Fentanyl Busts in Ohio Seize Enough Drugs to Kill the Whole State

Fentanyl Busts in Ohio Seize Enough Drugs to Kill the Whole State

In 2014 the state of Ohio was #2 for most overdose deaths in all of America with approximately 2,744 deaths. For 2016 early estimates are putting that number at 4,149 Ohioans who lost their lives, a 36% climb from 2015, the year when the Buckeye State had by far the most overdose deaths in the nation.

On average, 11 people died every day from heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other drugs in Ohio through 2016.

As the nation grapples with these skyrocketing body counts from coast to coast, more government and law enforcement officials are trying to find new ways to take action against the opioid crisis. For those who do not know, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid; one of the most dangerous drugs on the illicit market.

But recently the Capital City of the Midwest has scored a huge win in that fight.

Enough to Kill Columbus

Back in October one drug bust led to investigators discovering 2 kilograms, or 4.5 pounds, of fentanyl in the trunk of a car. To put this in perspective, the Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien stated that:

  • A fatal dose of fentanyl is considered to be only 2-3 milligrams.
  • In Columbus, Ohio the population is approximately 860,000 people.

Crunching the numbers, the prosecutor points out this amount of the incredibly lethal synthetic drug could have killed every man, woman, and child in the city.

Three California men were arrested in relation to this bust.

Enough to Kill Ohio

Just when you think you’ve heard the worst of it, that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.  The following month police in the capital city seized 20 pounds of pure fentanyl. In regards to this case, Ron O’Brien said,

“So it would probably be enough to kill all, the entire population in the state of Ohio.”

Again, using the same lethal fentanyl dosage for perspective, Ohio has 11.6 million residents. The amount of fentanyl discovered in the November bust could potentially kill more than 9 million people. O’Brien included,

“Two or three milligrams of fentanyl is not much more than five or six small grains of salt.”

So it stands to reason that 20 pounds of this drug could easily wipe out the vast majority of the inhabitants of the state.

More Record Busts this Year

The opioid epidemic is the greatest drug crisis in the history of the country. As the problem has intensified, the spread of fentanyl and carfentanil has continued to bring dead and devastation. Luckily, there are more major opioid busts this year, with some seizing enough fentanyl to kill entire populations of several states.

New York

In August officials of the Empire State managed to seize more than 140 pounds of fentanyl in August. The Drug Enforcement Administration said that amount could’ve killed nearly 32 million people. Put more bluntly, this amount of fentanyl could wipe out the populations of Texas and Oklahoma… combined!

San Diego

Back in June officials in this major California city found close to 100 pounds of fentanyl. That is enough to kill 22.4 million people; that is the combined populations of:

  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • Maine

St. Louis

The Gateway to the West was able to catch nearly 60 pounds of pure fentanyl back in April. That alone is enough to kill more than 13.6 million people.

Fighting the Spread of Fentanyl

Back in Ohio, Ron O’Brien and other officials know the opioid epidemic is getting worse all over the country. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest drug report states:

  • More than 33,000 people died from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2015
  • Close to 10,000 of them were from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl

In the state of Ohio, the opioid crisis has placed an increasing strain on resources. Financially it is costing Ohio residents between $6.6 and 8.8 billion per year, according to some experts. That is almost as much as the state spends on education for grades K-12.

Yet the fight goes on.

These massive seizures of this lethal synthetic chemical have undoubtedly saved many lives. However, putting a complete stop to the illicit drug trade is still very far off, if at all possible. Still, taking a few hundred pounds of such a potent and potentially deadly drugs off the streets makes an immeasurable difference.

For more important information on the dangers of prescription drugs, download our FREE E-BOOK “Big Secrets of Big Pharma: Why They Secretly Hope You Get Hooked”

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Treating Opioid Abuse

Holistic drug addiction treatment is an effective and important resource for helping people struggling with substance use disorder, especially in the wake of the opioid crisis in America.

Outbreaks of more life-threatening drug problems including fentanyl and other hazardous synthetics only make the need for supportive and impactful treatment more relevant. If we want to overcome the opioid epidemic there must be an emphasis on how we treat people struggling and on how we support them through the recovery process.

Treating opioid abuse is about building a strong foundation with safe medical detox, personalized therapy, and innovative treatment opportunities. Palm Healthcare Company helps thousands of people all over the country overcome opioid abuse. Our facilities are committed to providing quality care for those dealing with drug abuse, whether it is illicit drugs or prescription drug dependence. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Can Kellyanne Conway Really Compete with the Opioid Crisis?

