per Kolodny: ‘It’s coming’: Kansas health professionals, leaders consider opioid crisis impact on state

‘It’s coming’: Kansas health professionals, leaders consider opioid crisis impact on state

The opioid crisis is poised to become a Kansas problem, and leaders across the state must consider what can be done to address it now.

 Sharp increases in deaths from opioid drug overdoses, including heroin, are hitting much of the country. Although Kansas has yet to see a strong impact, a Tuesday symposium about the opioid crisis organized by the Kansas Health Institute, brought state and industry leaders together with one message: it’s coming.

“I don’t think we’re quite to the place yet where we recognize how bad this is going to be when it gets here,” said panelist Ed Klumpp, former Topeka Police Department chief and currently lobbying for the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police. “But it’s coming. You could say the edge of the hurricane is hitting us right now, and the eye is on the way.”

Bob St. Peter, KHI president and CEO, agreed.

“The question for us is what can Kansas do, what will Kansas do to prepare and respond to what we know is coming,” he said. “We clearly already have a problem in our state, but is there something we can do to dampen that peak, that spike, that we know has been seen in so many other communities across the country.”

In 2015, 38,000 people died from motor vehicle accidents, 36,000 from guns and 52,000 from drug overdoses, St. Peter said.

Keynote speaker Andrew Kolodny, M.D., is a leading national expert on the prescription opioid and heroin crisis. When he first began talking on the subject, it was necessary to convince people there was an epidemic, he said. That talk is no longer necessary.

“Each year for the past 20 years, we’ve set a new record for deaths from drug overdoses in the United States,” he said. “Next year, we will break that record.”

Until 2010, the increase in deaths was driven by prescription opioids, such as oxycodone, Kolodny said. But since 2010, deaths from those drugs have flattened out, and deaths from heroin began going up “very rapidly,” he said.

That didn’t occur, as commonly thought, because there was a “crackdown” on prescription painkillers; instead, it can be attributed at least in part to the increased practice of mixing fentanyl, a strong opioid pain medication, with other drugs. There hasn’t, in fact, Kolodny said, been a crackdown on using painkillers.

“We are still massively over-prescribing opioids,” he said.

Kolodny, in walking through a brief history of opioids or “how we got into this mess,” said prescription opioids are made from opium, typically using the same process used to make heroin.

“When you talk about opioid pain medicines, we’re essentially talking about heroin pills,” he said, adding that by making that statement, he’s not saying don’t prescribe opioids. They remain an important medicine for pain management.

But much needs to be done to address the multitude of ways people become addicted, Kolodny said. That can occur from recreational use, using prescribed drugs, or, as he said may be the most common, a brief medical exposure, followed by recreational use.

Opioid addiction is strongly affecting young people in their 20s and people over the age of 45 or 50, Kolodny said, who also pointed out that demographics are showing significant differences in opioid use among racial groups.

“To say that the epidemic is disproportionately white is an understatement,” he said. “It’s really striking how white the epidemic is.”

Another primary issue is the connection between opioid deaths and opioid sales. On a chart Kolodny showed, the sales and deaths trended upward at about the same pace. The CDC message to the medical community is that the epidemic may not be able to be controlled until sales, or prescriptions, are controlled, Kolodny said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 82 to 95 opioid prescriptions are written per 100 people in Kansas. Other states, primarily in the east but also including Oklahoma, range 96 to 143 prescriptions per 100 people.

In the U.S., Kolodny said, about five percent of the world’s population is consuming about 80 percent of the world’s oxycodone and about 90 percent of the world’s hydrocodone.

“The most consistent explanation for geographical differences that we see in our opioid crisis is that the opioid crisis is worst where doctors prescribe most aggressively,” he said.

In two panels, the KHI symposium also heard from Kansas leaders who talked about prescribing, treatment, regulation and enforcement, sharing programs already in place that are addressing the crisis and also needs.

St. Peter said he hopes the symposium gave attendees a broad look at the issue, but more importantly, started conversations.

“The people that could address the issue in our state were in this room today. I hope that they got educated about the issues, and understand the urgency and can come together collectively to do something,” he said. “That’s what we were trying to get done.”

Kolodny stated that prescription opiate deaths have flatten since 2010… keep in mind that our population increases at about a 3%/yr rate.. that means in SEVEN YEARS… our population has increased some 20 million+.  SO… IF they have flattened… if figured by population… there has been a 20%+ REDUCTION…This past week claims that they have reduced opiate prescriptions written nationally by about 15% since 2012… Gov Kasich has stated that there has been HUNDREDS OF MILLION of fewer opiate doses prescribed – JUST IN OHIO

The DEA has reduced the pharmas’ opiate allowable production quota by upward of 35% this year and proposed cutting another 20% next year.. that will be nearly a 50% reductions in production.

He is still calling the opiate crisis a EPIDEMIC… but to be a EPIDEMIC.. it would have to be a CONTAGIOUS DISEASE and there is NOTHING about the proposed opiate OD/abuse crisis that would indicate that it would qualify as a EPIDEMIC.

