Author Topic: DEA tracked every opioid pill sold in the US. The data is out—and it’s horrific  (Read 1911 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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DEA tracked every opioid pill sold in the US. The data is out—and it’s horrific
Just three drug makers and six distributors were behind the flood.

Beth Mole - 7/17/2019, 4:12 PM


Between 2006 and 2012, opioid drug makers and distributors flooded the country with 76 billion pills of oxycodone and hydrocodone—highly addictive opioid pain medications that sparked the epidemic of abuse and overdoses that killed nearly 100,000 people in that time period.

Further Reading
With a 10-day supply of opioids, 1 in 5 become long-term users
As the epidemic surged over the seven-year period, so did the supply. The companies increased distribution from 8.4 billion in 2006 to 12.6 billion in 2012, a jump of roughly 50%. In all, the deluge of pills was enough to supply every adult and child in the country with around 36 opioid pills per year. Just a 10-day supply can hook 1 in 5 people into being long-term users, researchers have determined.

The stunning supply figures were first reported by the Washington Post and come from part of a database compiled by the Drug Enforcement Administration that tracked the fate of every opioid pill sold in America, from manufacturers to individual pharmacies. A federal court in Ohio released the data this week as part of a massive consolidated court case against nearly two-dozen opioid makers and distributors, brought by nearly 2,000 cities, towns, and counties. The local governments allege that the opioid companies conspired to saturate the country with the potent painkillers to soak up billions in profits. The companies deny the allegations, arguing generally that they were serving the needs of patients.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07/76-billion-opioid-pills-in-7-years-how-pharma-companies-drowned-us-in-drugs/
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Offline Drago

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Only available by Rx. Blame manufacturers but not doctors?!?

Offline Texas Yellow Rose

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Only available by Rx. Blame manufacturers but not doctors?!?
True .... the manufacturers and distributors don't write the prescriptions.

Offline Smokin Joe

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But...but...it is so much easier to treat the symptoms than the problem.

So Just take two and call me in the morning!
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Sounds like another round of socking it to legitimate pain patients.
Don't call it the "Federal Government," that's an insult to the Founders.  It's a "National Government."
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Bill Cipher

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Sounds like another round of socking it to legitimate pain patients.

Hardly.  Did you read any of the article?   The amounts that were being delivered to very small towns without anyone questioning it?

Online roamer_1

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Only available by Rx. Blame manufacturers but not doctors?!?

That is a stretch - In fact, I will say it's not true.
And probably the lion's share of addicts and deaths were probably not prescribed.

It could be that the prescription began the addiction, but the docs will usually not increase dosages forever, as the addict requires. Morphine is a high you get used to, and therefore, the addict chases the high into larger and larger dosages - which inevitably leads to the street, not the doctor's office.

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Hardly.  Did you read any of the article?   The amounts that were being delivered to very small towns without anyone questioning it?

I read it, and experience told me the rest.  When a bureaucracy decides on a solution to a problem it's always a bureaucratic solution, which always screws the people with the smallest voice.  In this case, that would be the legitimate patients.

In this article there is no voice at all, because there is zero mention of those patients.

More fodder for cracking down on the unfortunate Doctors who have to have to explain to their patients why they will have to start tolerating debilitating pain.
Don't call it the "Federal Government," that's an insult to the Founders.  It's a "National Government."
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Online roamer_1

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I read it, and experience told me the rest.  When a bureaucracy decides on a solution to a problem it's always a bureaucratic solution, which always screws the people with the smallest voice.  In this case, that would be the legitimate patients.

In this article there is no voice at all, because there is zero mention of those patients.

More fodder for cracking down on the unfortunate Doctors who have to have to explain to their patients why they will have to start tolerating debilitating pain.

That's likely right - One of the blatant failures of the article is that it treats 'opioid deaths' without seeming to excise heroin from those figures. How many of those deaths were from heroin? That would be a significant thing to know, one would suppose.

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That's likely right - One of the blatant failures of the article is that it treats 'opioid deaths' without seeming to excise heroin from those figures. How many of those deaths were from heroin? That would be a significant thing to know, one would suppose.

Dittos Fentanyl.  That's a lot of deaths swept under the "Opioid" rug, complicated by the fact there are legitimate patients for that.
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Online roamer_1

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Dittos Fentanyl.  That's a lot of deaths swept under the "Opioid" rug, complicated by the fact there are legitimate patients for that.

