The Congressional Quarterly reported “government experts” highlighted the problem of prescription painkiller and heroin abuse as Republicans and Democrats sought advice on how to tackle the growing problem. The article noted that Michael Botticelli, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee that “an average about 100 Americans died each day from overdoses in 2010 with opioid pain relievers involved in more than 16,600 of the deaths that year.” Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said that most people “who become addicted to illicit substances began with alcohol or nicotine and transitioned to marijuana and then other drugs.” However, “it isn’t still clear whether it’s because alcohol and nicotine are more accessible or if those substances and marijuana alter the brain to make it more receptive to drugs’ addictive qualities. She said data suggest the latter may be the case,” the article noted.
Groups rally in Massachusetts against new opioid painkiller. The AP reported that various groups seeking to curb the abuse of painkillers “rallied outside the Massachusetts Statehouse on Tuesday to call for more restrictions” on the new opioid painkiller Zohydro (hydrocodone bitartrate). The rally comes amid a new legal challenge to Gov. Deval Patrick’s efforts for stricter guidelines in prescribing the painkiller. In a Federal lawsuit filed Monday, Zogenix, the maker of Zohydro, “argues that Massachusetts’ new restrictions impose ‘draconian’ mandates on doctors and ‘amount to an effective ban of the drug’ that is unconstitutional.” The company seeks an end to any such moves to curb the use of the painkiller, the article noted.
The Wicked Local (MA) also reports the story.
Sen. Manchin seeks DEA intervention for curbs on opioid painkiller. The Hill reported US Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is asking the DEA “to restrict who may prescribe a powerful painkiller that he said is leading to thousands of deaths each year.” The article noted that Manchin has criticized the FDA for approving “prescriptions of drugs that use hydrocodone as a painkiller,” and is probing “whether the drug was approved under a pay-to-play deal.” The article noted that Manchin “wrote in a letter to the FDA” that his state West Virginia has been badly affected by abuse of prescription medicine. He wrote, “Last year alone, almost 17,000 Americans died from prescription drug overdoses, and West Virginia had the highest per capita rate of overdose in the nation.”
From the new release of the American Association for Justice.