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The long delay since the last Advocacy Update does not reflect the pace of activities in the opioid addiction epidemic or in FED UP!
The terrible news that came in December was a shocking 27.7% increase in opioid overdose deaths. 350,000 Americans have now died of opioid overdose deaths since the epidemic began in 1999. Between 2015 and 2016, deaths due to fentanyl and analogues more than doubled from 9,945 to 20,145, and more opioid deaths in 2016 involved fentanyl than either prescription opioids or heroin. Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than heroin, and users have no way to know how much fentanyl has been added to their heroin, or whether their entire heroin dose is in fact fentanyl. Heroin has always been a dangerous drug, but as fentanyl-laced heroin became common, the death rate for heroin users tripled.
Daniel Busch, M.D.
Chair FED UP! Coalition Advocacy Committee
The last few months have certainly demonstrated the real inadequacy of the Federal Government’s efforts in dealing with the epidemic of opioid addiction. The worst news has been the ongoing escalation in opioid overdose deaths.
Furthermore, provisional CDC data indicate that there has been a rise of another 8.1% of opioid deaths in 2017, which would bring the number of opioid deaths to 69,000 in 2017.
Dear FED UP! Friends,
We need your help to have ultra-high dosage unit opioids removed from the market. These are pills so strong that just one could cause an overdose in someone not used to taking opioids.
We have joined PROP, Shatterproof, the National Safety Council and ASTHO, the organization for state health commissioners, in petitioning FDA for removal of these products.
We believe that ultra-high dosage opioids can be removed without any burden or hardship for patients who need high doses, like people with advanced cancer. Patients will still have access to the same opioids. The only difference is that they will have to swallow more pills at one time if they are on extremely high doses. For patients who can’t easily swallow extra pills, opioids are available as liquids and patches.
We know this will not solve the opioid crisis, but if the FDA does what we’re asking, lives will be saved.
If you have questions about this effort, please read our fact sheet.
You can help by leaving a comment on the FDA Docket. Just click here.
1. When you leave a comment, please begin by saying something about your personal experience. If you know someone who became opioid addicted by taking prescription opioids, even if they switched to heroin, please mention it.
2. Please state clearly that you are strongly supporting the petition.
3. Please explain why you support the petition. For example, you can write:
The risks of ultra-high dosage opioids outweigh the potential benefit. An opioid so strong that just one pill can kill should not be on the market. You can remove these products without hardship for patients. Patients who need high doses can swallow more pills at a time. We have lost too many lives already. Removing these products will not solve the opioid crisis but it will help. Please do the right thing. Please seek removal of ultra-high dosage opioids.
4. After you leave a comment, please ask someone you know to do the same.
The FDA is seeking comments from the public about steps they can take to address the opioid crisis. Please go to the federal website to leave a comment – and please do this now because the docket will close in a matter of days. Deadline: December 28, 2017
Leaving a comment is easy. It just takes a few minutes. Here’s how to do this:
- Step 1: Click on the link at the bottom of this message
- Step 2: Enter requested information
- Step 3: Enter your comment:
Start with a couple of sentences about how the opioid crisis has impacted you. If you have a loved one that became addicted from taking opioid painkillers, please make sure to mention it- even if your loved one switched to heroin. If you want to thank FDA for seeking comments, that would be nice.
Here are some suggested points you should make in your comment:
- FDA should overhaul its opioid policies- as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences in a recent report.
- FDA should prohibit drug companies from promoting long-term use of opioids as safe and effective for chronic pain.
- FDA should remove dangerous ultra-high dosage opioids from the market.
- FDA should stop approving new opioids- we can’t handle the ones we have now.
- FDA should make education about addiction mandatory for prescribers who want to give more than a 3-day supply of opioids.
- Step 4: Submit comment
- Step 5: Encourage someone you know to also leave a comment.
Submit comments on FDA’s newly established
Opioid Policy Steering Committee
Deadline: December 28, 2017
FORBES – 11/16/2017
Governing the States and Localities – 11/13/2017
Los Angeles Times – 11/07/2017