Maryland Switches Opioid Treatments, And Some Patients Cry Foul
July 19, 2016

Maryland’s Medicaid program removed Suboxone film — a drug that can be used by people addicted to opioids to keep their cravings at bay — from the state’s list of preferred drugs and replaced it with a tablet form of the medication called Zubsolv.


Neonatal abstinence syndrome

Tiny Opioid Patients Need Help Easing Into Life
March 27, 2016

Lexi, 2 weeks old, is experiencing symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Her mother took methadone to wean herself from heroin when she got pregnant, just as doctors advised. But now the hospital team has to wean newborn Lexi from the methadone.

As rates of opioid addiction have continued to climb in the U.S., the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome has gone up, too — by five-fold from 2000 to 2012, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Addiction as a health issue

Heroin Claims Two Sons In One Massachusetts Family
September 8, 2015

… a movement to treat addiction as a health issue, and not a moral failure.

Kevin: “You know even my older brother, Patrick, even up until recently, he was sober for what would have been a year last week, and he still thought, towards the end, he got cocky. He got too confident that he could do it himself.”

Life with methadone

Drug addict Martin Jensen used to hide in elevators and stairwells when he smoked heroin. Now, he’s on methadone

Heroin in America: Life with Methadone
February 26, 2004

Two friends in northern New York drive long distances to receive methadone treatment. Because methadone clinics are rare, especially in rural areas, many recovering heroin addicts are forced to commute hours each day just to get their medicine.

harm reduction

Chicago And A Pair Of Counties Bring Lawsuit Against OxyContin Makers

Chicago And A Pair Of Counties Bring Lawsuit Against OxyContin Makers
July 02, 2014

Two California counties and the city of Chicago, hard hit by OxyContin addiction, are suing the drug’s manufacturers.
Reporter Emily Green says they’re charging that the drug-makers have contributed to an epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

Addiction to painkillers is a national epidemic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chou says Santa Clara County is spending millions of dollars in its public hospitals to treat patients suffering from addiction and overdoses. It’s also seen a rise in crime. And he wants the drug companies to pay, like the tobacco companies did in the 1990s after they were sued.
The lawsuits filed by Santa Clara and Orange counties as well as Chicago accuse the pharmaceutical manufactures of purposefully downplaying the risks of painkillers.
Chou says the companies secretly funded what look like mutual advocacy organizations like the American Pain Foundation to promote the drugs.

Teen Abuse of Painkiller OxyContin on the Rise
December 19, 2005

With Rise Of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look At Heroin

With Rise Of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look At Heroin
November 02, 2013

On Oct. 24, the Food and Drug Administration recommended putting new restrictions on hydrocodone, sold as Vicodin and other brand names.

federal data from 2011 finds that nearly 80 percent of people who had used heroin in the past year had also previously abused prescription painkillers classified as opioids.

Opioids — derived from opium — include morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone as well as heroin, says Kolodny, who is the chief medical officer for the national drug treatment network, Phoenix House, and president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

DR. ANDREW KOLODNY: opioids produce a euphoria, but when you get used to taking them on a regular basis, in order to get that euphoria, you need to continue taking higher and higher doses.
And once your body is used to the drug, without the drug, you begin to feel very sick. You feel this flu-like illness and literally feel sometimes like they’re going to die. It’s like having a panic attack.

They give “both a positive reinforcement — the effect when you take the drug — but also very strong negative reinforcer, which is that you’ll feel very sick when you don’t have the drug,” he says.
“Those two factors together make opioids extremely addictive.”

the CDC is now telling us there are more people in the United States dying each year from drug overdoses than car crashes.”

The United States is completely alone in this trend, Dr. Kolodny says.
“The United States has about 4 percent of the world’s population, and we’re consuming more than 80 percent of the world’s oxycodone supply.
We’re also consuming more than 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone,” he says.


White House Plan To Tackle Heroin Abuse Focuses On Treatment
August 17, 2015

FDA Approves Zohydro ER
October 25, 2013

Oct 30, 2013

Of patients addicted to heroin who are able to quit their habit, 40 to 60 percent relapse within the first year — often within the first weeks of finishing a treatment program