Can Kellyanne Conway Really Compete with the Opioid Crisis?

This past Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will be the Trump administration’s go-to for opioid crisis efforts. This announcement has been met with both praise and criticism. Some say this appointment actually gives validity to the White House’s commitment to solving the ongoing opioid epidemic, while others see it as the exact opposite.

For a little background, Kellyanne Conway worked as a pollster before becoming Trump’s campaign manager during his run for the 2016 presidential nomination. Currently, Conway serves as a White House spokeswoman and Trump surrogate. She has been seen on countless panels discussing the biggest topics and politics. She absolutely has her work cut out for her, so can Kellyanne Conway compete?

The Kellyanne Cons and Pros

So can this infamous Trump advocate, the woman who practically accidentally coined the phrase “alternative facts” compete with the opioid crisis in America? Kallyanne Conway has become notorious for defending some of President Trump’s most flagrant and controversial “alternative facts” in the media. But in her defense, she also has said some things that seem to highlight important prospects for this problem.

So here are some things to consider when we talk about Kellyanne Conway being put in charge of the opioid epidemic.

Lack of Experience

One of the big problems with this appointment people are pointing out is the lack of experience. Critics say this appointment speaks to how little passion the current administration is actually putting into fighting the opioid crisis since Kellyanne Conway has no experience in public health or with drug policy.

But in a time where Americans seem to be putting more trust in people that don’t typically meet the description of “qualified” in hopes that an outsider might bring better results, it makes sense that a lot of people might still hope Kellyanne can do some good.

Yet, there are still those who aren’t so sure. Tom Synan, a police chief and member of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition in Ohio tweeted in response to the announcement:

“Ummm… did we run out of Dr’s, cops, addiction specialists or people who are actually dealing with this on the street to lead this?”

As a first responder, Synan is one of many people who are frustrated with the current actions being taken.

“I don’t want to get involved in politics, but it seems like it is a political position … I think I would have gone out to the country and tapped into people who are national experts who are on the street who are literally dealing with this issue every day,”

It seems many on the front lines are not impressed with the Trump administration’s move to put Kellyanne Conway in charge of efforts to combat one of the worst drug problems in the nation’s history.

Publicity and Perception

During a press briefing about the Justice Department’s efforts to combat the crisis where the announcement was made, Sessions said President Donald Trump chose Kellyanne Conway to “change the perception” about opioids and reduce addictions and deaths.

According to Sessions, President Trump has made the epidemic “a top priority for his administration, including every senior official and Cabinet member.”

An opioid policy expert Andrew Kolodny of Brandeis University actually defended the move when speaking to BuzzFeed News, stating:

“It is a positive sign. She is a high-profile figure in the administration, showing the administration takes this seriously,”

Some believe this can offer a sign of hope for more concrete action since many recovery advocates say despite the declaration of a public health emergency from President Trump there has been very little action taken to change the state of the epidemic.

Bertha Madras, a member of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and Harvard Medical School professor, said:

“The most important thing that Kellyanne Conway will provide is access … but also commitment… She was at all the meetings, she listened and took copious notes.”

Let’s hope those are some good notes because thus far the opioid problem in America has shown no signs of slowing down. Jeff Sessions justified the appointment by saying Kellyanne Conway “understanding messaging” and can help turn around public perception. But is this about publicity, or is it about the preservation of life?

Surely breaking the stigma and changing the way addiction is viewed does matter, but should someone who specializes in making things look good to be in charge of how this country deals with one of the most prominent crises we face?

Treatment and Resources

Kellyanne does seem to support treatment, but to what extent it is still unclear. In one interview with ABC Kellyanne Conway did say,

“Pouring money into the problem is not the only answer. We have to get serious about in-facility treatment and recovery.”

So she at least appears to understand how crucial effective inpatient treatment is for recovery.

But when reporters mentioned the fact that there needs to be funding for these programs, she put more emphasis on “a 4 letter word called will” that seems to side-step the question- where will these resources come from?

As it now stands, White House has:

  • Left the leadership role of the Office of National Drug Control Policy vacant
  • Failed to release any written opioid-control strategy
  • Not requested funds to replenish the national public health emergency fund that currently sits at just $66,000

In fact, President Trump’s 2018 budget request would increase addiction treatment funding by less than 2%. And don’t be fooled, that increase includes the $500 million already appropriated by Congress in 2016 under the 21st Century Cures Act with the Obama administration.

