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NEWS
July 1, 2016
ISSUE | DRUG ABUSE Pa. must tackle opioid crisis The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Gov. Wolf agreed last week to call a special session of the General Assembly to work on the opioid addiction crisis. The Pennsylvania Medical Society applauds this bipartisan effort. Special sessions are used only for the most troubling issues. Opioid abuse and addiction is one of the most troubling issues facing our state. Pennsylvania ranks number one in the country for overdose deaths of males ages 12 to 24. Let's turn that around and become the best state in the country in addressing this crisis.
NEWS
May 29, 2016 | By Paul Jablow, For The Inquirer
The dentist and the ex-cop first met about five years ago at a pain management seminar at Tufts University. "He asked me what I was doing there," recalls Carlos Aquino, who spent 23 years on the Philadelphia police force before retiring in 1995 as a sergeant specializing in narcotics investigations. "When I told him, he understood. " Elliot Hersh, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania dental school who specializes in pharmacology, understood so well that he soon had Aquino lecturing his students on the dangers of overprescribing painkillers, including opioids such as Percocet and Vicodin.
BUSINESS
January 16, 2016 | By David Sell, STAFF WRITER
Adapt Pharma, which is based in Ireland but operates in the United States from Radnor, said Thursday it struck a deal with the U.S. Communities Purchasing Alliance to provide its Narcan nasal spray at a discounted price to public agencies which respond to emergency opioid overdoses. The alliance, which is a nonprofit local, state and federal government purchasing cooperative, will get the nasal spray at $37.50 per dose. Adapt said in a statement that the "Public Interest Price" is available to 62,000 public agencies and "qualifying group purchasers," such as law enforcement, fire fighters, first responders, departments of health, local school districts, colleges and universities, and community-based organizations.
NEWS
July 3, 2013 | By David Sell, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Middle-aged women are dying from overdoses of prescription opioid painkillers at "skyrocketing" rates, more than five times as often in 2010 as they were in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. "Mothers, sisters and daughters are dying from prescription drug overdoses more than we've ever seen," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a conference call with reporters. The CDC previously reported that deaths from overdoses of prescription opioid painkillers had exceeded those of cocaine and heroin combined.
NEWS
July 12, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Doctors have long complained about patients demanding inappropriate treatment, especially addictive opioid painkillers. Many say they feel forced to comply for fear they will be rated poorly by patients on the internet or even more official surveys. Now the Obama administration, acknowledging the potential power of bad reviews, is proposing to remove pain management from a patient satisfaction survey that is mailed to hundreds of thousands of people after they are released from the hospital.
NEWS
April 1, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Giving former inmates with histories of addiction monthly injections of a medication that blocks the effects of opioids cuts relapse rates by a third, according to research at five medical centers. Release from prison is among the riskiest times for former addicts, with the loss in physical tolerance and behavioral control so common that often "they relapse the same day," said Charles P. O'Brien, senior author of the study and founding director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Studies of Addiction.
BUSINESS
March 2, 2016 | By Linda Loyd, STAFF WRITER
Egalet Corporation, Wayne, said Monday the Food and Drug Administration has accepted its new drug application for an extended release version of morphine. The company hopes the drug will be approved as early as mid-October. Egalet's technology aims to make prescription pain medications less prone to abuse, through a high-pressure molding process of the tablets similar to what is used in plastics. Traditional opioid pain killers, such as morphine and OxyContin, can be abused by crushing to snort, or dissolving to inject.
NEWS
November 11, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
It's a common scenario. A barely-used bottle of Vicodin, prescribed for your teenage son when his wisdom teeth were extracted, sits in your medicine cabinet for months - until your son's friend finds and steals it. Abuse and diversion of opioid painkillers have become a public health crisis, experts agree. The number of overdose deaths has risen relentlessly from 4,000 in 1999 to nearly 17,000 in 2010 - more than 100,000 people in a decade, federal figures show. That's why, after anguished debate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month recommended making it harder for people to get refills of products like Vicodin.
NEWS
May 25, 2016 | By Sam Wood, Staff Writer
Anita Gupta first suspected that the Philadelphia heroin trade could be taking a deadlier turn months ago, when she saw overdose patients at Hahnemann University Hospital who didn't respond as they should have to the antidote drug emergency workers gave them. "The symptoms were worse than we were used to seeing," said Gupta, an anesthesiologist, pharmacist, and pain specialist at Drexel University College of Medicine. "We were getting patients with symptoms of near-death, and often required multiple doses of the antidote naloxone.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
July 16, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Pennsylvania will open 20 centers around the state by fall to coordinate care for people addicted to opioids, the Wolf administration announced Thursday. The centers - six of them in Southeastern Pennsylvania - will not be new locations, but instead are existing organizations that will function as navigational hubs to coordinate a range of services for Medicaid patients. By integrating treatment for substance abuse, mental health, and physical health, their mission is to help ensure patients get all the types of care proven to promote recovery.
