Archive for prescription drugs

Study: Medical marijuana could reduce painkiller abuse


legalize pot marijuana smaller

Hey, you know that whole marriage equality wave of support America has experienced recently? There appears to be a similar trend when it comes to legalizing marijuana. That's not only good news for my many friends who appreciate the effects of recreational pot, it's also great news for those who benefit from using medical marijuana.

But wait! The good news gets even better! There's a new study that shows that using medical marijuana could actually reduce the number of overdoses by those who use and/or abuse legal drug pushers' Big Pharma's vast array of painkillers. Per the Los Angeles Times:

The new research, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, finds that deaths associated with the use of opiate drugs fell in 13 states after they legalized medical marijuana. Compared to states with no formal access to marijuana, those that allowed certain patients legal access to cannabis saw a steady drop in opiate-related overdoses that reached 33%, on average, six years after the states' medical marijuana laws took effect. [...]

The results showed that after a state began to implement a medical marijuana law, the rate of its non-intentional opiate overdose fatalities fell compared to those of states without such laws.

And that comparative decline picked up steam over the first six years after the laws went into effect. On average, the statistical analysis showed, states passing medical marijuana laws saw annual reductions of roughly 25% in their opioid-related death rates compared to states with no such laws.

The other upside is economic. Doritos and Oreos sales will soar.

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Big Pharma accused of fraudulently pushing painkillers to "a population of addicts"


it's all about the money Big Pharma

Big Pharma is pushing deadly drugs and addicting my home state of California. Allegedly. Painkillers like OxyContin are involved in more than 16,000 deaths every year. Traffic accidents are now taking a back seat to meds when it comes to causes of deaths.  Per an article in the Los Angeles Times, two counties are now suing drugmakers for violating California laws against false advertising, unfair business practices and creating a public nuisance.

Big Pharma encourages patients, including veterans and the elderly, to request painkillers when they have everyday headaches, arthritis and back pain. Allegedly. The reason the headline includes the phrase "population of addicts" is that heroin use has also increased as a result of all the prescriptions, because it not only creates a similar high, but it's also cheaper, per the lawsuit.

The drug manufacturers say the narcotics they push are safer than they are.

not funny hahaha no

The L.A. Times:

Two California counties sued five of the world's largest narcotics manufacturers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of causing the nation's prescription drug epidemic by waging a "campaign of deception" aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin. [...] The companies employed tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry to "conceal their deceptive marketing and conspiratorial behavior," the suit states.

One such tactic involved the use of leading physicians — known within the companies as "key opinion leaders" — to spread the message to their peers, it says. The drug makers allegedly recruited and paid those physicians to give speeches and write policy papers.

Another marketing ploy was to create and co-opt patient advocacy organizations and medical specialty societies, the suit says. The companies used these front groups to promote narcotic painkillers and to write treatment guidelines that expanded the market, it says.

It was the drug makers' "marketing — and not any medical breakthrough — that rationalized prescribing opioids for chronic pain and opened the floodgates of opioid use and abuse," the suit says.

it's all about the money 2


Bernie Sanders: You can't fix the economy simply by shredding the safety net


GOP it's not about you

What oh what would we Progressives do without Bernie Sanders? In today's Los Angeles Times, he wrote an op-ed laying out in very clear detail how to make wise choices about how to fix the economy.

Sanders, thankfully, is a member of a budget panel composed of Democratic, Republican and independent Senate and House members doing what they can, supposedly, to avoid another GOP government shutdown.

Senator Sanders explains how to move forward (as opposed to the same old backward, destructive GOP ideas), and how we managed to go from healthy surpluses to (unnecessary) deficits.

He reminds us that by the end of President Clinton's presidency, we had a a $236-billion surplus, and that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted a 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, meaning we could have erased the national debt by 2011.

Too bad Republicans screwed that up.

