Are Pharmaceutical Companies to Blame for the Opioid Epidemic?

The Atlantic, 2 June 2017
Author: Alana Semuels
“Who is responsible for this? Some attorneys general and advocates are now asking in court whether the pharmaceutical companies who marketed the drugs and downplayed their addictive nature can be held legally responsible for – and made to pay for the consequences of – the crisis.”
Find article here.

Ohio Sues 5 Major Drug Companies For ‘Fueling Opioid Epidemic’

NPR, 31 May 2017
Author: Colin Dwyer
“The state of Ohio has sued five major drug manufacturers for their role in the opioid epidemic. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, state Attorney General Mike DeWine alleges these five companies “helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio.”
Find article here.

Canada eases steps to open supervised drug injection sites amid opioid crisis

The Guardian, 21 May 2017
Author: Ashifa Kassam
“Canada’s government has made it easier to open supervised drug injection sites across the country, offering communities a lifeline as they battle an opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in recent years. New legislation passed this week streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch these facilities, which offer a medically supervised space and sterile equipment for people who use drugs intravenously.”
Find article here.

Canada and eight US states have done it. Why can’t NSW legalise cannabis?

SMH, 24 April 2017
Author: Mehreen Faruqi
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced legislation that will legalise and regulate cannabis use in Canada. This would make Canada the second country the world (after Uruguay) to legalise adult use of cannabis. This comes off the heels of some ground-breaking reforms that took place in November last year when California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada all voted to legalise and regulate cannabis use, joining Colorado, Alaska, Washington and Oregon. One in five Americans now live in a state where adult use of cannabis is legal or is in the process of being made legal. So why has the debate barely even begun in Australia?”
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Health Care Complaints Commission v West [2017] NSWCATOD 39

Decision date: 22 March 2017
“MEDICAL PRACTITIONER – inappropriate prescription of drugs of addiction – inadequate clinical records – admissions by respondent. Held- respondent guilty of professional misconduct -orders made cancelling registration and for payment of costs.”
Find decision here.

EU recommends suspending hundreds of drugs tested by Indian firm

Reuters, 25 March 2017
Author: Ben Hirschler
“Europe’s medicines regulator has recommended the suspension of more than 300 generic drug approvals and drug applications due to “unreliable” tests conducted by Indian contract research firm Micro Therapeutic Research Labs.”
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Doctors Consider Ethics Of Costly Heart Surgery For People Addicted To Opioids

NPR, 21 March 2017
Author: Jack Rodolico
“Milford is part of a group of opioid addicts whom doctors describe as the sickest of the sick: intravenous drug users, mostly people who use heroin, who get endocarditis. Some aspects of their treatment present an ethical dilemma for doctors. Cardiologists, surgeons and infectious disease doctors can fix the infection, but not the underlying problem of addiction.”
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First licence granted for commercially grown medicinal cannabis in Australia

Dept of Health, 8 March 2017
“Access to medicinal cannabis has taken another major step forward today with first licence being granted for an Australian company to grow and harvest medicinal cannabis. This major development will lead to improved access to domestically produced medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients.”
Find media release here.

Beyond ice: rethinking Australia’s approach to illicit drugs

Med J Aust 2017; 206 (4): 151-152.
Authors: Matthew Y Frei, Alex D Wodak
“The prevailing theme of the Ice Taskforce report was an emphasis on drug treatment over law enforcement measures as a response to ice use. While this recommendation came from the whole Taskforce, it reflects the sentiment of the chair, former Victorian Police Commissioner, Ken Lay. Many others, including serving and retired senior police, are now coming forward to argue that Australia cannot arrest and imprison its way out of its illicit drug problem.”
Find article here.