NEWS
July 14, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania jumped more than 23 percent last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported Tuesday, by far the biggest increase in at least a decade and a sign that the addiction epidemic remains out of control. An analysis of drug-related fatalities by the DEA's Philadelphia Field Division found a 5 percent rise in deaths involving heroin, along with an astonishing increase - up 93 percent in one year - in the presence of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the bodies of people who died of overdoses.
NEWS
July 12, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Doctors have long complained about patients demanding inappropriate treatment, especially addictive opioid painkillers. Many say they feel forced to comply for fear they will be rated poorly by patients on the internet or even more official surveys. Now the Obama administration, acknowledging the potential power of bad reviews, is proposing to remove pain management from a patient satisfaction survey that is mailed to hundreds of thousands of people after they are released from the hospital.
NEWS
July 2, 2016 | By Angela Couloumbis and Karen Langley, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - With hours to spare before the start of the new fiscal year, the Republican-controlled legislature gave its final sign-off to a $31.5 billion spending plan that Gov. Wolf said he could support. That was the good news for those aiming for an on-time budget. The bad news for all sides is that there is no agreement on how to pay for the plan, which calls for increasing funding for public schools, early childhood and special education, and state colleges and universities.
NEWS
July 1, 2016
ISSUE | DRUG ABUSE Pa. must tackle opioid crisis The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Gov. Wolf agreed last week to call a special session of the General Assembly to work on the opioid addiction crisis. The Pennsylvania Medical Society applauds this bipartisan effort. Special sessions are used only for the most troubling issues. Opioid abuse and addiction is one of the most troubling issues facing our state. Pennsylvania ranks number one in the country for overdose deaths of males ages 12 to 24. Let's turn that around and become the best state in the country in addressing this crisis.
NEWS
June 27, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, STAFF WRITER
Two insights over the last half-century have transformed scientific understanding of the nature of addiction: It changes how the brain remembers and responds to temptations. You can see the difference on scans. That's why "just say no" just isn't effective. It is a chronic disease, like diabetes. Both need to be managed for a lifetime. That's partly what is meant by being "in recovery. " Nearly 130 Americans die of drug overdoses every day, 60 percent of them - the fastest-rising category of fatalities - due to opioids.
NEWS
June 26, 2016 | By Michaelle Bond, STAFF WRITER
First responders in Chester County have received a grant from a health-insurance company to purchase naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of heroin and opioid overdoses, the Chester County District Attorney's Office announced Friday. Cigna donated $50,000 for Naloxone to the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association last year to distribute among local agencies. Philadelphia and Delaware County have received Cigna grants, and first responders in Chester County have restocked their supplies thanks to their share -- $7,500.
NEWS
June 25, 2016 | By Colt Shaw, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - Taking a significant step to deal with what he has called a statewide crisis, Gov. Wolf said Thursday that he would call a special session of the legislature this year to address the prescription opioid epidemic. The session will convene "by the end of the summer, if not early fall," said House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny), and will focus on finding solutions to an issue rippling across nearly every community. The announcement came as lawmakers from both parties and the governor gathered in the Capitol rotunda to renew attention on a problem that has grown dramatically in recent years.
NEWS
June 3, 2016 | By Howard Gensler
THE AUTOPSY results are back and the verdict is that Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. So, verrrrry potent. It was not immediately clear whether Prince had a prescription for the drug and, if not, how he obtained it. The results raised the possibility that anyone who provided the drug illegally could face criminal charges. After the music icon died, authorities began reviewing whether an overdose was to blame and whether he had been prescribed drugs in the preceding weeks.
NEWS
May 29, 2016 | By Paul Jablow, For The Inquirer
The dentist and the ex-cop first met about five years ago at a pain management seminar at Tufts University. "He asked me what I was doing there," recalls Carlos Aquino, who spent 23 years on the Philadelphia police force before retiring in 1995 as a sergeant specializing in narcotics investigations. "When I told him, he understood. " Elliot Hersh, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania dental school who specializes in pharmacology, understood so well that he soon had Aquino lecturing his students on the dangers of overprescribing painkillers, including opioids such as Percocet and Vicodin.
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