Even Chris Christie, the Republican New Jersey Governor who led the White House Opioid Commission, said:

“In New Jersey, we are spending $500 million,” he said. “I am not, quite frankly, impressed with $1 billion from the federal government for the nation.”

Strict Prevention and Punishment

When you look at what she has said on record in regards to opioids and addiction, it doesn’t really inspire a great deal of confidence. Kellyanne Conway has consistently hinted to an outdated ideology of what addiction is and how to address it.

In the past, Kellyanne has said,

“The best way to stop people dying from overdoses and drug abuse is by not starting in the first place… That’s a big core message for our youth.”

That’s right; just say no.

Critics say this aligns with the mindset of Jeff Sessions and others in the White House who seem to think that ‘Just Say No’ tactics actually work, or that purely prevention-based programs like D.A.R.E. can solve the whole problem. While prevention is important, it has proven to be ineffective as a focal point when addressing addiction.

Circling back to publicity, what Ms. Conway does seem to heavily endorse is a White House investigation for a “national ad campaign” on abuse prevention. President Trump himself had voiced his own support for a national advertising initiative to try and deter drug use.

But we all remember those commercials- this is your brain on drugs- and they didn’t really help that much.

Again, it seems Attorney General Sessions and the current administration is more focused on punishment than treatment and strict law enforcement. Sessions said the Justice Department was giving more than $12 million in grants to state and local law enforcement to help them prosecute crimes connected to:

Sessions is also ordering all U.S. Attorney offices to designate opioid coordinators. Kaitlyn Boecker, Policy Manager with the Drug Policy Alliance, has been vocal in her disapproval of the current steps being taken.

“Despite declaring the opioid overdose crisis a public health emergency just last month, the Trump Administration continues to emphasize failed prohibitionist policies while ignoring proven public health measures that we know reduce overdose death, like community naloxone distribution.”

 “As we feared, the Administration is using the overdose crisis as an excuse to ratchet up the war on drugs rather than an opportunity to save lives.” 

At this point, we can say that the news is not without skeptics. While many are still trying to remain hopeful that maybe because Kellyanne is so vocal and such a well-known surrogate for the president that perhaps she will be able to garner more attention to the issue.

While the fight for more resources continues, we should always encourage people to seek help. There are many safe and effective treatment resources already that have been helping people recover from drug and alcohol addiction for decades, like Palm Healthcare Company. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help. 

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Senator Investigating Vivitrol Drug Maker for Shady Marketing

Senator Investigating Vivitrol Drug Maker for Shady Marketing

The Big Pharma industry is still in the hot seat, and this week another lawmaker is adding a new name to the roster of drug makers to be investigated for shady marketing practices. Alkermes, the company behind the opioid treatment implant Vivitrol, is now being investigated for how they market their product.

Background on Vivitrol

Vivitrol is another name given to the generic drug Naltrexone. Originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of alcohol dependence in 1994, Naltrexone eventually became approved for the treatment of opioid dependence. The medications primary use appears to be blocking the opiate receptors in the brain. It’s intended so that someone using heroin or other opiate-based drugs cannot experience the drugs high.

The Vivitrol shot is made by Boston-based biotech Alkermes. This medication stood out from other Naltrexone medications because Vivitrol is an injection given every 4 weeks with a monthly doctor visit. It is time released for longer lasting relief, instead of being a pill taken once a day.

Supposedly Vivitrol is intended to further help by reducing cravings for opioids. However, Naltrexone and Vivitrol have been refuted by many for having any notable effect on opioid cravings.

Enter Senator Harris

Kamala Harris is a Democratic California Senator who has announced she will be part of launching a new investigation into the sales and marketing practices of the makers of Vivitrol. According to the senator, Alkermes allegedly worked to increase sales of their opioid treatment medication through two questionable strategies:

  1. “Aggressively” marketing Vivitrol to officials in the criminal justice system

Senator Harris says that Alkermes pushes for judges and lawmakers to use their product. The company even provided free samples, which resulted in Vivitrol being actively implemented in 450 treatment programs across 39 states.

  1. Lobbying efforts by federal and state lawmakers

In her statement, Harris also alleges that the company has spent millions of dollars in direct appeals to government officials. Meanwhile, they were contributing to numerous congressional campaigns.

Due to the drug companies marketing, Vivitrol raked in well over $69 million dollars in the third quarter of 2017.

