View Full Version : New implant set to join fight against U.S. painkiller epidemic

04-30-16, 08:59 PM
Natalie Grover (http://www.reuters.com/journalists/natalie-grover)
Fri Apr 29, 2016

Two companies are on the cusp of taking a new treatment for opioid addiction to the U.S. market at a time when lawmakers are seeking ways to arrest an epidemic of heroin and painkiller abuse that kills 78 Americans every day.
Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc and privately owned Braeburn Pharmaceuticals have together developed a matchstick-sized implant that analysts expect will be approved next month, despite mixed reviews.
Implanted into the arm, the treatment is designed to be less vulnerable to abuse or illicit resale than the oral drugs that are currently used to treat opioid addiction.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-healthcare-titan-pharma-idUSKCN0XQ1RF?feedType=nl&feedName=healthNews&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=US%20Health%20Report%202016-04-29&utm_term=US%20Health%20Report

04-30-16, 09:25 PM
Can we have a conversation here about opioids and addiction?

Ora Moose
05-02-16, 11:54 AM
Can we have a conversation here about opioids and addiction?

Sounds like a hot topic these days as the substance addiction epidemic spreads. I can only for myself from limited personal experience but can vouch for how difficult it is to kick a habit, remembering how many times I tried and failed to quit cigarettes some 40 years ago. It makes you feel that you failed yourself again and again and again. I tried a few other things but gave them up before they became a serious addiction problem. What finally happened is that one New Year's day I made the resolution to quit (again) and just stuck to it by saying to myself, I may smoke again someday, but I'm waiting until tomorrow. Looking back decades later, it was of the best decisions I ever made, and I can't believe how the cost has spiraled or how so many people can afford it, perhaps by depriving themselves of far less hazardous foods and habits. The point being that if you try and fail (and who hasn't) at one thing or another, don't give up because when and if you sincerely mean it it's just a matter of time until you beat it aka persistence. Now I just stick with beer and wine.

Oh and more thing, one of my son's best friends and a frequent visitor just died a couple of weeks ago from an overdose, that hit close to home.

Ora Moose
05-02-16, 03:18 PM
Sadly this is in today's local news:

By Evan Horowitz (http://www.bostonglobe.com/staff/horowitz) Globe Staff May 02, 2016

"Prescription opioid overdoses seem to be soaring again after a brief plateau. Between 2013 and 2014, they increased by over 90 percent."


... and this, by By J.D. Capelouto:


Ora Moose
05-02-16, 06:27 PM
[QUOTE=Ora Moose;74463]Add this one to the list of today's articles, sound like the reporters or editors are really hot on the subject in today's drug epidemic in the local news:

I don't think that I had even heard of Fentanyl before.

By Felice J. Freyer Globe Staff May 02, 2016


And this one too (although as far as I know, nobody's ever died from overdosing on pot:


Not sure why all the text I'm adding shows up as a link...

05-02-16, 07:50 PM
Can we have a conversation here about opioids and addiction? Good idea, Islander.

05-02-16, 11:29 PM
[QUOTE=Ora Moose;74464] I don't think that I had even heard of Fentanyl before.

From late summer through late fall last year I was admitted to the ER seven separate times for excruciating abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Multiple tests led to a diagnosis of an intestinal blockage but no one could find it. X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, and that barium or whatever you drink while they take multiple x-rays as it travels through your system... no blockage showed up. Meanwhile a naso-gastric tube ran from my nose into my stomach, pumping out the blocked contents while I passed the time in a dreamy haze. I got morphine on day one each admission but it was d/c'ed on day two and replaced with fentanyl. Both managed the pain, but the fentanyl caused nausea and vomiting unless it was injected into my IV verrry slowly over a 5-minute period.

Now, the fentanyl induced a kind of relaxed, dreamy pain-free state that often put me to sleep regardless of the time of day. It was pleasant enough but not the kind of high that would make me want to repeat and repeat. All I wanted was pain management, and that it did. Because I have been an insomniac most of my life, I think the nicest feeling in the world is drowsiness and both types of pain relief gave me that lovely feeling. Still, once the episode was over and I was discharged four days later, I had no desire for a repeat of the fentanyl.

Not to drag this out, but once they found the blockage and corrected it surgically, I was discharged with an opioid prescription. I was never in enough pain at home to use it although I did fill the prescription. Last winter I fell and injured my back, and at that point my doctor put me on the opioid plus ibuprofen in order to keep me moving. Yes, it relieved the pain enough to keep me walking every 15 minutes, but the side effect of opiates is constipation. The constipation is combated with the stool softener. Not to put too fine a point on it, it's a delicate dance to balance the two effects and I eventually abandoned the opioid rather than deal with those unpredictable after effects. All of which makes me wonder, how does anyone addicted to any of these opioids manage their elimination?

