9/18/2012, How Big Pharma Hooked America on Legal Heroin

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-big-pharma-hooked-america-on-legal-heroin

But Purdue parlayed their time-release system not only into the patent for OxyContin. They also went on a PR blitz, claiming their drug was unique because of the time-release element and implied that it was so difficult to abuse that the risk of addiction was “under 1%.”

OxyContin became an instant hit among doctors, many of whom saw it as a wonder drug in the battle against the debilitating effects of chronic pain. As the good news spread sales of the drug mushroomed, rising from $40 million in 1996 to more than $1 billion in 2001, outstripping even Viagra. Meanwhile, Purdue’s campaign to extend the use of powerful narcotics to ordinary chronic ailments – for which the drug has been well documented to help – proved highly successful. By 2003, over half of the OxyContin prescriptions written in the United States were written by a primary care physician…

But doctors already regularly prescribe Oxy for children suffering conditions of moderate or severe pain, a practice that’s accompanied by little to no data predicting how it might affect them and what their long-term outcomes might be…

A 2008 study published in the journal Academic Pediatrics found that 62 percent of pediatric outpatient visits resulted in the prescription of a drug for off-label use. When you look at only the prescription of pain medications, the number jumps to 86 percent…

Three top executives, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of being liable for misleading regulators, the public and doctors about the risk of addiction, were fined a combined total of $35 million. None faced prison. And while the larger $600 million fine was one of the largest ever levied against a pharmaceutical company, it represented less than half of Purdue Pharma’s annual OxyContin sales…

There was a salient thread connecting all the OxyContin addicts I spoke with, and that’s how fast they all said it happens, how quickly they all became addicted, and how surprised they were at their physical dependence. Each of them recited a litany of opioid substances that they had abused in various combinations: Methadone, heroin, Diuladid, Percocet, Suboxone, Vicodin, and Morphine. They swallowed, snorted, shot, and free-based the pills, sometimes even mixing them with crack. But they all told me that the first opioid that really got them, the one that was easiest to get and gave the most powerful high, was OxyContin…

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the lure of Oxy… I took it at varying doses for quite some time, and I don’t think I would choose to take it again. Looking back, I just don’t think it worked that well.

None of the men and women I spoke with used street heroin before taking OxyContin. All of them used it after using OxyContin. In fact, since Purdue Pharma introduced a reformulated OxyContin in 2010 containing chemical safety-nets meant to render it less easily abused — the pills no longer dissolve in water, making them more difficult to cook and shoot intravenously — the number of addicts switching to heroin has skyrocketed.

In a study of 2,500 OxyContin addicts followed from July 2009 until March 2012, researchers found a 17 percent drop in OxyContin abuse. The study found that almost one-fourth of participants were able to abuse OxyContin despite the reformulation. Sixty-six percent switched to heroin. Many have also latched onto to Opana, another painkiller. But according to the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, OxyContin’s falling street price is a sign that the $100 million reformulation is working at thwarting abuse of the drug. Getting high on the new Oxy requires swallowing three or four pills rather than one, but abusers are still finding unusual ways to break down their safety mechanism, through microwaving and freezing, as well as carefully filing them down to powder…

The number of armed robberies on pharmacies in the United States rose 81 percent between 2006 and 2010, concurrent with the rise of opioid abuse and addiction. Purdue launched Rx Patrol as a resource for pharmacists. They provide up-to-the-minute crime statistics — as of September 16, 2012, there have been 2,527 robberies and 1,541 burglaries at pharmacies since the site began compiling data in 2002..

All of the stories in this article are about drug addicts who started self-medicating at a very young age… and to blame Big Pharma products isn’t right.  The people in this article would have become addicted to some substance — whether opioids were available or not.