In her statement Senator Harris says,

“We are at the height of a crisis, and companies are taking advantage of pain in order to profit”

“We must hold these companies accountable for their deliberate actions that magnify the opioid epidemic and drive up the cost of drugs for Americans.”

The senator even quoted the chief of addiction medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Anna Lembke, who said,

“Alkermes has taken unethical drug promotion to new depths by enlisting judges, law enforcement personnel, and legislators to favor Vivitrol over proven treatments. Alkermes’ actions undermine public health.”

Which seems like some pretty strong words. In the midst of the opioid crisis, it might be fair to say we should use every resource we can get. However, the Big Pharma enterprises still need to be put in check when it comes to overlooking more effective treatments.

In fact, a 2011 review of studies suggested that Naltrexone was not significantly superior to placebo, and the authors believed there was no sufficient evidence to support Naltrexone therapy for opioid dependence.

Investigating Vivitrol

One reason Senator Harris seems to have Vivitrol in the crosshairs seems to be that the pharmaceutical company made a habit out of promoting Vivitrol as a more effective treatment than other maintenance drugs, such as Suboxone or Methadone, even though there is no substantive data to support this claim.

As part of the investigation, Harris contacted Richard Pops, the Alkermes Chairman, requesting the company provide data and communication. At the moment Alkermes is disputing the allegations. Senator Harris appears to be calling their bluff, as she was requested that Alkermes submit:

  • Marketing records

  • Financial records

  • Internal reports

Alkermes has also been asked to turn over any materials provided to participants or speakers for Alkermes since 2010. They’re being asked to disclose amounts paid to the company by various associations, including:

  • American Society of Addiction Medicine

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

  • Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Any studies presented to these groups are also to be turned in.

In their own statement, Alkermes states they are “focused on ensuring that patients, healthcare professionals, and criminal justice officials are educated on Vivitrol, and believes that patients should have access to all medications.”

There is no telling whether or not this investigation is going to turn into a witch hunt or if it will blow the lid off of even more bad behavior from Big Pharma. While other drug companies that can be connected to the opioid crisis are already facing lawsuits and others even criminal cases for racketeering and fraud, the Vivitrol producers might find themselves on the chopping block sooner rather than later.

There is already much disagreement about whether or not the Vivitrol treatment is really effective in the first place. Some say the medication helped save their life. Many others have horror stories of uncomfortable side-effects made worse by cravings. Either way, pharmaceutical companies still need to be held accountable for their marketing methods, especially when they seem a little suspect.

For now, this is all a request. Only Republican Senator Ron Johnson has the power to issue subpoenas on behalf of the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee.

When talking about the most effective treatment programs for addiction, we should also remember that maintenance drugs like Suboxone, Vivitrol and others are not exactly a solution. While they can be effective in keeping people alive and helping to overcome their sickness, the real healing does not come from magic pills or implants. The real transformation comes with developing the understand and the tools to take care of yourself. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

25 Facts About Cocaine You Probably Didn’t Know

25 Facts About Cocaine You Probably Didn’t Know

While the opioid crisis in America has reached public health emergency proportions, we still have to remember that there are a lot of other extremely dangerous drugs out there. Cocaine is a drug that has been around for a very long time, but with the rise in heroin and prescription drug abuse, people may have this idea that cocaine is no longer a real threat.

However, cocaine is still very dangerous and very prevalent around the world and here in the United States.

So how well do you know this drug? What do you know about its history? Do you know about the most common health risks?

Here are 25 facts about cocaine you probably don’t know.

Random History

  1. Karl Koller (1857-1944)

This Austrian ophthalmologist experimented with cocaine as an anesthetic. The most infamous accounts are of Koller applying the drug to his own eye and then pricking it with needles.

  1. Nervous Stimulant

Cocaine is the most powerful central nervous stimulant found in nature. The drug often gives users feelings of alertness, energy and even power.

  1. Commercial Cocaine

In 1885, a U.S. manufacturer sold cocaine commercially. They advertised that cocaine would “make the coward brave, the silent eloquent, and render the sufferer insensitive to pain.”

Side note- The manufacturer even included a syringe in the packaging.

  1. Drugged on the Job

According to some historians, white business owners in the early 1900s would encourage their African-American employees to use cocaine in order to boost their productivity.

  1. First Addicted Physician

In 1884, famous American physician William Stewart Halsted performed the first surgery using cocaine as an anesthetic.

Side note- he shortly afterward became the first cocaine-addicted physician on record. Surprising?

