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Chemical Weapon for Sale: China's Unregulated Narcotic

The AP found 12 Chinese companies willing to ship carfentanil to the US

(Newser) - It's one of the strongest opioids in circulation, so deadly an amount smaller than a poppy seed can kill a person. Until July, when reports of carfentanil overdoses began to surface in the US, the substance was best known for knocking out moose and elephants—or as a chemical... More »

Medical Examiner's Son Dies of Drug Overdose

'No family is immune,' Wis. senator says

(Newser) - There have been more than 160 drug-related deaths in Milwaukee County, Wis., this year, 70 of them in the last seven weeks, and that is more than just a grim statistic for Chief Medical Examiner Brian Peterson. His own son, Adam Peterson, a 29-year-old with a history of drug use,... More »

Heroin Being Cut With Drug That Can Kill an Elephant

2 counties in Indiana and Ohio had up to 60 ODs in a 2-day period this week

(Newser) - One hundred times more potent than the drug that played a role in killing Prince and 10,000 times stronger than morphine, carfentanil is the strongest opioid commercially available—an animal tranquilizer so lethal it can kill if absorbed through the skin and permanently take out a 7-ton elephant, per... More »

Scientists May Have Discovered Addiction-less Painkiller

PZM21 could potentially replace morphine and other opioids

(Newser) - The Los Angeles Times reports scientists are "tantalizingly close" to the perfect painkilling drug. Researchers announced the discovery of PZM21 in a study published Wednesday in Nature . In testing on mice, the chemical compound relieved nearly as much pain as morphine—87% to 92%—and lasted longer. At the... More »

Getting Pain Meds Can Be Difficult— If You're Black

Study finds disparity in how they're doled out

(Newser) - White people are roughly twice as likely to die from prescription painkillers as black people in the US; now a new study finds that they're also twice as likely to be prescribed them. It's just the latest finding to show that minorities are treated differently when it comes... More »

Citing Prince's Death, Chaka Khan Goes to Rehab

Says she's addicted to same drug that killed the icon

(Newser) - Chaka Khan and her sister have both entered a drug rehabilitation program to battle their addictions to prescription drugs, and Kahn says the death of her good friend Prince helped hasten her decision to get help. In a statement released to the AP on Sunday, the 63-year-old Grammy-winning singer said... More »

Ex-Addict: I Got Prescription Opioids Way Too Easily

Doctors knew history, kept pills coming

(Newser) - Seth Mnookin is recovering from a three-year addiction to heroin, which he kicked in 1997. So when he went to Massachusetts General Hospital to be treated for kidney stones that left him in severe pain, he made sure to tell every medical professional he encountered about his history with addiction.... More »

FDA: Imodium Misuse Could Be Fatal

The diarrhea medication is used to get high and cope with opioid withdrawals

(Newser) - An increasing amount of Americans are taking the diarrhea medication Imodium to get high or cope with withdrawals from opioid painkillers. Now, the FDA is warning that the misuse of Imodium—generically known as loperamide—could cause serious, possibly fatal heart problems. Thanks to America's increasing addiction to opioids,... More »

Prince Died of Painkiller OD

Autopsy results are in

(Newser) - Prince died of an overdose of fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin, autopsy results released Thursday show. The findings confirm suspicions that opioids played a role in the death of the superstar musician, who was found dead April 21 at his... More »

Prince Lay Dead in Elevator for 6 Hours

He had also sought help for apparent opioid addiction

(Newser) - Prince was apparently battling opioid addiction when he died—and when he did die, he lay in an elevator for at least six hours before being found, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Sources close to the investigation say Prince had suffered an opioid overdose on April 15 and received treatment... More »

Doctor Database Abused by Users Seeking Opioids

ProPublica admits problem with "Prescriber Checkup"

(Newser) - Looks like a freely available online database that reveals which doctors are prescribing what pills has partly backfired. Stephen Engelberg, editor-in-chief at ProPublica—which unveiled Prescriber Checkup in 2013—admits as much. "Thousands of the people ... viewed the 'reporting recipe' we wrote to help local journalists identify doctors... More »

Opioid Addicts Getting High on Diarrhea Meds—Fatally

'As dumb and dangerous as it sounds'

(Newser) - In yet another sign that the US is facing a mounting opioid epidemic, people are trying to get high, or at least temper their opiate withdrawals, off an anti-diarrhea drug commonly sold under the brand name Imodium, reports NPR . In the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine , researchers note an uptick... More »

Jamie Lee Curtis: I, Too, Was Addicted to Painkillers

She shares her story in response to Prince's death

(Newser) - It's time to do something about painkiller addiction, writes Jamie Lee Curtis in the Huffington Post , where she reveals that she was once addicted, like Prince reportedly was. "I too, waited anxiously for a prescription to be filled for the opiate I was secretly addicted to. I too,... More »

OxyContin's Biggest Claim Can Result in 'Hell' for Users

LA Times: It often wears off before 12 hours, creating big problems

(Newser) - One of the huge selling points of OxyContin is that it boasts of keeping users free of pain for 12 hours, thus allowing them to sleep through the night. But an investigation by the Los Angeles Times finds that the claim doesn't hold true for many patients, and when... More »

Prince Had Date With Addiction Doctor: Report

Doctor's son reportedly called 911

(Newser) - Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a nationally recognized specialist in opioid addiction, received a call on April 20 about a man suffering from a "grave" addiction to painkillers. The California doctor sent his son on a red-eye flight to see the patient in Minnesota and explain how his father's "... More »

1 in 11 Organ Donors Died of Drug Overdose Last Year

More than 20 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant

(Newser) - As the number of Americans dying of drug overdoses continues to rise—thanks in large part to an opioid epidemic—so too has the number of organ donors. In fact, the percentage of donors who died of overdoses has nearly tripled since 2006, according to data gathered by the United... More »

Mom Who Found Daughter Dead Writes Devastatingly Honest Obituary

Kelsey Endicott, 23, died of accidental overdose

(Newser) - Kathleen Errico is the latest devastated family member to take part in a heartbreaking trend: being brutally honest about a person's untimely death. Errico found her 23-year-old daughter dead in her bed, TV still on, at 3:45am on April 2. Kelsey Endicott, who leaves behind a 2-year-old son,... More »

Americans Name Drug They Fear Most—and It's Legal

Alcohol causes 88K deaths a year

(Newser) - The second deadliest drug in the US after tobacco is similarly legal, and claims more lives than all illicit drugs combined with 88,000 deaths a year. Alcohol is also the drug that has Americans most concerned, reports the AP and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the... More »

Addict's Story Touched Obama; Months Later, She Was Dead

Jessica Grubb died of 'oxycodone toxicity' on March 2

(Newser) - "I have sobriety, good books, Netflix, and a wonderful family," Jessica Grubb wrote from a Michigan hospital on Feb. 23, ahead of hip surgery. On March 1, the 30-year-old recovering heroin addict left the hospital with an IV port in her arm and 50 prescribed pills of oxycodone.... More »

CDC to Doctors: Cool It With the Painkiller Prescriptions

New recommendations aim to curb opioid abuse

(Newser) - Prescription painkillers should not be a first-choice for treating common ailments like back pain and arthritis, according to new federal guidelines designed to reshape how doctors prescribe drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. Amid an epidemic of addiction and abuse tied to these powerful opioids drugs, the Centers for Disease Control... More »

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