During the rush of the holidays, there were three important news items that you may have missed last week:
1. The CDC reported the 2015 overdose data. There was a 15% increase in opioid overdoses from 2014 to 2015. Over 4400 more people died in 2015.
2. A Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll that found that about 1/3 of people on chronic opioids develop problems.
3. Leading executives at Insys – a producer of a high-powered fentanyl product - were charged with paying doctors to prescribe large doses of their medicine to patients who should not have received them.
Item #1 reminds us that we are not doing enough to prevent overdoses. Item #2 reminds us that we are not doing well treating chronic pain. Item #3 reminds us that the goal of the pharmaceutical industry is to make money and is not patient safety. Each of these items are important and I will look at them in my blog over the next few weeks.
During this holiday season, I am reminded that every person is a child of God and all are of inestimable value. I pledge to redouble my efforts to save lives, save families, and reverse this horrible epidemic. Please join me in that pledge. Together, we can do this.