  1. Powdered Money

According to one study, trace amounts of cocaine can be found on 4 out of every 5 dollar bills. However, cocaine is a fine powder and is easily spread around, meaning the bill wasn’t necessarily used as a snorting straw.

  1. Nazi Addicts

Historians say that Hitler was addicted to cocaine, among many other drugs including methamphetamines. Nazis often used drugs as a means of stimulation. Many believe all those stimulants helped ignite his ranting paranoia.

Prevalence

  1. Second Most Popular

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. The first is marijuana.

  1. Emergency Visits

In 2004-2007 cocaine overdose caused 31% of visits to the emergency room.

  1. First Timers

Every day, 2,500 Americans try cocaine for the first time.

  1. Worldwide

Over 200 million people use illegal drugs worldwide. 21 million of those people use cocaine.

  1. American Addiction

Even though the United States only makes up less than 5% of the world’s population, the country consumes approximately 37% of the world’s cocaine.

  1. Illicit Industry

The illicit cocaine industry earns between $100 and $500 billion each year.

  1. Scotland Snorts

Scotland has the highest cocaine use out of any other country in the world. One out of every 40 Scots uses cocaine, which is approximately 2.4% of the population.

  1. Babies Born Addicts

Every year in the United States more than 400,000 babies are born already addicted to cocaine.

Health Risks

  1. Fast-Acting Addiction

An estimated 10% of all people who begin using cocaine will immediately progress to serious, heavy.

  1. Sharing is Hurting

Sharing straws to sniff cocaine can actually spread several blood-borne diseases, including hepatitis C.

  1. Mental Health

Cocaine users tend to have higher rates of certain mental health conditions, including:

When compared to the general population.

  1. Perfect for Heart Attacks

Come describe cocaine as the “perfect heart attack drug” because it causes so many harmful effects, including:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stiff arteries
  • Thickening of heart muscle walls

Even worse is that these irregularities persist long after the effects of cocaine have worn off, even for those who aren’t chronic users.

  1. Bruxism

Chronic cocaine use can cause a condition called bruxism, which is grinding of the teeth involuntarily.

  1. Drug-Induced Decay

Cocaine frequently causes dehydration and dry mouth. This leads to many users having less saliva in their mouth, which can then lead to tooth decay.

  1. The Nose No’s

Cocaine can also destroy the cartilage separating a person’s nostrils after continued use.

  1. Deadly Influence

The direct pharmacological effects of the cocaine are often only credited with 1/3 of the deaths associated with cocaine use. The majority of deaths in connection with cocaine are by:

  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Motor vehicle collisions

Meaning a lot of people die as a result of the mind-altering properties of cocaine and risk behaviors associated with the drug.

  1. Lethal Mix

Consuming cocaine with alcohol is one of the deadliest drug combinations there is.

Now you may be wondering… what is the last fact going to be? You might get through this list knowing less than you expect about the powerful illegal stimulant…

NUMBER 25

You can quit because there is help for you. Cocaine addiction can be crippling and feel impossible to overcome. But with safe medical detox, followed by effective and holistic treatment options, you can build a lasting foundation for recovery from cocaine addiction.

Palm Healthcare Company takes pride in offering comprehensive and innovative treatment options to help individuals create a personalized recovery plan. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Racketeering for Fentanyl: Opioid Maker Insys Founder Arrested for Bribes

Big Pharma Founder of Insys Arrested on Racketeering for Fentanyl

In December of 2016, the Palm Partners Recovery Center blog covered a story about how federal prosecutors were bringing racketeering charges against several employees of Insys Therapeutics Inc. The initial report and the controversy that followed was a profound moment considering criminal charges are rarely ever brought against pharmaceutical companies. Now it seems that even more the corporate drug dealers who helped create the opioid crisis in America are going to be finding themselves under serious scrutiny for their unethical practices.

Last week President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. That very same day, as if to accent the severity of the crisis and the unignorable need for change, the co-founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc. himself was arrested on fraud and racketeering charges.

Insys Therapeutics CEO Taking a Fall

John Kapoor is the former CEO of Insys Therapeutics; a founding father of one of the most prominent opioid manufacturing companies in America. As of last week, Kapoor is reported to be charged with conspiring to push the company’s signature drug for unacceptable uses through a series of bribes and kickbacks.

The drug Kapoor and his company are accused of pushing just happens to be one of the most dangerous opioids on the market, which has contributed to countless deaths across the country over the years- fentanyl.

