Tag Archive: Opiates/Opioids

Nation’s first opioid court opens, goal is keeping users alive

The ordinary drug treatment courts aren’t up to dealing with the opioid addiction crisis. Officials in Buffalo, New York, which has just opened the nation’s first opioid treatment court, say that more drastic measures are needed if the intervention is to be successful at its most basic level: keeping the defendant alive. Most drug courts emerged in the 1980s and early 1990s in response to crack cocaine. The idea is to provide what’s really needed — drug treatment — to people who aren’t career criminals but got involved in drugs. Defendants may be first-time arrestees for drug possession, or they may have been charged for crimes they committed as a result of their drug addiction. Those charges are dropped if... Read More »

Opioid treatment is available, but even the insured aren’t getting it

The co-author of a new study in JAMA Pediatrics has a message for parents. "If you have a child struggling with opioid addiction, understand that there are medications that support and sustain recovery." That seems straightforward, but the study found that many people may not realize there are effective treatments available for addiction to opioid medications like OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax — even methadone, fentanyl and heroin. Unfortunately, it seems that most young addicts aren’t getting that treatment, even when they have good insurance. The study considered the medical records of almost 21,000 opioid addicts between the ages of 13 and 25 who were insured through UnitedHealthcare. Even during the period of 2001 and 2014 when opioid addiction was skyrocketing,... Read More »

Senators consider adding new mandatory minimums for fentanyl

The drugs fentanyl and carfentanil have been playing outsized roles in the opioid epidemic, which is already high-profile. Fentanyl is considered to be about 100 times more powerful than morphine, while carfentanil is perhaps 10,000 times more powerful. Yet even though carfentanil is meant to tranquilize large mammals like rhinos and hippopotamuses, the drug is sometimes mixed with heroin or other opiates used by addicts. These potent synthetic opioids pose a real risk to law enforcement, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He recently warned officers to avoid any exposure to the drugs, as people are overdosing in record numbers. He warns that America doesn’t have time to debate whether the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis or... Read More »

DHS Secretary Kelly opposes AG Sessions on federal drug policy

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly recently signaled a reversal in his opinion on marijuana — a reversal that puts him at odds with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions has repeatedly remarked that he disagrees with the legalization efforts going on nationwide and even linked use of marijuana to an alleged increase in violence. Neither the supposed increase in violence nor a connection between weed and violence is supported by evidence. However, despite a prohibition on most research regarding marijuana, we do have at least one solid fact: Despite Sessions’ regard for it as "poison," no death from a pot overdose has ever been reported, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s drug fact sheet on the substance. Contrast that, as... Read More »