Has anyone seen a estimate of how much illegal Heroin and illegal fentanyl analogs actually gets to our streets ?   It has been reported that the drug cartels generate an estimated 100 BILLION/yr in revenue and I have seen it stated that the DEA admits that it is able to seize about 4% of what gets to the street.

Has anyone noticed that we hear very little about all the Cocaine, Crack, Methamphetamine on our streets and the abuse of these products ? Has the abuse of these products pretty much stopped… or is it just not possible for the media to sensationalize multiple drug crisis at the same time ?

You notice.. NO ONE .. never compares the drug OD deaths to the number of deaths caused by the use/abuse of the the two drugs ALCOHOL and NICOTINE…  maybe the 550,000/yr deaths could not compare favorably ?



2 Responses

  1. pss,,hate auto spell check,,,,”to LIVE,LIFE,”,,,not life/life,,,sorry,,,maryw

  2. Klonodyn or any human being,who has literally killed over 25,000 people over 10 years ,or has forcible made over 1 million people suffer in agonizing physical pain due to medical condition would of been brought up on the war crime of torture and genocide,,,yet,,,klonodyn has not,,,why?
    Klonodyn & any person who think they have a right to decide thru ABUSE OF A POSITION OF POWER in any government,,,but thinks they have the right to decide,who suffers in physical pain and who does not,when it is literally impossible for anyone to physically feel the physical pain of another,would be labelled a psychopath..yet Klonodyn is allowed to continue to torture the medically ill in physical pain,to death,,
    Klonodyn states heroin is the same,a lie,,,yet thee chemical formula and methodolgy to make all kinds of MEDICINES from the poppy flower are completely different..Its like compareing grapes to wine,,,because they are made from a grape,,Different heats,different amounts of chemicals are use to make MEDICINES,, verses street heroin,,,thats a fact,,Yet again,,klonodyn is allowed to lie to the public,and gets away w/it,,,,for now,,,
    Any other person who thought they had the right to force people to suffer and die in agony,,thus obvious delusions of granduer,,would be labelled a psychopath,,,yet,,,klonodyn gets away w/it…
    Klonody,or any opther person who has a obvious inability to recgonize the reality they have caused,,that reality being death and torture onto the medically ill,,would be instittionalized for life for his crimes against humanity,,their inability to see reality,again,,would be labelled severely mentally ill,,,yet klonodyn has continue his delusion of granduer,his inability to see reality,his lies,thus a liar,and he feel he has the right to harm human beings,,,yet,,,,for now,,,he get away w/it,,Any of us,,,would be labeled a psychopathioc killer,,,,,,and would of been locked up w/ the 1st murder….
    Klonodyn has played his delusion out soo well because he used societies hatred,bigotry&,prejudice towards our MEDICINE,, by klonodyn labelling our medicine a drug,ie heroin,,he manipulated the masses to believe our medicine is a drug,thus any of us who use our MEDICINE lawfuly as prescribed,,in the public eye.thanks to klonodyn,the public bigotry/prejudice,,we are nothing more then addicts,,,He has labelled the medically ill who use medicine from thee poppy flower,,as addict,in the public eye,,thus we are now sub-human,below thee worthyness of compassion,humane care etc,,,As 1 lawyer put it,thanks to klonody,,we are,justifyably torture to death..
    Like or not Andy,,u,,,have force 10,000 of medically ill human beings,,to be literally tortured to death,,,by your PROP-AGENDA,, of prohibition on all opiate medicines,,,U,, it or not as seen here,,have forced over 2,000 people a year since 2002 to use death as their only means of stopping their physical pain,,6,000 people after your tortureous guidelines..U ask for proof,,look at the suicide data,,,We all know,,u are the responsible 1,,for literal torture to death all CPP’s,,
    Here’s a thought,a psychopathic killer would never be able to recognize,,ITS NOT YOUR PLACE/RIGHT/TO DECIDE WHO IS TORTUREd TO DEATH,VIA DENIAL OF ACCESS TO MEDICINE TO LESSEN SEVERE PHYSICAL PAIN,,,,THE last human being,,who ,,thought he had the right to decide,,,who lived,,,or died,,who died a tortureous death,,,death towards a certain group of people,,,,,was Adolf Hitler,,,
    THAT IS same PREJUDICE u have unleashed onto all human beings in physical pain from medical illness who need a medicine to life life w/less physical pain,,,,,a fact any humane person would recognize,,,,but then again,,YOUR NOT CAPABLE of being A HUMANE PERSON,,,FOR U HAVE NO CLUE,,,THIS REALITY U HAVE UNLEASHED ONTO ALL OF US….. no matter,,,it is the reality,,u have done,,,w/suicide skyrocketing,thus death,,Since your inhumane bigotry/prejudice towards a group of people,,,Death to a group of people is legally defined via the U.N as genocide,,,just like Adolf,,,,
    As I have mentioned before,,I firmly believe,,how u treat people in this life,,,will determine your place in the next,,,good luck w/ that 1 Andrew Klonodyn,,,maryw.

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