The brand name for the product made by Insys Therapeutics Inc is Subsys. This extremely potent compound transmits the synthetic opioid fentanyl in spray form. As an opioid analgesic, people use Subsys by spraying it under the tongue for quick absorption of potent fentanyl. Technically, this drug is supposed to only be used for treating cancer patients suffering from severe pain. But according to prosecutors that is very far from the sales strategy Kapoor and his executives were using.

With recent reports showing that approximately 64,000 Americans died last year from drug overdose, and an estimated 20,100 overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, how many of those lives were impacted by the drug Insys forced onto the market with bribes?

According to the prosecution, Kapoor and several other former high-ranking executives at the company colluded to bribe doctors to write-

“- large numbers of prescriptions for the patients, most of whom were not diagnosed with cancer.”

They also allegedly-

“- conspired to mislead and defraud health insurance providers who were reluctant to approve payment for the drug when it was prescribed for non-cancer patients.”

How did they do all this?

The Insidious Work of  Insys Therapeutics Inc

Back in 2016, there was the discussion of six former executives and sales-managers from Insys Therapeutics Inc. being arrested. The charges, according to the Justice Department, included:

  • Conspiring to defraud health insurers
  • Conspiring to bribe doctors into needlessly prescribing Subsys, the company’s fentanyl painkiller

The scam is allegedly a long list of kickback schemes, sham speaking programs, and illegitimate gifts or services.

Sham Speaking

Allegedly, doctors and nurses were paid to attend dinners at high-end restaurants. These dinners were disguised as ‘speaker programs’ that were actually described as gatherings of friends and co-workers who had no power to prescribe medications. Supposed ‘speakers’ were paid fees of up to several thousand dollars for attending these exclusive outings.

One healthcare provider reportedly received an illegal kickback to the tune of $83,000!

All of this money to bribe doctors and other healthcare professionals to prescribe Subsys, even when inappropriate. So not only were they pressuring doctors to use their product over alternatives, but also to prescribe a dangerous and potentially fatal opioid to people who didn’t even need it.

Country-Wide Con-Artists

Other stories written about in Forbes include cases in:

  • Connecticut

In 2015 a nurse practitioner pleaded guilty to violating a federal anti-kickback statute by taking money from Insys to prescribe the drug to Medicare patients who did not have cancer.

  • Alabama

A former Insys sales representative also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute by paying two doctors to prescribe the drug.

  • Illinois

The state has filed multiple claims against Insys Therapeutics involving the pressuring prescriptions of Subsys for unapproved uses.

Doctors who have worked with the company are being investigated by states including:

  • New York

  • Michigan

  • Florida

  • Kansas

  • New Hampshire

  • Rhode Island

U.S. attorneys in the Central District of California and the District of Massachusetts are also investigating Insys Therapeutics Inc.

Shady Gifts and Services

The buck doesn’t stop there either. It wasn’t just cash gifts for unethical practices. Insys Therapeutics wanted their partners in crime to get the full effect of their illicit activities.

The company would send its own employees to work in doctor’s offices when the physician prescribed their fentanyl fuming drug to patients. They even hired the relatives of health care providers as a favor to the family for their loyalty to Subsys.

Insurance Fraud

They allegedly even set up a portion of their staff to defraud insurance companies by calling to speak with insurance representatives while posing as doctors. Some allegations state they were even misrepresenting a patients diagnosis to inflate drug sales.

A December of 2016 indictment states that Insys actively worked to defraud insurance companies by setting up the “reimbursement unit” dedicated to obtaining prior authorization from insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.

Other Insys Therapeutics Exes

Kapoor stepped down as chief executive in January. However, he is definitely not the only former Insys Therapeutics executive currently under fire. This is just the tip of a very rocky ice-berg. The indictment from 2016 included:

  1. Michael L. Babich

Former CEO and President of the company from Scottsdale, Arizona

  1. Alec Burlakoff

Former Vice President of Sales from Charlotte, North Carolina

  1. Richard M. Simon

Former National Director of Sales from Seal Beach, California

  1. Sunrise Lee

Former Regional Sales Director from Bryant City, Michigan

  1. Joseph A. Rowan

Former Regional Sales Director from Panama City, Florida

  1. Michael J. Gurry

Former Vice President of Managed Markets from Scottsdale, Arizona

On January 5, 2017, all of these defendants appeared in federal court for their initial appearance and arraignment. Each has pled not guilty and been released on conditions approved by the court.  A Status Conference hearing followed on September 12, 2017 that is the first of many to be held over several months. That day Massachusetts federal judge set a trial date for October 15, 2018, for the 6 executives.

