With the opioid epidemic top-of-mind for the nation, it’s easy to get lost in the revolving door of a 24-hour news cycle. We thought we’d recap some of the most talked about and important news stories related to addiction and the opioid crisis lately.
As the epidemic claims 115 lives every day, David Greene talked to Surgeon General Jerome Adams at the Opioid Summit at the White House and discussed the administration’s strategy for fighting addiction.
In the interview, Adams discussed his personal connections to addiction – his brother is currently incarcerated and receiving treatment while serving his time. Additionally, they continue the conversation on the White House’s desire to focus on law enforcement, mental health and funding for SAMHSA.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that a new task force would target drug manufacturers and distributors for their roles in the opioid epidemic, raising the possibility of filing criminal charges against them.
“We will use criminal penalties. We will use civil penalties. We will use whatever laws and tools we have to hold people accountable if they break our laws,” Sessions said at a news conference.
Purdue Pharma, the creator of OxyContin, has cut its sales force in half to 200 representatives and will stop promoting opioids to physicians, following widespread criticism of the ways big pharma markets addictive painkillers.
Purdue Pharma said it will inform doctors on Monday that its sales representatives will no longer visit their offices to discuss the company’s opioid products.
“We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers,” the company, based in Stamford, Conn., said in a statement.
As we’ve written about previously, scams and advertisers have targeted the addiction space with misleading Google Ads – causing harm and hassle to people seeking treatment. Now, Google has stepped up to help eliminate the problem by removing paid advertising on its platform for drug and alcohol treatment providers globally.
On the topic, Google stated: “Substance abuse is a growing crisis and even as we’ve helped healthcare providers connect with people who need help, unfortunately there’s also been a rise in deceptive practices from bad actors taking advantage of those in need. This is a complex issue with varying degrees of regulation in different countries, which is why we’ve decided to suspend ads in the entire addiction treatment center category globally while we consult with experts to find a better way to connect people with the treatment they need.”