Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Disease & Illness

Massachusetts fights opiate epidemic

See also

The Commonwealth continues to try to ban distribution of a new prescription drug that is said to be 5 times as potent as Vicodin, a painkiller that is already available on the street and noted as a key contributor to the current “opiate epidemic”.

A Federal judge last week overturned the state ban, promoted by Governor Deval Patrick, opining that the state did not have jurisdiction over the Federal Food and Drug Administration, which approved the sale and distribution of Zohydro.

Zohydro is in the same class of drugs as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin and Methadone, all potent painkillers. This drug class, known as opiates, creates effects similar to heroin. It is these drugs, readily available by prescription from many doctors and dentists that are ending up on the streets as extra supplies are stolen from family medicine cabinets, sold by people who have more than needed or are obtained by people who “doctor shop” to obtain the prescriptions simply to sell. As use of these pills, which create feelings of euphoria in low doses, quickly become expensive, many people graduate to use of heroin which is cheaper and easily obtainable in the Northeast.

In response to the Federal court’s overturn of the state ban, the Massachusetts state Board of Registration in Medicine is enacting a requirement that prescribers of Zohydro must first complete a risk assessment and pain management treatment agreement with each patient before prescribing the drug. Many risk assessment formats exist, some more comprehensive than others. It is unclear at this time what format will be required or if prescribers will be left to choose a format on their own. Prescribers will also be required to participate in the Prescription Monitoring Program which has been enacted to monitor prescription and use of drugs of potential abuse such as the opiates.

A web site from the United Kingdom provides a comprehensive assessment format. In the United States the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends a number of different assessment tools including the DAST-10 and NIDAMED for doctors. Responsible prescription and use of Zohydro will only occur if adequate screening tools are utilized. If not, the opiate epidemic will grow proportionally.

Advertisement

Life

  • Randy Travis
    Randy Travis returns with 'Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am' in August
    Today's Buzz
  • Alternative medicine
    Alternative medicine: Remedies to make the bugs in your body go away for good
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    Camera
    10 Photos
  • Back to school
    These 10 items are sure winners on your back-to-school shopping trip
    Camera
    12 Photos
  • Izabel Goulart
    Izabel Goulart walks the runway with Studio F at Colombia Moda
    Camera
    19 Photos
  • Ombre' technique
    Go for the gusto: What ombre' technique are you?
    Camera
    5 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Step up to your potty for your health
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XcGanjHNxqA?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • How to enjoy food despite poor sense of smell
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517582356" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=517582356&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Recovery coaches: sobriety resource or fashion statement?
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518166862" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518166862&autoStart=true"></div>