prescription painkiller

Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

Experts often blame illicit fentanyl for skyrocketing overdose deaths among illegal drug users. Now a series of deaths at an Ohio hospital is raising questions about oversight in prescribing pharmaceutical fentanyl.

Credit Sebastián Martínez Valdivia/Side Effects Public Media

About 15 miles southwest of St. Louis is Fenton City Park. It’s pretty unremarkable, with picnic shelters, softball fields, and flags waving gently from a memorial to fallen soldiers. This is where Kevin Mullane sought refuge as he struggled with an opioid addiction.

New numbers released by the federal government reveal a continuing upward trend in drug overdose deaths, with 43,982 deaths in 2013 from both prescription medications and illegal drugs combined. Deaths involving prescription opioids increased 1 percent from 2012, while heroin-related deaths rose a staggering 39 percent.  However, almost twice as many people died from prescription opioid overdoses (16,235) as from heroin (8,257).

FDA Approves Slow-Release Painkiller

Nov 21, 2014

The FDA has approved a new opioid painkiller that releases over a 24-hour period, and is designed to reduce abuse by people chewing or smashing it into a powder for injection. However, the agency admits that abuse and overdose of the drug Hysingla is still possible.

Michael Regan of Bloomberg News spoke to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the new drug.

Study Identifies Best Way To Treat Neck Pain

Oct 24, 2014

A multicenter study of 169 men and women with a common form of neck pain suggests that both spinal steroid injections and conservative treatment with physical therapy and painkillers work equally well to relieve pain in the short term. But over time, a combination of the two appears to offer the most relief.
 
Results of the study, led by pain specialists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, are described online on October 21st in the journal Anesthesiology.
 

The federal government is finalizing new restrictions on hundreds of medicines containing hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the U.S.

The new rules mean that drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and their generic equivalents will be subject to the same prescribing rules as painkillers like codeine and oxycodone.

Prescriptions for narcotic painkillers have surged in recent years. Fatal overdoses and abuse of the drugs have risen, too. Doctors and patients are grappling with how to balance the need for pain relief with the potential for trouble.

Sound Medicine: April 20, 2014

Apr 20, 2014

The "Sound Medicine" program for April 20

  • Ebola outbreak in Guinea
  • The "gate-keeping" role of pharmacists
  • Insurance coverage of rehabilitation for prescription painkiller addiction