Important links to articles on the Opioid Crisis
Addiction experts are up in arms over remarks by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in which he referred to medication-assisted treatment for addiction as “substituting one opioid for another.”
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Senators Markey and Rubio Host Bipartisan Senate Briefing with DEA on Illicit Fentanyl Crisis
“We are suffering a deadly opioid epidemic because of FDA approved dangerous and addictive painkillers that Big Pharma has zealously pushed; doctors prescribed them with abandon.The Drug Enforcement Administration is our prescription drug cop-on-the-beat, but Dr. Scott Gottlieb wants to transfer that role to ineffective bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services. At the same time, Dr. Gottlieb has also publicly stated his opposition to the FDA’s risk plans that are used to address the safety of opioid painkillers whereas these vital tools should be made stronger.
“Dr. Gottlieb’s would take away DEA oversight over prescription opioids and at the same time, limit the FDA’s ability to utilize its full oversight authority over these addictive products; it is simply irresponsible that Dr. Gottlieb believes that drug safety doesn’t need strong oversight from both the FDA and DEA. By working to repeal the Affordable Care Act, proposing to slash the NIH and ONDCP budgets, these policies would only make the opioid crisis worse.”
Senator Markey addressed a letter to Dr. Gottlieb requesting details about the financial relationship he had with fentanyl manufacturer Cephalon, a pharmaceutical company under federal investigation for pushing doctors to prescribe the addictive painkiller for headaches and back pain when it was meant for late-stage cancer patients. A Washington Post story reported that Dr. Gottlieb advocated on behalf of Cephalon while he was previously employed at the FDA, in an attempt to increase the amount of fentanyl the manufacturer could produce. Ultimately, the DEA denied the request, finding that Cephalon and the FDA had no basis for this increased allotment.” Comments by Ed Markey
MA state law (act passed 2016) requires schools to annually conduct verbal substance misuse screenings in two grade levels and collaborate with the Departments of Elementary and Second Education (DESE) and Public Health (DPH) around effective addiction education policies.
Budgets were allocated at $250 million for collaborative effort across state to combat the opioid epidemic for substance use disorders — a crisis which had been claiming nearly 4 lives per day in the Commonwealth (2016) — and to help fight this public health epidemic and provide critical funding for prevention, treatment and education. An additional law now prohibits the civil commitment of women facing substance use disorders and providing addiction treatment services at State Hospital detox ending the practice of sending women committed for treatment for a substance use disorder under to MCI-Framingham. More than two hundred substance use treatment beds were opened throughout the Commonwealth.