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United States Senate Focuses on Opioids

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, along with 10 of his Republican Committee colleagues, recently called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to increase safeguards against opioid fraud. In the letter, the senators request information about HHS’ measures to prevent opioid abuse among Medicare Part D providers and beneficiaries. The letter requests details regarding the HHS Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report issued last July, which found that one in three Medicare Part D beneficiaries received a prescription opioid in 2016 – as many as 500,000 of those beneficiaries were receiving high amounts of opioids and nearly 90,000 beneficiaries were deemed to be at serious risk. The report also identified roughly 400 prescribers with questionable opioid prescription patterns for those beneficiaries at serious risk. The senators requested additional information of HHS regarding the OIG’s findings, including information on the most prevalent opioid related fraud schemes identified in the report; prevention efforts HHS intends to undertake in the wake of these findings; along with a request for specific congressional recommendations as to additional authority that may be needed to protect beneficiaries and prevent fraud and abuse of opioids. The senators also request further detail regarding the 400 prescribers with questionable opioid prescription patterns and the subsequent actions HHS intends to take to follow-up with these ...
Source: Policy and Medicine - Category: American Health Authors: Source Type: blogs

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The widespread U.S. opioid &overdose crisis is an ever-increasing tragic concern for everyone: writhing victims, family members being fain to see their relatives suffer or die, doctors prescribing opioid pain-killers what they thought before as safe, and regulators imposed to handle a tough situation. Addiction. It’s painful to even read about the skyrocketing numbers of people suffering, thus we decided to map how digital health could help tackle the opioid crisis. Why is it so difficult to deal with the opioid crisis? Once you become addicted, it sticks with you for a long time, if not for life, just as a ...
Source: The Medical Futurist - Category: Information Technology Authors: Tags: Bioethics Mobile Health Virtual Reality in Medicine AI artificial intelligence data data analytics drugs future gc3 Innovation opioid opioid crisis pharma technology wearables Source Type: blogs
In 2015, the opioid crisis was escalating to emergency-level proportions, claiming as many lives as car accidents. As the daughter of a longtime drug addict, the current burgeoning opioid epidemic managed to be both familiar and strange to me at the same time. My mother developed her addictions during the height of drug epidemics that occurred in New York City in the mid-1980s. The timeframe also marked the infancy of the AIDS crisis and the height of Reagan-era “Just Say No” programs. Back then, addiction was treated and viewed more as a crime than a disease, supposedly committed by scoundrels and misfits. The...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Addiction Behavioral Health Source Type: blogs
By DAVID HARLOW, MD The opioid crisis has been upon us for years now, and we are now seeing the problem become more pervasive, with more than 90 deaths per day in the U.S. due to this scourge. The president recently said he would be declaring a public health emergency (which would free up some funds) but has not done so as of this writing. The public health threat is so persistent that it calls for responses on many levels, and those responses are coming. Some have been in place for a while, some are more recent. These responses may be broken down into a number of different categories: Broader availability of naloxone (an...
Source: The Health Care Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Charlie Baker Harlow Internet Massachussetts Opioid Opioid crisis Source Type: blogs
Opioids are frequently prescribed for chronic pain. For the past 2 decades, long-term opioid analgesic therapy was considered the cornerstone of effective pain management for chronic nonmalignant conditions, despite a lack of documented effectiveness and safety, with the attendant risk of addiction, overdose, and death. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used effectively to treat chronic pain, either as a stand-alone treatment or with other nonopioid pharmacological treatments. CBT improves pain-related outcomes along with mobility, quality of life, and disability and mood outcomes. Compared with long-term use of op...
Source: Journal of Psychiatric Practice - Category: Psychiatry Tags: Articles Source Type: research
A coalition of 41 states' attorneys general have served five major opioid manufacturers with subpoenas seeking information about how these companies marketed and sold prescription opioids. The coalition is also demanding documents and information related to distribution practices from three drug distributors. The investigative subpoenas and document requests were sent to pharmaceutical manufacturers Endo International, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd./Cephalon Inc. and Allergan. The group also served a supplemental investigative subpoena to Purdue Pharma. Documents were also requested of three ...
Source: Policy and Medicine - Category: American Health Authors: Source Type: blogs
Authors: Borenstein DG, Hassett AL, Pisetsky D Abstract The Pain Management Task Force of the American College of Rheumatology published a report in 2010 highlighting pain management as a fundamental aspect of clinical practice, training and research. In the interim, the consideration of pain as a focus of attention of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals has become even more challenging than in 2010 because of the epidemic of opiate addiction and overdose death. The characterisation of categories of pain by mechanism (e.g., inflammation, joint degeneration, abnormalities of central pain processing...
Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology - Category: Rheumatology Tags: Clin Exp Rheumatol Source Type: research
In the last two decades, prescribing rates for opioids have increased nearly three-fold, from 76 million prescriptions in 1991 to approximately 207 million prescriptions in 2013.  This remarkable volume of opioid prescribing is unique to the United States, where 2015 prescribing amounts were nearly four times those in Europe.   Sadly, this much more frequent prescribing of addictive medications is connected to an epidemic of deaths related to abuse of opiates and other drugs of abuse.  Drug overdose deaths are now considered a national emergency, topping 59,000 in 2016.  The abuse of opioids can be...
Source: Health Affairs Blog - Category: Health Management Authors: Tags: Costs and Spending Insurance and Coverage Organization and Delivery Payment Policy opiods PBMs Source Type: blogs
In the midst of an opioid addiction epidemic, a new survey of Americans has found that most prefer to try a non-drug approach to treating their pain over taking medications prescribed by their doctor. The new report, part of the Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Study of Americans, surveyed about 6,300 adults. Nearly two thirds said that they had neck or back pain so great they sought a health care provider for relief, and 54% said they had neck or back pain for at least five years. Yet 78% said they preferred to try other ways to address their physical pain before taking drugs. Still, many Americans said they ...
Source: TIME.com: Top Science and Health Stories - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Addiction Back Pain back pain relief chronic pain Gallup Heroin how to treat back pain how to treat pain natural pain relief Opioid opioids pain killers prescription pain killers Source Type: news
ConclusionsOur current opioid prescription practice for postoperative pain management may exceed what patients need.
Source: International Urogynecology Journal - Category: OBGYN Source Type: research
In response to the growing heroin epidemic in the United States, the National Library of Medicine’s Specialized Information Services has created a portal to provide resources and information on prescribing, overdose, medication-assisted treatment, and recovery. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is defined as: “A primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward an...
Source: Dragonfly - Category: Databases & Libraries Authors: Tags: News from NLM Public Health Source Type: news
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