That's right. Neither does it take into account the truckloads of morphine products coming over the southern border, where norco is available across the counter, and sold like Chicklets...

You can't tell me that folks have not done that math - buy em three for a buck down there, get em over the border and get roughly 5-10 bucks a hit on the street...


Offline Sanguine

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Quote
Between 2006 and 2012, opioid drug makers and distributors flooded the country with 76 billion pills of oxycodone and hydrocodone—highly addictive opioid pain medications that sparked the epidemic of abuse and overdoses that killed nearly 100,000 people in that time period.

So, that's 12,666,666,667 pills per year, 34,679,443 pills per day.  If a person takes 4 pills per day, that's enough pills for 8,669,861 people.

Estimates of people suffering from chronic pain at any given time range from 50 million to 100 million.  That number doesn't include those suffering from transient incidents, such as surgery or trauma.

That quoted number seems horrible until you break it down.

Adding:  obviously, opioids can be very dangerous and should be taken carefully and only as needed. 
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 05:09:36 PM by Sanguine »
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Online roamer_1

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So, that's 12,666,666,667 pills per year, 34,679,443 pills per day.  If a person takes 4 pills per day, that's enough pills for 8,669,861 people.

Estimates of people suffering from chronic pain at any given time range from 50 million to 100 million.  That number doesn't include those suffering from transient incidents, such as surgery or trauma.

That quoted number seems horrible until you break it down.

That is a brilliant point.

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So, that's 12,666,666,667 pills per year, 34,679,443 pills per day.  If a person takes 4 pills per day, that's enough pills for 8,669,861 people.

Estimates of people suffering from chronic pain at any given time range from 50 million to 100 million.  That number doesn't include those suffering from transient incidents, such as surgery or trauma.

That quoted number seems horrible until you break it down.

Adding:  obviously, opioids can be very dangerous and should be taken carefully and only as needed.

Pocket calculators are a wonderful thing.  I've won a few arguments by running numbers as you just did!  thanks!
Don't call it the "Federal Government," that's an insult to the Founders.  It's a "National Government."
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Offline Sanguine

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Pocket calculators are a wonderful thing.  I've won a few arguments by running numbers as you just did!  thanks!

It's more of knowing what to put into the calculator.

And, another point - anytime you see "horrific" in a headline, approach it with extreme caution. 
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It's more of knowing what to put into the calculator.

And, another point - anytime you see "horrific" in a headline, approach it with extreme caution.

"If it bleeds, it leads."  Caution is advised, especially in the modern, now, a-go-go days of click bait headlines.
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Bill Cipher

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I read it, and experience told me the rest.  When a bureaucracy decides on a solution to a problem it's always a bureaucratic solution, which always screws the people with the smallest voice.  In this case, that would be the legitimate patients.

In this article there is no voice at all, because there is zero mention of those patients.

More fodder for cracking down on the unfortunate Doctors who have to have to explain to their patients why they will have to start tolerating debilitating pain.

Boo-boo-boo

Explaining to a few why they have to put up with a bit of extra pain is better than putting up with hundreds of thousands of lives ruined by the medical equivalent of dynamite. 

There’s a reason why you can’t just run out to the local feed store and buy a few sticks of dynamite to clear your field of stumps, and it’s not because “we” wanted to inconvenience people removing stumps. 

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Boo-boo-boo

Explaining to a few why they have to put up with a bit of extra pain is better than putting up with hundreds of thousands of lives ruined by the medical equivalent of dynamite. 

There’s a reason why you can’t just run out to the local feed store and buy a few sticks of dynamite to clear your field of stumps, and it’s not because “we” wanted to inconvenience people removing stumps.

We'll have to agree to disagree about how many millions of patients constitutes the "few" you would doom to a lifetime of debilitating pain.  I'm not talking about dental discomfort here, but spine patients who get relegated to beds and wheelchairs.  May you never have to care for one of them in your lifetime.
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Offline InHeavenThereIsNoBeer

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That is a stretch - In fact, I will say it's not true.
And probably the lion's share of addicts and deaths were probably not prescribed.

It could be that the prescription began the addiction, but the docs will usually not increase dosages forever, as the addict requires. Morphine is a high you get used to, and therefore, the addict chases the high into larger and larger dosages - which inevitably leads to the street, not the doctor's office.

