That's happening as opioid overdoses and suicide rates rise.Nov 21, 2019 - Health
Rising obesity rates will strain the most expensive health care system in the world.Oct 31, 2019 - Health
That makes rural Americans even more vulnerable.Aug 21, 2019 - Health
Rural communities at risk of HIV outbreaks tied to drug use often don't have working syringe exchanges, which help reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, NPR reports with Kaiser Health News.
Between the lines: Many of these rural communities have seen local opposition against syringe exchanges, which provide drug users with clean needles.
Areas hit hardest by the opioid epidemic still struggle with access to buprenorphine, used to treat addiction according to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services' internal watchdog.
Where it stands: The federal government has expanded the list of which providers can prescribe buprenorphine, as well as the number of patients those providers can treat.
Opioid deaths in the U.S. decreased in 2018 after years of steady increases, while the U.S. life expectancy ticked up for the first time in four years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.
Between the lines: The effort to combat the opioid epidemic appears to be working, although the problem is far from solved.
A judge has sentenced John Kapoor, the founder and former CEO of Insys Therapeutics, to 5.5 years in prison after a jury found him guilty in a bribery and racketeering scheme around the company's potent opioid drug, Subsys.
Why it matters: "Kapoor, 76, is now the highest-ranking pharmaceutical executive to be sentenced in a case linked to the opioid crisis," Reuters reports.
The FDA and opioid manufacturers failed to independently determine whether physician safety training and patient medication guides mitigated improper opioid prescriptions and misuse, according to new federal records obtained by researchers through the Freedom of Information Act.
Why it matters: Federal regulators created this safety program in 2012 because opioid addictions, overdoses and deaths were rising, but researchers say the FDA's program relied on poor designs and data collection — and ultimately did nothing to prevent the opioid crisis from getting worse.
New court records reviewed by Stat show how Richard Sackler, a former executive at Purdue Pharma, guided the company's promotional strategy for the launch of its opioid pain medication OxyContin.
Why it matters: Sackler's family founded and controls Purdue Pharma. The company in 2007 pleaded guilty to a felony related to falsely promoting OxyContin as less addictive and not as likely to produce tolerance or symptoms of withdrawal than other pain medications, even though the drugs is twice as strong as morphine. More than 218,000 Americans have died from overdoses of all prescription opioids.
Major League Baseball players could be randomly tested for the first time for opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl as the sport grapples with how to address the opioid epidemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Why it matters: Professional athletes, who are especially prone to injury, risk greater exposure and addiction to opioids due to pain management. The discussions between the league and its players' union were prompted by the July death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who had oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol in his system.
Go deeper: Where the major sports leagues stand on weed
Several opioid manufacturers and drug distributors are facing criminal investigations from the Department of Justice about whether they intentionally skirted federal law by not monitoring the flow of potent painkiller pills, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Why it matters: Purdue Pharma has already been ensnared in criminal probes, and now federal prosecutors are casting a wider net to determine the level of alleged wrongdoing that has resulted in tens of thousands of overdose deaths.
Johnson & Johnson will only have to pay $465 million for its role in the state's opioid crisis as of Friday, instead of the original $572 million judgment, after the Oklahoma judge overseeing the case admitted he made a math error in the abatement plan.
The big picture: Oklahoma maintained its verdict that J&J created a public nuisance by falsely promoting its opioids as safe and necessary, and J&J still plans on appealing the decision, despite the lower amount.