9/4/2014, Making Money from Addiction

Twenty Facts on America’s Big Pharma Nightmare

http://www.globalresearch.ca/making-money-from-addiction-30-million-americans-on-antidepressants-and-20-other-facts-about-americas-big-pharma-nightmare/5399444

You see, the reality of the matter is that some of these “legal drugs” are actually some of the most addictive substances on the entire planet. And when they start raising the prices on those drugs [and/or restricting access], there isn’t much that the addicts can do about it…

According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and 20 percent of all Americans are on at least five prescription drugs…

In 2010, the average teen in the United States was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs. Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression…

A very disturbing Government Accountability Office report found that approximately one-third of all foster children in the United States are on at least one psychiatric drug…

According to the New York Times, more than 30 million Americans are currently taking antidepressants… If all of these antidepressants are helping, then why are more Americans killing themselves? The suicide rate for Americans between the ages of 35 and 64 increased by nearly 30 percent between 1999 and 2010. The number of Americans that die by suicide is now greater than the number of Americans that die as a result of car accidents every year…

4/2014, How to Fix Rehab: Expert Who Lost Son to Addiction Has a Plan

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/how-fix-rehab-expert-who-lost-son-addiction-has-plan-n67946

In the second half of 2009 and early 2010, McLellan helped lobby substance abuse treatment into the Affordable Care Act. As of January 1, addiction and mental health care is considered one of 10 essential pillars of national health…

Today almost every drug and alcohol program is based on Wilson’s model, despite a success rate below 10 percent and research suggesting that at least a fifth of programs make people worse…

That’s because the ACA adopts the view of most researchers, who consider addiction to be an incurable chronic disease, something that has to be managed for life. It should force insurance companies to fund a diabetes-level continuum of care, and pressure treatment programs to provide the most effective possible care, or lose millions of new customers. Or so goes the economic theory…

10/23/2014, Can medical marijuana solve our opioid addiction problem?

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/fault-lines/articles/2014/10/23/can-medical-marijuanasolveouropioidaddictionproblem.html

But one of the keys to his post-painkiller existence has been medical marijuana…

Manufacturers of opioid drugs, like Perdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, financially back several high-profile groups that lobby against marijuana legalization across the country…

A recent study Wilsey led showed that patients can get short term pain relief from cannabis that contains only 1.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC)…

Pain relief with 1.3% THC?  Sounds like a really strong aspirin…

After experimenting with several strains of marijuana for his pain, Young landed on one called “20:1,” named for its ratio of the chemical cannabidiol (another of the plant’s primary constituents) to THC. “I don’t get high off of it,” he said. “But I get extreme pain relief immediately, like an opioid.”

“Extreme pain relief” with a high-CBD strain?  No, I don’t think so…

Cannabis users should not make this drug look like something it’s not.  When other pain patients try medical cannabis, they are going to be expecting “extreme pain relief,” and will easily give up if they can’t find it.

Video: John Oliver humorously shames us for our addiction to sugar

http://bgr.com/2014/10/27/john-oliver-vs-sugar-video/

There’s a very strange event in America that happens every day: A consumer can pick up their insulin to treat their Diabetes, and on their way out they can grab a gallon of candy with a magazine about celebrities behaving badly. On Sunday night, John Oliver decided to show us just how bad sugar really is. Spoiler Alert: It’s pretty bad.

“Sugar activates our brains like cocaine.”  John Oliver

2/20/2013, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?pagewanted=all

Mudd then did the unthinkable. He drew a connection to the last thing in the world the C.E.O.’s wanted linked to their products: cigarettes…

The company’s Yoplait brand had transformed traditional unsweetened breakfast yogurt into a veritable dessert. It now had twice as much sugar per serving as General Mills’ marshmallow cereal Lucky Charms. And yet, because of yogurt’s well-tended image as a wholesome snack, sales of Yoplait were soaring, with annual revenue topping $500 million. Emboldened by the success, the company’s development wing pushed even harder, inventing a Yoplait variation that came in a squeezable tube — perfect for kids. They called it Go-Gurt and rolled it out nationally in the weeks before the C.E.O. meeting. (By year’s end, it would hit $100 million in sales.)

Even gout, a painful form of arthritis once known as “the rich man’s disease” for its associations with gluttony, now afflicts eight million Americans…

It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on the part of the food manufacturers. What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive…

John Lennon couldn’t find it in England, so he had cases of it shipped from New York to fuel the “Imagine” sessions. The Beach Boys, ZZ Top and Cher all stipulated in their contract riders that it be put in their dressing rooms when they toured. Hillary Clinton asked for it when she traveled as first lady, and ever after her hotel suites were dutifully stocked. What they all wanted was Dr Pepper…

While at Frito-Lay, Lin and other company scientists spoke openly about the country’s excessive consumption of sodium and the fact that, as Lin said to me on more than one occasion, “people get addicted to salt.”

