Overdose Risks Higher During Pandemic

A recent article from NPR highlighted new risks for drug users who are struggling to find legitimate drugs during the pandemic. People hoarding supplies and illicit supply drying up due to COVID-19 restrictions have led to an increase in overdoses, with many of them deadly. Why Are People Overdosing More? One of the reasons opioid use has become more dangerous is the halting of the supply. Fewer drugs mean more customers for street dealers. Sometimes, they can’t get it from their “regular guy” and must try somebody new. There are no standard formulations for illicit street drugs—some users overdose due to a different, more potent formulation than they are used to using. Other drug users may end up with a pill that’s laced with fentanyl, a drug that’s 50 to 100 times stronger than Morphine. Most people who seek out opioids on the street can’t tolerate such a high threshold; fentanyl is one of the primary causes of a deadly overdose in America today. Drug Influx Halted, But It’s…

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Opioid Victims, Families Can Begin Suing Purdue Pharma

A federal judge has decided that victims of the opioid epidemic have the right to sue Purdue Pharma for damages, but all claims must be filed by June 30, 2020. This is when the company will begin its bankruptcy proceedings. Purdue has also reached a settlement with a portion of some states and local governments. Although the settlement amount has not been disclosed, it’s been reported that it could be worth more than $10 billion. The presiding Judge, Robert Drain, says it’s important to note that an official amount for settlement has not yet been reached. What is Purdue Settling For? Purdue Pharma has faced hundreds of lawsuits accusing them of creating the opioid epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans in the past several years. They are accused of using coercive marketing tactics with doctors, even though they knew there were addictive properties in their opioids like Oxycontin. They often would encourage doctors to “titrate up” patients, even though the level of pain medication prescribed to…

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Richmond Tests “First Responders for Recovery” Program

In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, Richmond Virginia launched a new program meant to save the lives of people struggling with addiction. The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) and Richmond City Health District (RCHD) announced the new initiative, dubbed “First Responders for Recovery”. The program, modeled as an evidence-based program, helps people struggling with substance use by connecting them to local recovery resources. The program uses a Peer Recovery Specialist named Courtney Nunnally. Courtney herself is a person in recovery. She’s been inspired to help others who struggle and offer them some hope.  “This program is a way for me to give others hope and a path to recovery and I really believe it will save lives.” What Do “First Responders for Recovery” Do? As a Peer Recovery Specialist, Courtney offers a unique perspective to EMTs and paramedics and EMTs. When a person overdoses, they are often feeling vulnerable and need guidance. They may be receptive to trying to get clean and sober, but overwhelmed or without the resources…

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Prescription Drug Overdose Remains a U.S. Epidemic, Painkillers Big Part of the Problem

We've been chronicling how widespread prescription drug abuse has become a problem of epidemic proportions. According to recent numbers released by the CDC, the number of deaths caused by prescription drug overdose serves as shocking evidence of the problem. There are now more deaths annually from overdose of prescription drugs than car accidents. This is the the result of a steep increase in prescription drug abuse that has occurred over the last two decades. These numbers beg the question of what is behind the trend. Why Prescription Drug Abuse is so Pervasive Prescription painkillers are the key players in prescription drug related deaths. Prescription painkillers now rank as third in popularity among teens who abuse, right after alcohol and marijuana. According to the FDA, one out of every seven teenagers reports prescription painkiller abuse for the purposes of getting high over the course of a year. It is possible that part of what is driving this is easy accessibility and a misconception of prescription painkillers. For many, obtaining a…

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