For now, we have to wait and see if any of the dirty laundries from these alleged white-collar criminals come out in the wash.

Holding Big Pharma Accountable

For a long time, Big Pharma companies have been using unlawful and corrupt tactics for marketing and distribution, which many now see has brought with it some great devastation to communities across the nation. Now, during an opioid crisis that has claimed tens of thousands of lives a year, for several years, these discretions are finally catching up to those accused of corporate greed. The DEA, FBI and Justice Department, along with several state officials and district attorneys, are now aggressively pursuing charges against Big Pharma operators who have a connection to some of the most dangerous and widely abused narcotics on the market.

The acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb said in a statement,

“In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies solely for profit.

“Today’s arrest and charges reflect our ongoing efforts to attack the opioid crisis from all angles,”

Kapoor was arrested in Arizona and his indictment was filed in federal court in Boston. Prosecutors say the charge of conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback law carries the possibility of up to five years in prison. However, the charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud each carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Needless to say, Mr. Kapoor is in for a fight.

But many are still wondering if these executives will truly be held accountable? And truthfully, is it even enough at this point? Even if proven to be indirectly contributing to the opioid epidemic, how could anyone ever know how many lives were damaged or lost because the powerful played around with lethal prescription drugs to line their pockets?

For more important information on the dangers of prescription drugs, download our FREE E-BOOK “Big Secrets of Big Pharma: Why They Secretly Hope You Get Hooked”

DOWNLOAD FREE E-BOOK

With recent reports showing that approximately 64,000 Americans died last year from drug overdose, and an estimated 20,100 overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, how many of those lives were impacted by drugs like Subsys being forced onto the market with bribes?

More needs to be done to stop Big Pharma companies like Insys Therapeutics Inc from exploiting the system and putting the lives of millions of Americans at risk. And not just the middle-men should be accountable, but also those sitting comfortably at the top these industries. At least this is a start. But for the individual, it all starts with taking action. Getting safe and effective treatment can not just save a life, but help someone build a foundation for a better one. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help. 

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

President Trump Declares Public Health Emergency: What’s the Plan?

President Trump Declares Public Health Emergency: What’s the Plan?

All day people all over the country have been waiting for President Trump to make his formal announcement of the opioid epidemic as a national emergency. Finally, the time for the event at the White House has come, but the announcement has some wondering if enough is being said. So we want to take a little bit of time to talk about some of the highlights from the president’s announcement.

President Donald Trump did give a detailed speech regarding many efforts that are being pursued to combat the opioid epidemic in America. Yet, some are saying that he didn’t say enough about how these resources would be funded, pointing out his declaration was for a Public Health Emergency.

So what does it all mean? Why does the difference matter?

Public Health VS National Disaster

To be clear, both are forms of national emergency declarations. What is the big deal? Well, the difference is the scope and funding that comes with address each order. So today, President Trump, through the Public Health Services Act, directed his acting secretary of health and human services to declare a national health emergency. According to a senior White House official, this designation that will not automatically allocate additional federal funding for the crisis.

If the president has utilized the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, otherwise calling the opioid epidemic a national disaster, the federal government would have been able to immediately tap into funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to combat opioids.

Some may say this move was made since the Stafford Act is traditionally used for natural disaster relief, such as with recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. President Trump and President Obama’s administration officials both say that using the Stafford Act would have been too broad and put an unwarranted burden on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund. Which seems somewhat likely, since this fund is already being depleted by recovery efforts from the three major hurricanes that hit the United States this year.

Overall, it seems many officials from this and the previous administration feel that a Public Health Emergency was a more appropriate choice out of the two.

What Will Public Health Emergency Do?

The order from President Trump will do some good, including:

  • Expanding access to telemedicine to get treatment for those in rural areas
  • Instructing agencies to limit bureaucratic delays for dispensing grant money
  • Secure Department of Labor grants for the unemployed
  • Shift funding for HIV and AIDs programs to provide more substance abuse treatment for people already eligible
  • Expands Narcan access

The nationwide health emergency that Trump ordered is more direct but comes with less immediate action.

According to Senior White House officials, they will be following up by working with Congress to get more money for the Public Health Emergency Fund. Which is a good start, since critics are quick to point out there is only $57,000 in this fund.

It is also said to increase federal funding in year-end budget deals currently being negotiated in Congress. In fact, Democratic Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey introduced a bill this week that would provide $45 billion for opioid abuse prevention, surveillance, and treatment over 10 years. But will it ever see the light of day?

