drug prescriptions

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont.
Toby Talbot / AP

Some Ohio lawmakers are pushing five different pieces of legislation they say will deal with the state’s opioid abuse problem in a comprehensive way.

The James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Thanks to a state rule change, Ohio patients are now able to donate unused cancer medications. Previously only unopened medications could be passed along to patients in need.

Naloxone is an antidote that can help reverse drug overdoses.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Dispensing rates for the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone increased by 2,328% after a 2015 Ohio law went into effect that allowed pharmacists to give the drug without a prescription.

In this May 30, 2019, file photo, a CVS store with the new HealthHUB is shown in Spring, Texas.
David J. Phillips / AP

A series of pharmacy chains argued in federal court that doctors and other health care practitioners who write prescriptions bear ultimate responsibility for improper distribution of opioids to patients, rather than the pharmacists who are obliged to fill those prescriptions.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Ohio is preparing to prosecute nearly a dozen people who allegedly made and distributed fake prescription pills containing fentanyl. The DEA says counterfeit pills - which can kill those who take them - is a continuing problem in Ohio and Kentucky.

There's no doubt that opioids have been massively overprescribed in U.S. In the haste to address the epidemic, there's been pressure on doctors to reduce prescriptions of these drugs — and in fact prescriptions are declining. But along the way, some chronic pain patients have been forced to rapidly taper or discontinue the drugs altogether.

Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new message for doctors: Abrupt changes to a patient's opioid prescription could harm them.

In the U.S., the opioid crisis is about too many opioids. In some other parts of the world, the opioid problem is about the exact opposite — a lack of access to powerful pain management drugs. As pharmaceutical companies are being sued in the U.S. for flooding the market with opioids, doctors in West Africa say they can't even get hold of those painkillers.

When prescribed appropriately, opioids can be vital tools in hospitals and clinics. The drugs make patients more comfortable and can speed recovery.

Updated at 4:02 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors are charging 11 doctors with unlawfully distributing opioids and other substances, in the second large operation to target "pill mill" operators and health care fraud this year. Two other people also face charges in the sting.

"The alleged conduct resulted in the distribution of more than 17 million pills" in the Appalachian region, the Justice Department said.

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., unveiled her long-anticipated plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs on Thursday. It is a priority shared by President Trump, fueling a glimmer of hope that there is a deal to be had on the issue ahead of the 2020 elections.

"It is transformative," Pelosi said of her plan."We do hope to have White House buy-in."

doctor
Pixabay

A group that supports single-payer health care is highlighting a study that shows Ohioans are very worried about paying medical costs and are taking dangerous steps because of it.

It's a common problem for many older adults. You may have more than one doctor and each prescribes a different drug for a different illness. Before you know it, you're taking multiple medications and start feeling tired, dizzy or nauseous. Your doctor interprets that as a new symptom for a new disease and prescribes yet another drug.

How An Influx Of Opioids Took Its Toll On Jackson County, Ohio

Jul 19, 2019
Eddie Davis walks past tributes on his way to his son Jeremy's gravestone, who died from the abuse of opioids, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Coalton, Ohio.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

The numbers are staggering: An average yearly total of 107 opioid pills per resident were distributed over a seven-year period in this rural county deep in Appalachia.

As the opioid epidemic continues, hospitals are looking for new ways to treat pain and combat addiction. At Indiana University Health, which has 16 hospitals across the state, that means change. They’re cutting back on opioid prescriptions and giving more advice to patients.

As the cost of prescription medication soars, consumers are increasingly taking generic drugs: low-cost alternatives to brand-name medicines. Often health insurance plans require patients to switch to generics as a way of controlling costs. But journalist Katherine Eban warns that some of these medications might not be as safe, or effective, as we think.

Ever wondered what to do with that expired bottle of prescription pills sitting in your medicine cabinet? This Saturday, the DEA has a solution for you to get rid it of safely.

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