With the death of Prince, most likely due to a prescription drug overdose, opioids are now a focus of the media:
Actions by Congress on Opioids Haven’t Included Limiting Them
The House and the Senate have whipsawed between ensuring access to narcotic painkillers and addressing the addiction epidemic linked to those drugs.
By GARDINER HARRIS and EMMARIE HUETTEMAN
Congress Wakes Up to the Opioid Epidemic
Federal lawmakers were late to respond to the problem, but at least they seem prepared to open more paths to treatment.
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction at Epicenter for Opioids
The difficult work of addressing the nation’s overreliance on opioids, while also treating debilitating pain, is playing out patient by patient in West Virginia.
By ABBY GOODNOUGH
Addicts Who Can’t Find Painkillers Turn to Anti-Diarrhea Drugs
The opioid epidemic has led to a form of drug abuse that few experts saw coming: the use of Imodium and other anti-diarrhea medications to get high.
By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS
The Opioid Epidemic We Failed to Foresee
The notion that patients would not become addicted to opioids has proved to be one of the biggest mistakes in modern medicine.
By DAVID A. KESSLER
In Prince’s Battle With Opioids, a Familiar Narrative That Begins With Pain
Evidence is mounting that the singer was fighting pain and a reliance on opioids, a battle that is familiar to many Americans.
By JAN HOFFMANAnd from the Wall Street JournalByTHOMAS M. BURTON
May 4, 2016 7:39 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly endorsed mandatory training for doctors who prescribe opioid painkillers, in an effort to stem what has become a national epidemic of deaths and addiction from the drugs.
The recommendation followed a two-day hearing on the medical evidence regarding opioids and ways to improve their safety. Overall, the committee voted unanimously to recommend an overhaul of current federal requirements to train doctors and patients about the risks of overusing the pain drugs.
On the mandatory doctor-training question and some other safety recommendations, the panel’s chairman, Dr. Almut Winterstein of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida, said the group had shown “fairly overwhelming agreement
“We need to teach people to use these drugs sparingly,” said committee member Jeanmarie Perrone, a professor of emergency medicine and toxicologist at the University of Pennsylvania.ByKATE O’KEEFFE
Updated May 12, 2016 7:43 p.m. ET
The House passed several bills Thursday to combat the country’s growing problems with painkiller abuse and heroin use, which health officials say are now causing more Americans to die from drug overdoses than traffic accidents.
The bills, approved with broad bipartisan support, provide for substance abuse treatment, education and law enforcement efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic, among other provisions. They join related bills passed earlier in the week.
The rare instance of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats in a tense election season comes as overdose deaths involving opioids tripled from 2000 through 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Prescription painkillers, heroin and other opioids were involved in 61% of the 47,055 drug overdose deaths in the country in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, the CDC said. In all, there were roughly 1½ times as many overdose deaths in the U.S. that year as motor vehicle fatalities.It appears that Prince was very close to getting intervention for his prescription drug addiction. The rich and famous are just a small percentage of the thousands of accidental prescription medicine deaths each year. Most of these deaths happen to ordinary people like your friend or neighbor or maybe even your son or daughter. How is each of us going to respond to these serious statistics regarding prescription drug abuse and misuse?