drugs. As pharmaceutical companies are being sued in the U.S. for flooding the market with opioids, doctors in West Africa say they can't even get hold of those painkillers.

When prescribed appropriately, opioids can be vital tools in hospitals and clinics. The drugs make patients more comfortable and can speed recovery.

Nearly 2,000 cities, towns and counties across America are currently participating in a massive multidistrict civil lawsuit against the opioid industry for damages related to the abuse of prescription pain medication. The defendants in the suit include drug manufacturers like Mallinckrodt, wholesale distributors McKesson and Cardinal Health, and pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens.

It started with a rolled ankle during a routine training exercise.

Shannon Hubbard never imagined it was the prologue to one of the most debilitating pain conditions known to exist, called ­­­­­­­complex regional pain syndrome.

It's a condition that causes the nervous system to go haywire, creating pain disproportionate to the actual injury. It can also affect how the body regulates temperature and blood flow.

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Williamson, W.Va., sits right across the Tug Fork river from Kentucky. The town has sites dedicated to its coal mining heritage and the Hatfield and McCoy feud and counts just about 3,000 residents.

Doctors Wary Of Painkiller Prescription Limits

Jan 23, 2018
New York Times

Surgeons complain it’s too restrictive for patients who undergo major heart surgery or hip replacement. Emergency room doctors gripe they don’t have the time or resources to comply. And pharmacists say it needs to be tweaked.

Tighter Prescribing Rules: An Anti-Abuse Strategy That Could Hurt Patients In Pain

Dec 1, 2016

As rates of prescription painkiller abuse remain stubbornly high, a number of states are attempting to cut off the supply at its source by making it harder for doctors to prescribe the addictive pills to Medicaid patients.

Once people realized that opioid drugs could cause addiction and deadly overdoses, they tried to use newer forms of opioids to treat the addiction to its parent. Morphine, about 10 times the strength of opium, was used to curb opium cravings in the early 19th century. Codeine, too, was touted as a nonaddictive drug for pain relief, as was heroin.

Those attempts were doomed to failure because all opioid drugs interact with the brain in the same way. They dock to a specific neural receptor, the mu-opioid receptor, which controls the effects of pleasure, pain relief and need.

Most Americans See Personal Tie To Rising Prescription Painkiller Abuse

Nov 24, 2015
Associated Press

The growing abuse of prescription painkillers now touches home for a majority of Americans, according to a poll released Tuesday.

If you've ever had surgery, you may have been given an analgesic named fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a favored painkiller because it acts fast. But it's also 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The powerful drug has made its way to the streets and increasingly is being used to cut heroin — resulting in a deadly combination.

A federal judge says Florida lost $11 million in 2006 when WellCare executives committed Medicaid fraud, the Tampa Bay Times reports. That amount will influence the sentencing of three WellCare executives who were found guilty in June of Medicaid fraud.  Prosecutors had tried to convince U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr.

The Food and Drug Administration today took another step toward restricting use of OxyContin and other powerful and often-abused prescription pain medications.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

A Delray Beach doctor who signed a lease saying he wouldn’t be opening a pain clinic appears to be running a pain clinic anyway, the Palm Beach Post reports. Dr. Fernando Jimenez has been arrested after nearby businesses tipped off authorities that patients were looking for him to write prescriptions for powerful pain pills. 

Two new studies add to the evidence that Florida is making progress against deaths from inappropriate prescribing of opiates since the state cracked down two years ago.

New York Times

In the past decade, fatal painkiller overdoses among women have increased 400 percent, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The CDC says more men still die from overdosing on prescription pain pills, but women are catching up quickly. While Florida doesn’t track the gender of people who die from an overdose, more than 1,500 babies are born addicted to the pain pills each year, according to state data.

Lakeland Ledger

A Tampa doctor who also worked at a pain clinic in Lakeland was more than willing to prescribe hydrocodone to an undercover officer who had no medical need for it, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office says. As the Lakeland Ledger reports, Dr. Aaron Bran­ham Roush has been in trouble before for his prescribing practices.