According to a press release recently distributed online via their website, the National Association of Attorneys General has announced it will develop a training series designed to protect patients and communities from prescription painkillers known as “opioids”, which have led to many overdose deaths across the United States and has been a central point in the media. According to New York Times reporter and author of “Pain Killer: A ‘Wonder’ Drug’s Trail of Addiction and Death”, Lenny Bernstein told National Public Radio that the media was not only silent but failed in their basic jobs to question junk science being brought forth by the pharmaceutical industry. The NPR broadcast covered a story of corruption, greed, misinformation and addiction across the U.S. opioid struggle.
Bernstein also spent time covering the public health tale involving big tobacco too, drawing comparisons. What is different this time, Bernstain noted, is that litigation, legislation, public outcry and legal action has been taking place in response much faster than with tobacco in regards to opioids. That is because the drug’s effects are more damaging in the immediate and near term. Death from overdose, “dope sickness” and other persistent problems associated with drug addiction can take place within weeks, said Bernstein.
The training series the NAAG has developed is called the Opioid Abuse Consumer Protection and Enforcement Training and the group of state lawyers said it is designed to help AGs, investigators, consumer advocates and others to educate consumers and provide legal protection and enforcement when it comes to the abuse of opioid drugs, according to the press release.
The AGs announced that the issues and topics covered during the courses include abuse dangers, history of prescription practices in the healthcare industry, the subsequent development of what are called “pill mills” (which Bernstein also discussed in his NPR interview, book and Times reportage) and the emergence and impact of new online off-label companies online. There will also be discussion on the impact on society, including financial burdens and healthcare costs. The potential for fraud activity will also be discussed as well as driving under the influence of these painkiller drugs. There will also be some time dedicated to understanding prescription drugs’ environmental impact.
Course participants, who will be selected by the NAAG, will try to address these problems in their own communities and use evidence based models. They will also learn various stakeholder roles and how to work with these groups, which include state pharmacy, medical, and dental boards. It also includes state health departments. The NAAG will announce nomination information in November 2017. There will be an event in Fort Lauderdale for the NAAG on February 01, 2018 – February 02, 2018.