What is Being Done to Protect Opioid Consumers?

National Association of Attorneys General meeting 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE -- The National Association of Attorneys General has pledged to help draft possible consumer training solutions as protection in dealing with health care patients that were prescribed opioids by their doctors, according to a press release. They made the announcement on their website.

Photo: L to R---NC AG Roy Cooper; Mississippi AG Jim Hood; VP Biden; AG Gansler and Delaware AG Beau Biden by Doug Gansler at National Association of Attorneys General meeting 2013.

The Attorneys General are discussing and developing a program called Opioid Abuse Consumer Protection and Enforcement Training. The group said more details will be provided at a conference taking place for the NAAG in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in February 2018. Nominations will be made by the NAAG for training participants who will be announced this November.

Course materials, according to the press release, includes an overview of opoid issues.It covers "the dangers of abuse, the history of prescribing practices, the development of “pill mills,” and the impact of off-label marketing and online pharmacies. Participants will learn about the implications of opioid abuse on society, including health care costs, the potential for fraud, the dangers of “drugged driving,” and the environmental damage caused by the improper disposal of prescription drugs."

Participants will also learn about how involved stakeholders and others can collaborate to make a difference. Ryan Greenstein is the NAGTRI Program Specialist. He can be reached at 202-326-6262 or rgreenstein@naag.org.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Public Radio, a National Public Radio and American Public Media affiliate, recently aired a broadcast interview with a New York Times reporter who had experience covering both the legal and health care sagas surrounding tobacco and opioid drugs. He said the opioid legal wave is coming much faster because, unlike the long-term damage of tobacco, painkiller addiction and death happens much quicker. The media is now taking much notice, but according to the NYTimes reporter and author of "Pain Killer: A 'Wonder' Drug's Trail of Addiction and Death". Lenny Bernstein talked about how the media really failed in basic journalism to hold accountable public officials, big pharma and the junk science that was being demonstrated and eventually led to some criminal convictions.

According to the NPR report, Bernstein details how the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was derailed in their efforts to curtail legislation that would let big pharma pump pills into communities across the nation. This was because a retired DEA lawyer familiar with the legal tactics of the agency made their work more difficult and the legislation was passed and rightly criticized recently in a bipartisan effort to discuss the opioid health crisis in the United States. Also integral was the junk science being held up to legitimize the frequent use of opioids, which was a profitable business for the pharmaceutical industry. Later the industry would say it's in favor of repealing the same legislation that made that profit possible, according to Bernstein. Also, Bernstein discussed other players and their roles, including the illicit players overseas and domestically who pump dangerous derivatives and other dangerous substances like Fentynyl onto American streets as a heroin or opioid pill alternative. These drugs are often far more potent and deadly. Vice reported on a Russian alternative to heroin called Crocodile that eats skin from the inside out, which has also made its way to the Yankee country. Download the NPR stream here to listen.