How Much Does It Hurt? – By Stephen S. Hall Published Jun 8, 2014


Zohydro is the new FDA-approved painkiller that some doctors think the FDA had no business approving. And in ERs across America, they’re anxiously awaiting the fallout.

(Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine)

Even before a single doctor in the United States had written a prescription for Zohydro, the controversial long-acting painkiller approved by the Food and Drug Administration last October, potential users were already dreaming up possible street names. “How many times will this be said in the future,” someone posted on Opiophile, an online forum for people who like to share their drug experiences and expertise. “Got any of dem Zoh’s?” There were other possibilities: Zs, Zodros, and Zorros.

Another voiced chimed in: “I like Zorros … Yeah, has a ring to it.” This was on October 26, 2013, less than 24 hours after the FDA announced its decision.

And in April, even before Nima Majlesi, an emergency-room physician at Staten Island University Hospital, had seen a single report of an overdose or death related to Zohydro in the borough, he and his fellow doctor Amit Gupta were searching websites for the first anecdotal, and decidedly unofficial, accounts of its recreational use. Majlesi logged on to another well-known drug-use site to see if anyone had posted an opening-night review.

“How do you spell it again?” he asked Gupta, with whom he shares an unadorned office a few feet from the emergency room.

“Z-O-H-Y-D-R-O,” Gupta said, and Majlesi repeated the letters aloud as he typed them into a site called Erowid.

If the prescription-painkiller epidemic in America is a heartland phenomenon, as is often said, the heartland begins just beyond the toll plaza of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. As New York City Department of Health epidemiologists have helplessly documented over the past ten years, opioid abuse has skyrocketed on Staten Island, with three times the rate of overdose deaths of the rest of the city. In a borough where police have busted illegal prescription-drug-selling operations in everything from a neighborhood deli to an ice-cream truck, Majlesi and Gupta have seen and heard it all: the urgent calls of EMS teams phoning in reports of suspected overdoses as ambulance crews race to the hospital, lethargic or comatose patients (often young adults in their 20s and 30s) wheeled into the ER. Sometimes the overdose is accidental. Often there’s nothing to do because first responders didn’t arrive in time.

Article continues:

http://nymag.com/health/bestdoctors/2014/zohydro-2014-6/

Prescription Drugs More Deadly Than Car Accidents, Guns, and Suicide – `Charlotte Lytton 05.25.14


America, we’ve got a problem: More than 100 people die each day in the U.S. because of prescription drugs.

The Daily Beast

America is in the throes of a prescription drug epidemic. More people die every day from that addiction than gunshot wounds, car accidents, or suicide—with 100 people losing their lives daily as a result of misusing medication.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse has some pretty shocking statistics detailing just how bad America’s addiction has become. For example: the US, which holds 5 percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 75 percent of global prescription drug use; 52 million people over the age of 12 have used this medication for purposes outside of what they are intended for; enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult every four hours for a month; over half of these pills are obtained for free from a friend or family member; there are 5.1 million abusers of painkillers, 2.2 million who illegitimately take tranquilizers, and 1.1 million needlessly popping stimulants.

America, we’ve got a problem.

Painkiller addiction is also a well-known celebrity health hazard, with the likes of Winona Ryder, Jamie Lee Curtis, Matthew Perry, Charlie Sheen, and dozens more attributing their downward spirals to dependence on drugs including OxyContin, oxycodone, and Vicodin. There’s also a major concern that Hollywood’s predilection for prescription drugs in some way glamorizes their use, making it seem as though this is a trend people should be jumping on the back of and subsequently pushing their doctors for unnecessary pills in a bid to emulate their screen idols.

And it’s not just an issue limited to the young and aimless: over 300,000 seniors in the US are misusing their medication. Mel Pohl, director at the Las Vegas Recovery Center, said:  “There’s this growing group of seniors, they have pain, they have anxiety … and a lot of (doctors) have one thing in their tool box—a prescription pad. The doctor wants to make their life better, so they start on the meds.”

Article continues:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/25/prescriptions-drugs-more-deadly-than-car-accidents-guns-and-suicide.html

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