NCADD-SD News & Blog

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Massachusetts Prosecutors Drop More than 21,000 Drug Cases Due to Lab Scandal

Massachusetts Prosecutors Drop More than 21,000 Drug Cases Due to Lab Scandal

Prosecutors in Massachusetts have dropped more than 21,000 low-level drug cases because of a drug lab scandal.

A chemist at the lab admitted to tampering with evidence, forging test results and lying about it.

The chemist, Annie Dookhan, served three years in prison and was released last year, NBC News reports.

There is a second scandal at another drug lab in Massachusetts, involving a chemist who admitted to using drugs on the job, which has threatened thousands more convictions, the article notes.

Thousands of convictions have been undermined by lab scandals in eight states in the last decade, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Drug Companies Seeking to Develop Less Addictive Pain Drugs

Drug Companies Seeking to Develop Less Addictive Pain Drugs

Pharmaceutical companies are working to develop less addictive pain drugs, according to the Associated Press.

Companies are researching drugs that target specific pathways and types of pain, instead of acting broadly in the brain. One example of this type of drug is Enbrel, which treats a key feature of rheumatoid arthritis.

Other drugs being tested would prevent the need for opioids. One numbs a wound for several days and reduces inflammation, thereby decreasing pain after surgery. The hope is these drugs will lessen the chance of developing chronic pain that might require opioids.

Researchers are also looking for new sources for pain medicines, including drugs from silk, hot chili peppers and the venom of snakes and snails. They are also testing existing seizure and depression medicines for their ability to treat pain.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Documents About Prince’s Death Show He Hid Opioid Pills in Vitamin and Aspirin Bottles

Documents About Prince’s Death Show He Hid Opioid Pills in Vitamin and Aspirin Bottles

Newly released court documents related to the investigation into Prince’s death reveal he hid some opioid pills in over-the-counter vitamin and aspirin bottles.

The New York Times reports that in at least one instance, Prince procured an opioid prescription in the name of a personal friend and employee.

Prince was found dead in his home in April 2016, after he ingested a fatal amount of fentanyl, an opioid often used to make counterfeit pills that are sold illegally as oxycodone and other pain relievers.

Prince reportedly suffered hip pain after decades of strenuous performances. He regularly jumped onstage in platform heels.

He began taking painkillers for his hip pain years ago, and had hip surgery in the mid-2000s. He was then prescribed more pain medicine.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Task Force Aims to Impose Standards on Addiction Treatment Field

Task Force Aims to Impose Standards on Addiction Treatment Field

A group of addiction treatment experts and insurance company executives have formed a task force that aims to impose standards on the addiction treatment field, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Substance Use Treatment Task Force will evaluate treatment approaches shown to be most effective, and draft a plan to ensure that state agencies and insurance companies require addiction treatment centers to use those approaches as a condition for licensing and payment.

The group includes Penny Mills, Chief Executive of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; Michael Botticelli, former Director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy; and officials from Cigna and UnitedHealth Group. Gary Mendell, founder of the addiction advocacy group Shatterproof, is organizing the task force.

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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Federal Government Will Provide $485 Million for Opioid Prevention, Treatment

Federal Government Will Provide $485 Million for Opioid Prevention, Treatment

The Trump Administration will soon provide $485 million in grant money to states for prevention and treatment programs aimed at addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, the Associated Press reports.

The funding is the first of two rounds provided for in the 21st Century Cures Act, signed by President Obama in December. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price said another half-billion dollars in state grants will follow in 2018.

According to a HHS news release, “Funding will support a comprehensive array of prevention, treatment, and recovery services depending on the needs of recipients. States and territories were awarded funds based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment.”

To view a breakdown of first year funding by states and territories, click here

Original linkOriginal author: Ezra
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NCADD News Service

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) provides education, information, help and hope to the public. It advocates prevention, intervention and treatment through offices in New York and Washington, and a nationwide network of Affiliates.