Here’s what’s happening in recovery news for the week ending October 27, 2017.
President Trump’s big announcement on Thursday, October 26, 2017, declared an emergency, but it wasn’t the type of emergency some were expecting. He didn’t declare a national disasters like the ones often declared during blizzards, widespread fires, and hurricanes. Those types of emergencies allow for the immediate release of federal FEMA funds.
Instead, he declared a public health emergency. This type of emergency could help us get better results, but it lacks the quick fix many so desperately want. Rafael Lemaitre was the communications director for the White House Drug Policy Office under President Obama’s administration.
He explains “I do think the Public Health Service Act is more appropriate route to take than the Stafford Act designation,” he said. “I worked at FEMA for two years and dealt with multiple disasters. The Stafford Act is not structured to deal with a long term, complicated public health crisis like the opioid crisis.”
Two Important Recovery News Details Fall Through The Cracks
1) Trump’s order relies heavily on the presidential commission he convened earlier this year, yet they urged the President to use either the Public Health Services Act or the Stafford Act to declare a state of emergency. New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie wrote:
“The first and most urgent recommendation of this commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act. With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
2) Way back in August, the reports surrounding this declaration said the national emergency declaration would expanding treatment facilities and supplying police officers with the anti-overdose remedy naloxone. This need wasn’t discussed yesterday.
A One Cup Read:
CNN’s Dan Merica did a great job explaining the difference between the types of emergencies. It’s an easy recovery news read. One cup should do it, just make sure you pick a dark roast.
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful drug. It was only meant for cancer patients who were fighting severe pain. On the streets, Fentanyl is cut with heroin, and it’s responsible for many of the opioid overdoses.
John Kapoor is the former CEO of Insys Therapeutics. Insys created Subsys, which transmits an extremely powerful dose of narcotic fentanyl in spray form. Patients place the drug under their tongue for fast, potent pain relief.
Kappor and his company are accused of:
- Bribing doctors to write “large numbers of prescriptions for the patients, most of whom were not diagnosed with cancer.”
- Misleading insurance companies who were reluctant to approve the payments for the drug when it wasn’t prescribed appropriately.
A Two Cup Read:
This recovery news article has a lot of legal jargon. It’s a tough read unless you’ve had enough coffee. First, many speculate that Kappor is only the first of many to be accused. Second, when prosecutors say Kapoor’s charges, which include mail and wire fraud, I can’t help but think of John Grisham’s The Firm.
Joseph Hamilton understands the struggle that drug addicts go through because he spent years with a girlfriend who abused prescription drugs. “I told her one day, I’m gonna come up with something you can’t argue with. The doctors will know exactly how you’ve taken you’re medicine, and you won’t be able to get it until it’s due.” But that day didn’t come soon enough. “Last time she was on life support she didn’t come back,” Hamilton said.
Big Pharma Wants The Bottle Stopped
Hamilton got the patent three months ago and said a pharmaceutical company approached him. They offered him more than one million dollars for the patent to keep the bottles off the market.
He refused, saying this is too important for him to sell out and be silenced now.
“People are dying every day. People are losing their kids, their husbands, wives, parents, their lives to opioids,” he said.
Hamilton already has the plaststics factory, the computer programmers, and the patent; he just needs the money to mass produce the bottles.
A Hot Cocoa Read:
This man’s passion for helping others is heartwarming. Critics claim this bottle would not stop someone who is addicted. Others say people will just turn to the streets. What if his bottle prevents someone who’s taking post-op pain pills from becoming addicted?
These days, former security guard, Hector Mata spends most of his time in the bathroom. Officially known as the Corner Project, Hector works for a place where people can exchange used needles for clean ones. Unfortunately, once heroin users get their clean needles, they often head to the bathroom to inject drugs. Not surprisingly, there was an overdose in the bathroom, followed by another and so on.
If a user in the bathroom doesn’t respond on the check-in, Mata, or someone similarly trained, will press a button to unlock the door. Mata rushes in, armed with a syringe full of naloxone. Naloxone is also known as Narcan. Narcan is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. After seven years and at least 25 overdoses, he says he has never failed.
We are in the worst drug crisis in American history. Americans consume more than 80% of the world’s supply of opioid pain pills, even though we are less than 5% of the world’s population. Many of those prescriptions have led to heroin use; three out of four new heroin users started with prescription narcotics.
A Hot Cocoa Read:
This is a heartwarming yet controversial recovery news must read. The idea of harm-reduction in addiction and recovery is polarizing. Hector and other workers at the Corner Project are committed to saving lives. Thank you Dr. Gupta for shining a light on these unsung heroes.
Want help, but not sure where to start? Click here try our self-assessment guide.
Leave a comment below
Pam is the author of Co-dependent In The Kitchen, and she's a contributing editor for Recovery Guidance. She's a recovery advocate who likes long walks on the beach and chocolate.