There is good news in the campaign to reduce opioid deaths in Rhode Island. Newly released data show the Ocean State is at the top in New England and second best in the nation in reducing the number of opioid prescriptions filled within the past three years. Rhode Island’s numbers fell by 24.8 percent, second only to West Virginia’s 27.6 percent decline. Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire all brought their numbers down by better than 20 percent, while Vermont and Connecticut achieved slightly smaller decreases. Nationally, the average decrease was 14.6 percent, but for first time, every state in the union showed a decline.
PROVIDENCE – Monica Smith, the new executive director at RICARES, the Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts, newly arrived from Oregon, admits that she is still learning how best to navigate her way around the policy labyrinths of Rhode Island – and how to properly pronounce the names of towns and cities.
In turn, what she brings to the conversation is a fresh perspective on the dynamics of the recovery movement, one that places an emphasis on building relationships.
Sen Claire McCaskill (D, Missouri) has launched a Senate investigation into whether 5 drug companies marketed their opioid painkillers in a manner that may have contributed to the nation’s opioid epidemic.
In letters to the companies, which include Mylan, Depomed, INSYS Therapeutics, Purdue Pharma, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen division, McCaskill demanded internal documents relating to the firms’ marketing tactics, studies the companies conducted that might have alerted them to the risk of addiction and lethal overdose, behind-the-scenes efforts to block increased regulation, and sales quotas that may have led drug representatives to use kickbacks to encourage physicians to prescribe the drugs.