Around that time, the marketing team was joined by Dwight Riskey, an expert on cravings who had been a fellow at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, where he was part of a team of scientists that found that people could beat their salt habits simply by refraining from salty foods long enough for their taste buds to return to a normal level of sensitivity…

…Chili-Cheese-flavored Fritos 😀

He ticked off a dozen attributes of the Cheetos that make the brain say more. But the one he focused on most was the puff’s uncanny ability to melt in the mouth. “It’s called vanishing caloric density,” Witherly said. “If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.”

But the largest weight-inducing food was the potato chip. The coating of salt, the fat content that rewards the brain with instant feelings of pleasure, the sugar that exists not as an additive but in the starch of the potato itself — all of this combines to make it the perfect addictive food…

I love Ruffles! (In moderation, of course.)

In Coke’s headquarters in Atlanta, the biggest consumers were referred to as “heavy users.”

RIP Whitney and Amy

6/3/2011, The Real Tab for Rehab: Inside the Addiction Treatment Biz

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/06/03/the-real-tab-for-rehab-inside-the-addiction-treatment-biz/

In what feels like the umpteenth time, singers Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, both famously drug addicted, checked back into rehab in May. The rich and famous, of course, have the means to bounce in and out of pricey addiction-treatment centers, but what’s the real cost of rehab for regular folks trying clean up their lives?

It can be anywhere from free to up to $2,000 per day of treatment. Promises, where both Britney and Lindsay have logged stays, can cost up to $100,000 for a month in a beach-view private suite with private physicians. A month-long in-patient stay at Hazelden, one the country’s oldest and most respected facilities, costs $28,500. Out-patient treatment there costs $10,000 a month. The Loft, a sober-living facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., runs $8,500 for a 30-day stay. Even a single intervention with a drug or alcohol specialist can cost hundreds of dollars…

The addiction treatment industry in America is expected to have revenues of $34 billion by 2014, an increase of 55% from 2005. The vast majority of that spending — nearly 80% — is underwritten by public funding, and the remaining portion paid for by insurance or private fees. There are are more 11,000 addiction-treatment centers in the United States, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration…

But for people who need help for addiction, Dr. Seppala says it’s not cost but quality of care and counseling staff that should be the priority. “Programs that promise ‘remarkable outcomes’ and 90% sobriety success rate after a year or a cure are exaggerated results that people should not believe,” he says…

“If you have a ton of money, some residential programs do a great job,” he says. “But I really struggle when families mortgage the house or drain their retirement funds to send a loved one to a residential program. That same $30,000 can pay for great out-patient care over a much longer period of time.”

Maer Roshan, creator and executive editor of the new website, TheFix, dedicated to covering clean-and-sober lifestyles, says the lack of consumer information about residential addiction-treatment centers is surprising considering the importance of what happens there. To pull back that curtain, he created a Zagat-like rehab review on his website which breaks down price, quality of the food, environment and other factors…

(2006) Tobacco industry litigation position on addiction

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2563585/

The industry uses its experts and the process of cross‐examination of plaintiff’s experts to imply that the addictiveness of tobacco and nicotine are more comparable to substances such as caffeine, chocolate, and even milk, than to heroin, cocaine and alcohol. Furthermore, the tobacco industry contends that the definition of addiction has now become so broadened as to include carrots and caffeine and hence that any concurrence that smoking is addictive, does not imply that cigarettes are addictive to the standards that drugs such as heroin and cocaine are addictive. Finally, the industry has continuously asserted that tobacco users assumed the risks of tobacco since they understood that quitting could be difficult when they began to use, and moreover, that the main barrier to cessation is lack of desire or motivation to quit and not physical addiction…

I guess everyone has their own definition of “addiction.”

12/16/2011, Why is drug and alcohol addiction still a growth industry?

Substance-abuse counseling is now one of the top careers in the US

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/drug-alcohol-addiction-growth-industry-article-1.992267

Under comments:

If rehab is so effective, why is it a growth industry? Allow me to suggest that addicts change their ways, not through rehab, but through pain. The emotional pain and shame that Mrs. Ford experienced at her €œ”intervention”€ was probably what helped the most to change her. Michael Reznicek http://www.drrez.com. (Website no longer in service.)