05-02-16, 11:35 PM
There is talk now about a legal limit on the length of time that opioids can be prescribed for pain management. I think this is a mistake. Many many people are in chronic pain, pain that will last a lifetime. How will they manage when their proposed 30- or 60-day limit takes effect? If you are addicted to a painkiller in order to manage a lifetime of pain, the addiction itself doesn't matter. What possible difference could it make, if you need this drug just to get through the day? The problem doesn't lie with those who need it, but with those who abuse it for recreational purposes.

05-03-16, 05:56 AM
Sensible attitude Islander, which means it probably won't happen! I know of someone with chronic pain who is able to do a normal day's physical work by using marijuana.

And on the topic of opiate addiction, I knew a young couple many years ago who got off heroin by smoking MJ, probably more than 'normal' use. It was recommended by their therapist - highly illegal, but it worked.

Ora Moose
05-03-16, 08:35 AM
OK here's one more article from today's Boston Globe. This issue sure seems to have exploded and is getting a lot of attention on all fronts.

By Deirdre Fernandes (http://www.bostonglobe.com/staff/fernandes) Globe Staff May 03, 2016

"Nationwide, 28,648 people died from overdoses of prescription pain medication and heroin in 2014.
The shortage of treatment beds in Massachusetts is putting pressure on hospital emergency rooms statewide. Admissions related to issues of mental health and alcohol and substance abuse spiked by 24 percent between 2010 and 2014, even as overall visits for emergency care declined in Massachusetts, according to the state Health Policy Commission. "


05-03-16, 09:06 AM
@Julieanne: I'm so glad someone brought this up. Medical marijuana seems like such an obvious solution: pain management without side effects. Medical mj is now legal in 22 states plus the District of Columbia, and high CBD strains are available that address pain (and other medical issues) without the "high." The movement is spreading; I think it's only a matter of time before the herb's status is changed at the federal level here, and hopefully Australia will follow the lead of the U.S. and Canada. The biggest obstacle is, of course, the pharmaceutical industry. Voila — here is an effective treatment for a large range of conditions, non-addictive and without side effects. Thank Mother Nature for looking after her children!

05-03-16, 09:15 AM
@Ora Moose: don't you have to wonder why this has, seemingly overnight, exploded into a headline issue not just in New England but nationwide? What on earth is going on?
I have a theory, but I'd like to hear from others first.

• What's causing this wave of abuse, addiction, overdosing? How do you explain it?
• How do we prevent/control it? Is enhanced law enforcement the answer? What other options are there?

05-03-16, 03:23 PM
Just re-read today: 14 years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. They shifted spending to treatment. So what happened? Addiction fell. Overdoses fell. Injecting drug use went down by 50%. Nobody wants to go back.

Ora Moose
05-03-16, 04:08 PM
@Ora Moose: don't you have to wonder why this has, seemingly overnight, exploded into a headline issue not just in New England but nationwide? What on earth is going on?
I have a theory, but I'd like to hear from others first.

• What's causing this wave of abuse, addiction, overdosing? How do you explain it?
• How do we prevent/control it? Is enhanced law enforcement the answer? What other options are there?

Islander, I too have a theory and it has everything to do with your post about Portugal's approach. I was born and grew up in Portugal, we had no drinking age and it's not like all the kids were getting blitzed just because they could.

The logic in that country approaching all drug addictions as a health problem and favoring treatment rather than blanket criminalizing all users, has been a marvelous success and the USA could learn a lot from it. So that's my theory in a nutshell: Prohibition not only doesn't work, but it exacerbates the problem for the vast majority of users and also the general public.

The biggest reason there's such a huge problem here in the USA is that the pharma companies and the incarceration business, are in cahoots or control not only the politicians but also the criminal system including the police and also the judicial system. Seems it's all about justifying their jobs and doing what big money business wants them to do.

Here's another article in today's Boston Globe that somewhat highlights what I'm saying - they just wash their hands off any actual solution to the problem and the hell with public health if it doesn't generate profits:

By Ed Silverman (https://www.statnews.com/staff/ed-silverman/) @Pharmalot (https://twitter.com/Pharmalot) May 3, 2016

"Although costs can vary depending upon regional factors, take-back programs are estimated to cost about one cent for every $10 in sales, according to the Product Stewardship Institute (http://www.productstewardship.us/), a nonprofit environmental policy group that supports drug take-back programs."

Read more here:


Ora Moose
05-03-16, 04:43 PM
Apologies if the barrage of information is a bit overwhelming but new aspects just keep coming to the forefront. Here is the Boston Globe theory for who and what caused the opioid epidemic:

By David Armstrong (https://www.statnews.com/staff/david-armstrong/) May 3, 2016

"The documents sought by STAT were produced during a lawsuit filed by the state of Kentucky against Purdue, alleging the company helped create a wave of addiction by improperly downplaying the addictive properties of its drug while aggressively marketing the drug to doctors. Purdue denied the claims. In December, the case was settled (http://ag.ky.gov/pdf_news/purduepharmaoxycontin.pdf), with Purdue agreeing to pay the state $24 million (https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2015/12/23/20818/)."

Read more here: