August 20, 2016 |
Fatal overdoses involving the powerful synthetic painkiller fentanyl have surged more than 600 percent in Philadelphia during the last three years, city officials said Friday. Illicit use of the opioid was implicated in 184 deaths in 2015, up from 25 in 2013. "Clearly, we have an epidemic of overdoses in Philadelphia involving this drug fentanyl," said Health Commissioner Tom Farley at a Friday news conference. At the same time, the price of the antidote used to treat opioid overdoses has skyrocketed.
June 17, 2016
A Camden County neurologist was charged with unlawfully prescribing narcotic painkillers and has temporarily surrendered his medical license, prosecutors said Wednesday. William R. Wolfe, 52, of Marlton, was accused of indiscriminately prescribing narcotics to undercover investigators posing as patients. He also allegedly provided blank signed prescriptions to an office staff member at his private practice in Voorhees, who then sold or gave them to various people, including an undercover investigator.
April 17, 2016
Critics of how painkillers are prescribed in the U.S. are calling on health officials to change hospital pain management procedures, saying they inadvertently encourage the overprescribing of addictive drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin. Deaths linked to misuse and abuse of prescription opioids increased to nearly 19,000 in 2014, the highest figure on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than five dozen nonprofit groups and medical experts, including Pennsylvania's health commissioner, sent a letter Wednesday to the Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, asking it to revisit the standards.
March 22, 2016 |
About half the states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and Pennsylvania appears ready to join them. Most patients who sign up for the drug indicate they're taking it for pain. But is there evidence that it works? Simple question, complicated answer. Turns out it works for some kinds of pain, but not others, and helps some people more than others. "The short answer is yes," said David Casarett, director of palliative care for Penn Medicine and author of Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana.
March 20, 2016 |
As a teen growing up in Lansdale, Pat Allan may have experimented with painkillers. But what put him in serious trouble, his family believes, was the Vicodin prescribed after his wisdom teeth were removed in high school. He escalated into abusing prescription opioids bought on the street and their cheaper cousin, heroin. He was 30 years old when New York City police called to say he had been found dead of an overdose. His little sister Kay listened on her dad's speakerphone. When her own wisdom teeth came out the next month, she declined the Vicodin.
March 6, 2016 |
Endo International P.L.C. has reached a agreement with the New York Attorney General to stop marketing its Opana ER painkiller as crush resistant, and to stop understating the addiction risks with the opioid narcotic. Endo, with U.S. headquarters in Malvern and global headquarters in Ireland, will also pay a $200,000 penalty, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement Thursday. Under the terms, Endo must provide "truthful and complete information" about Opana ER's addiction risks.
February 5, 2016
By Ed Rendell Last year, 44,000 people died of drug overdoses, and 52 percent of them were related to prescription drugs. More than two million Americans are dependent on opioid painkillers, and every day, 44 Americans die of an overdose of these drugs. When the cost of these painkillers becomes too great, addicts will turn to lower-cost heroin. In 2007, there were 373,000 heroin addicts in the United States, and 2,400 deaths resulted from heroin overdoses. By 2014, those numbers ballooned to 914,000 addicts and 10,500 overdose deaths.
August 7, 2015 |
Placed purposefully around Gary Tuggle's new office are small treasures picked up on past assignments: a Don Quixote statue recognizing his work in Trinidad, a Baltimore Ravens cap from his hometown, and, from a visit to Colombia, three dried opium poppies. "I use them as inspiration," he said of the flowers whose seed pods are the source of heroin. "Every time I look at them, it reminds me of how bad the problem is in this country, and how much needs to be done to combat it. " In June, Tuggle reported to work as special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Philadelphia Field Division, which covers Pennsylvania and Delaware.
May 9, 2015 |
Public health officials are bracing for a new wave of hepatitis C infections, one unleashed by the epidemic of prescription painkiller addiction. The bloodborne virus, on the decline nationally until a few years ago, is rising rapidly among adolescents and young adults, especially in white, rural communities. These are the same areas where a devastating epidemic of prescription opioid deaths first showed up over a decade ago, followed by a wave of heroin deaths. Most of the new hepatitis C patients have contracted the virus by injecting drugs, often crushed pain pills.
August 31, 2014 |
A new analysis suggests that states that legalized marijuana for pain relief may have averted some deaths from more dangerous painkillers - prescription opioids. But the study also found that states with medical marijuana laws consistently had higher opioid death rates than states without such laws, showing the complexity of this country's opioid crisis. "States that passed these laws are different than states that didn't pass laws," said lead author Marcus A. Bachhuber, an internal medicine fellow at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.