Docs Check Mail for Ways to Return — and Ruin — Extra Opioids

Mail carriers could play a key role in reducing opioid misuse, according to researchers and regulators. One strategy under consideration by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would require that opioid analgesics be dispensed with prepaid mail-back envelopes so patients can return leftover medication. Another approach — which is not part of the FDA … Read more

No More Autopilot Opioids After Cesarean Delivery

A group of clinicians is hoping to prompt a rethink of how opioids are prescribed to new mothers after cesarean deliveries after finding that sending patients home with smaller prescriptions led to dramatic drops in use of the drugs. In research scheduled to be presented Saturday at the 2022 annual meeting of the American College … Read more

J&J’s Janssen Settles With WVa for $99M in Opioid Lawsuit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia will receive $99 million in a settlement finalized Monday with Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. over the drugmaker’s role in perpetuating the opioid crisis in the state that has long led the nation in drug overdose deaths. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said during a news briefing … Read more

New Insight Into How Psychedelics Work

What causes the dramatic alterations in subjective awareness experienced during a psychedelic “trip?” A new study maps anatomical changes in specific neurotransmitter responsible systems and brain regions that may be for these effects. Investigators gathered over 6800 accounts from individuals who had taken one of 27 different psychedelic compounds. Using a machine learning strategy, they … Read more

Medications for Opioid Addiction Vastly Underutilized

Despite a record number of drug overdose deaths in the US and a large body of evidence supporting the efficacy of medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) these drugs remain vastly underutilized, new research shows. Based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), investigators found only one in four … Read more

Nursing Board Discriminates Against Those Seeking Opioid Help: DOJ

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) says the Indiana State Nursing Board discriminates against nurses with opioid use disorder (OUD), according to findings of a recently released investigation. Specifically, the board “violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by prohibiting nurses who take medication to treat OUD from participating in the Indiana State Nursing Assistance … Read more

Will Physician Intent Matter in SCOTUS Pill Mill Cases?

Legal experts are divided on whether the US Supreme Court’s eventual decision on the cases of two physicians convicted for illegal opioid distribution will have precedent-setting implications for medicine. Attorneys for Xiulu Ruan, MD, and Shakeel Kahn, MD, both pain management specialists, argued — along with some medical organizations, business groups, and law professors, through … Read more

12 Physicians Sentenced in Illegal Opioid, Billing Fraud Scheme

Twelve physicians in Michigan and Ohio were to prison because of their involvement in distributing 6.6 million opioid pills, according to the US Department of Justice (DOJ). The defendants’ activities also resulted in more than $250 million in false billings. “It is unconscionable that doctors and healthcare professionals would violate their oath to do no … Read more

FDA, DEA Pushed to Make Gabapentin a Controlled Substance

In a bid to stop abuse and diversion of the anticonvulsant gabapentin, a watchdog group is petitioning federal regulators to make the drug a controlled substance. The nonprofit group Public Citizen has filed a petition with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), arguing that medication’s risks additional safeguards. … Read more

Former Physician Sentenced to 20 Years in Pill Mill Case

A former pain medicine physician received a sentence of 20 years in prison for selling opioids and writing prescriptions for patients who were abusing or diverting the medications. Patrick Titus, 58, operated Lighthouse Internal Medicine in Milford, Delaware, from 2005 to 2014. Federal prosecutors said Titus unlawfully distributed or dispensed opioids including fentanyl, morphine, methadone, … Read more