And of course, they're blaming President Obama for the horrible outcomes of their horrible policies and horrible obstruction. Here's how it really went down:

  • GW Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq wars were not paid for.
  • Those wars cost us up to $6 trillion.
  • Those wars were put on our national credit card.
  • Bush signed Congress's costly prescription drug bill.
  • That costly prescription drug program was not paid for either.
  • Bush and Congress gave big fat tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations.
  • As a result, revenue went down.
  • The 2008 recession, caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, also caused revenue to drop.
  • Big fat surpluses turned into big fat deficits.

tadaa3Now gather 'round kiddies, because it's Hypocrisy Time!


Interestingly, today's "deficit hawks" in Congress — Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and other conservative Republicans — voted for those measures that drove up deficits. Now that they're worried about deficits again, they want to dismantle virtually every social program designed to protect working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor.

In other words, it's OK to spend trillions on a war we should never have waged in Iraq and to provide huge tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations.


Sanders goes on to say that austerity doesn't work, because it clearly hurts those who are already suffering.

Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. [...]

At a time when we now spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we can make judicious cuts in our armed forces without compromising our military capability.

He also thinks it would be a swell idea if Congress members started, you know, listening to the American people, especially because so many polls show that we don't want cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In fact, according to a recent National Journal poll, 81% do not want to cut Medicare at all, 76% do not want to cut Social Security at all, and 60% do not want to cut Medicaid at all. Other polls make it clear that Americans believe that the wealthiest among us and large corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.

So, Republicans (and even some Dems), how about paying more attention to us, the voters, instead of trying to grab it all for yourselves? It's not about you. It's about all of us. It's about We the People.


I Wanna New Drug



I had some dental surgery recently which involved a bone graft. For the pain they gave me Vicodin.

I have a liver/kidney ailment and for pain management, they give me Vicodin.

It seems everyone I talk to is given this brand of Hydrocodone when they have a pain issue. It's sort of yesterday's "Take two Aspirin and call me in the morning" kind of panacea. Vicodin, good for whatever ails you.

And I have to say that it has worked amazingly well for me. I've notice no side effects, I only take it when needed and my life goes on, comfortably physically.

Evidently lots of other people are using it, successfully, too. So its time for the FDA to poke it's nose into the issue to see how the medication is used and abused. I appreciate their concern and my protection. Well, sort of.

The New York Times reports:

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday recommended tighter controls on how doctors prescribe the most commonly used narcotic painkillers, changes that are expected to take place as early as next year.

The move, which represents a major policy shift, follows a decade-long debate over whether the widely abused drugs, which contain the narcotic hydrocodone, should be controlled as tightly as more powerful painkillers like OxyContin.

The drugs at issue contain a combination of hydrocodone and an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen or aspirin and are sold either as generics or under brand names like Vicodin or Lortab. Doctors use the medications to treat pain from injuries, arthritis, dental extractions and other problems.

That sure got my attention. Am I going to be left in lingering pain, or am I going to have to find a new drug?

Technically, the change involves the reclassification of hydrocodone-containing painkillersasSchedule II medications from their current classification as Schedule III drugs. The scheduling system, which is overseen by the Drug Enforcement Administration, classifies drugs based on their medical use and their potential for abuse and addiction.

Drug classifications are a tricky thing. And they don't always make sense. According to the DEA who classifies marijuana with heroin and ecstacy (absolutely ridiculous but true) there's now a solid threat that requires changing the classification of a medication solely for the purpose of requiring twice as many doctors visits than previously to receive this pain-saving medication. That's right. It doesn't limit the distribution, only the number of refills a doctor can write without seeing you.

So in essence, this is a forced office-visit to your doctor, raising our healthcare costs, when it's not changing anyone's habits. If you think your doctor's are busy enough already, and then add the new patients from Obamacare who now can see a physician, how does this make sense?

While you ponder that conundrum, chew on this:  This recommendation requires the approval of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

That's the same, Kathleen Sebelius-led DHHS, responsible for the "successful" Obamacare computer rollout. I think she's got a bigger headache than adding this to her "must do" list.  Maybe she should just take two Vicodin and call us in the morning. We may all feel better then. And maybe, if we're lucky, the online site will finally be working. Then we can ween her off the hydrocodone she wants to reschedule.