FL is covered with ads for "pain clinics" (and lawyers).  Say it hurts, pay your "consultation" fee, get a script, go next door, rinse, lather, repeat.

My County Commissioner sends regular email updates.  One talked about what the county was doing to crack down on the illicit side (is there any other?) to these places, and about the big fines they were levying against offenders.  She didn't respond when I asked how much the county would be fining itself for providing them advertising space on the sides of our buses.
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Offline InHeavenThereIsNoBeer

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So, that's 12,666,666,667 pills per year, 34,679,443 pills per day.  If a person takes 4 pills per day, that's enough pills for 8,669,861 people.

Estimates of people suffering from chronic pain at any given time range from 50 million to 100 million.  That number doesn't include those suffering from transient incidents, such as surgery or trauma.

That quoted number seems horrible until you break it down.

Adding:  obviously, opioids can be very dangerous and should be taken carefully and only as needed.

I'd say that 8.7M number is high, as it doesn't account for pills:

1) Taken by animals
2) Thrown away
3) Taken recreationally

I've bought hydrocodone twice in my life, 40 pills in all, for my dog (prescribed to be taken "as necessary").  38 of them were thrown away.
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I'd say that 8.7M number is high, as it doesn't account for pills:

1) Taken by animals
2) Thrown away
3) Taken recreationally

I've bought hydrocodone twice in my life, 40 pills in all, for my dog (prescribed to be taken "as necessary").  38 of them were thrown away.

Additionally, as my County Supervisor told me, they count "pills," with no regard to the size of each pill.  A 5mg Vicoden counts the same as a 10mg Norco.  Makes it pretty difficult to measure relative dosages that way, comparing apples to oranges.  My Orthopod would give me a scrip for the 10mg Hydrocodones when I had hip surgery, and I promptly cut them all in half for dosing.
Don't call it the "Federal Government," that's an insult to the Founders.  It's a "National Government."
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Offline Sanguine

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I'd say that 8.7M number is high, as it doesn't account for pills:

1) Taken by animals
2) Thrown away
3) Taken recreationally

I've bought hydrocodone twice in my life, 40 pills in all, for my dog (prescribed to be taken "as necessary").  38 of them were thrown away.

I think we may have destroyed the eeeeeeeeeeevil drug companies thingie.
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Online roamer_1

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FL is covered with ads for "pain clinics" (and lawyers).  Say it hurts, pay your "consultation" fee, get a script, go next door, rinse, lather, repeat.

My County Commissioner sends regular email updates.  One talked about what the county was doing to crack down on the illicit side (is there any other?) to these places, and about the big fines they were levying against offenders.  She didn't respond when I asked how much the county would be fining itself for providing them advertising space on the sides of our buses.

That ain't how it is here. I had to call in to my doctor for a script. that script, hand written, had to be picked up by me, personally. and it was only good for that day, which means I had to go directly to the pharmacist, personally, regardeless of the line, and get it filled, pretty much immediately.

When you happen to be all stove up that day, those requirements are hell. And not just on me, but whoever has to take me around too, since I am likely too stove up to drive.

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I think we may have destroyed the eeeeeeeeeeevil drug companies thingie.

As long as the Press can find something to scream about, Big Pharma will always be evil.  Because profit.  If there's one thing they can't stand, it's people making a buck.
Don't call it the "Federal Government," that's an insult to the Founders.  It's a "National Government."
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Online Cyber Liberty

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That ain't how it is here. I had to call in to my doctor for a script. that script, hand written, had to be picked up by me, personally. and it was only good for that day, which means I had to go directly to the pharmacist, personally, regardeless of the line, and get it filled, pretty much immediately.

When you happen to be all stove up that day, those requirements are hell. And not just on me, but whoever has to take me around too, since I am likely too stove up to drive.

That's assuming the Pharmacy has it in stock.  If they don't, they won't tell you when they will have it, you have to just show up each day looking for it.  We encountered this at CVS a couple of times.  We just walked it over to Walmart, they always had plenty.

I read of some of my Bookface friends who really had trouble in the small cities with only a few pharmacies.  They'd have to drive 4 hours (one-way) to Phoenix to get a scrip filled.
Don't call it the "Federal Government," that's an insult to the Founders.  It's a "National Government."
I will NOT comply.
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