The President Trump Plan: Pros

There were various parts of the speech from President Trump that did hint at some interesting ideas. Some pros and some cons include:

  1. Expanding Treatment Options

Possibly one of the bigger moves here is that President Trump said his administration would also be working to reduce regulatory barriers that prevent people from getting treatment, such as one that bars Medicaid from paying for addiction treatment in residential rehab facilities larger than 16 beds.

If the president can remove some of these hurdles, more people may have access to better options for treatment.

National Institute of Health has taken the first steps of instituting a public-private partnership that will be working toward research and resources including:

  • New treatment for addiction
  • New treatment for overdose

The president also said,

“We are already distributing nearly $1 billion in grants for addiction prevention and treatment. And over $50 million to support law enforcement programs that assist those facing prison and facing addiction.”

  1. Indictments

For one, Trump said that the Department of Justice is bringing indictments against Chinese drug traffickers responsible for bringing deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the country.

Another interesting announcement made by President Trump is that the federal government will soon be bringing major lawsuits against people and companies that are involved in the overprescribing and other shady practices concerning prescription drugs.

  1. Pulling Dangerous Prescription Drugs

Trump also says the FDA is now requiring drug companies that manufacture one high-risk opioid, Opana ER, be withdrawn from the market immediately. He states,

“We are requiring that specific opioid, which is truly evil, to be taken off the market immediately.”

President Trump also states his administration will also be pushing for the development of non-addict pain medications.

The President Trump Plan: Cons

President Trump did in many cases acknowledge some useful aspects of combatting the epidemic. But, there were also some ideas that continue to fall short of innovative.

  1. Advertising

President Trump is also emphasizing the use of a “Massive advertising campaign” to keep young people from doing drugs in the first place. President Trump said-

“- they will see the devastation and ruination it causes to people and people’s lives.”

“The fact is if we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take them. And I think that’s going to end up being our most important thing. Really tough, really big, really great advertising.”

While prevention and education are extremely important, many criticize this strategy saying that these old tactics of “Just Say No” and the D.A.R.E. program just don’t work. This advertising might have been useful if focused on treatment options, but if it is more of the scare tactics of “Refer Madness” then we probably won’t see much improvement.

  1. The Wall

The Commander in Chief also took this opportunity to promote the building of the wall between the United States and Mexico, stating:

“90% of the heroin in America comes from south of the border, where we will be building the wall, which will be greatly helping this problem!”

He took time in his speech to highlight the need to “breaking up gangs and distribution efforts” as a primary way to curb the epidemic.

Of course, the wall is often an issue of contention. Many experts have argued since President Trump proposed this as the key element of his war on opioids that attacking the supply has never worked with preventing the spread of addiction. And even if it did, many believe the wall will do little to prevent drugs from being brought into America from south of the border.

  1. Funding

Some experts are still saying this is not a proper plan because while it does allow federal agencies to move grant money, it establishes no immediate funding for a crisis that killed over 64,000 Americans last year.

Meanwhile, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives today narrowly passed a Senate-approved budget resolution 216 to 212, that some experts claim will cause all $1 trillion cut to Medicaid and $500 million cut to Medicare. Many recovery advocates fear that with the ambiguity concerning health care coverage there will not be enough resources in time to provide treatment to those in need.

Some representatives still believe more funding needs to be committed to the issue, while others say that many people struggling with addiction don’t have health insurance and that more must be done to expand coverage.

Moving Forward

The chairman of President Trump’s opioid commission Chris Christie commended the president, calling his announcement a “bold action” to address the opioid crisis. The opioid commission will present a comprehensive plan next week with the final report on November 1st.

No matter what your opinion at this point, we can all agree we need to be moving forward. This means taking an honest look at what is working and what isn’t. Still, the fact that the highest office in the nation has taken the time to address the issue in such terms is hopefully a sign of dramatic change on the way. Only time will tell how this latest move from President Trump will truly impact the opioid epidemic. For now, there is sure to be plenty of debate over the weight of today’s statements and how they will influence policy. There are some promises to be kept, for sure.

There is a lot more to this conversation, but for now, we have to hope that some of these new opportunities will give options and hope to those in America suffering tragically. The opioid crisis is nothing we can expect to be fixed by one person overnight. We have to continue to provide resources to those in need. Palm Healthcare Company facilities have proudly provided addiction treatment resources for decades to those in need. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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