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Opioid Manufacturers Paid Millions of Dollars to Groups that Lobbied for Increased Opioid Usage

Source: Newsweek

Major opioid manufacturers paid millions of dollars to groups that lobbied for increased opioid usage in the last five years, a Senate investigation claimed on Monday.

The investigation explored the financial ties between major opioid manufacturers and advocacy groups working in opioid policy. It found that many of the advocacy groups may have “played a significant role” in the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Between 2012 and 2017, five companies that produce top opioid products—Purdue, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Mylan, Insys Therapeutics and Depomed—together paid $8.8 million to 14 organizations that, according to the report, promoted opioid prescription, attempted to downplay the risk of addiction to opioids and lobbied against restrictions on overprescription.

Because of the organizations’ classification under the tax code, they don’t have a legal obligation to disclose their donors.

Janssen paid $465,152 and, in an email, referred to an announcement that it, too, had recently made the decision to stop promoting opioids (in 2015). “Since 2008, the volume of Janssen opioid medications always has amounted to less than one percent of the total prescriptions written per year for these medications,” a spokesperson wrote.

Mylan, in its response, said the inquiry showed “Mylan’s limited role in the manufacturing and marketing of opioids.” A spokeswoman noted that Mylan made limited payments ($20,250, according to the report) to the American Pain Society, solely for its annual conferences.

The president of the U.S. Pain Foundation (which received over $2.9 million from the opioid manufacturers), Paul Gileno, wrote in an email to Newsweek, “We have never lobbied for the increased use of opioids and never would. It’s appalling to me that this would be suggested. We certainly have not contributed to the opioid epidemic. We work hard to educate and empower patients on all options of treatments.”

The report comes at a time when the opioid crisis has left Americans reeling. Opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths in 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control. And opioid overdose deaths in 2016 were five times higher than in 1999.

Dr. David Berk, Chiropractic Sports Physician and Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist
Advanced Physical Medicine Center, Fairview NJ

Remedies for back pain range from patches to devices to the OTC pills that people also take for a headache or a cold. And of course, many people will go to a doctor who will prescribe serious pain pills. Why opt for physiotherapy?
Dr. Berk: Most back pain is not caused from one single reason — rather, it is of insidious onset and is most likely the accumulation of small pressures to the spine over a long period of time.

Pain is our alarm system alerting us that there is a problem. Medication specifically to treat pain simply turns off the alarm system — it doesn’t address the problem. The goal of rehabilitation is to correct poor movement patterns with manual therapy and exercise. In other words, rehabilitation corrects the root of the problem.

What do you say to people who have back pain in terms of what they should do and why?
Dr. Berk: The primary goal is to evaluate that individual to find out why they are experiencing pain. Once the problem is discovered, a treatment plan is created to improve any functional deficit — range of motion, flexibility, strength, and coordination. It is imperative to empower the patient and make them realize that they can stay well by themselves and do not require the help of others. A healthy lifestyle that includes an anti-inflammatory diet and exercise are key factors to the health of the musculoskeletal system.

How long should a person go on with handling back pain before surgery is the only recourse?
Dr. Berk: Only 3-5% of patients with lower back pain require surgical intervention. By definition, patients who require surgery have progressive neurological symptoms such as muscle weakness caused by a pinched nerve. But pain is not a criterion for surgery — there are infinite options available while the patient finds a treatment option that works for him or her to address the problem.

What is the most common cause of back pain?
Dr. Berk: The most common cause is cycles of repetitive or prolonged bending, or sitting over a long period of time. The typical lower back patient is one that is de-conditioned from a sedentary lifestyle and sits in front of a computer for 40 plus hours per week.

We believe that movement is medicine. A physical therapist who studies movement has a mantra that I really like – “First move well, and then move often.” If every patient followed this prescription, lower back pain wouldn’t be the third most costly condition of our health care system, and 80% of the population wouldn’t experience it at least once during their lifetime.

Source: TheHill.com

A bipartisan group of New York lawmakers called on White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to scrap a proposal in President Trump’s proposed budget plan they say could threaten the health treatment of 9/11 first responders.

New York Reps. Peter King (R), Jerry Nadler (D) and Carolyn Maloney (D) said they were “shocked and disturbed” by the proposal, which would see a realignment involving the World Trade Center Health Program.

That program is currently housed in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Trump’s 2019 budget proposal for NIOSH would move that agency into the National Institute for Health (NIH).

That move could result in the shifting of employees from NIOSH to the NIH, impacting the 83,000 9/11 first responders who receive treatment and care from the WTC Health program.

“The proposal directly contradicts legislation Congress passed just three years ago to renew WTCHP for 75 years within NIOSH,” the three lawmakers wrote in their letter to Mulvaney on Friday.

King, Nadler, and Maloney were the original sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, which works to provide health care and financial aid to 9/11’s first responders.

They said the budget proposal was made with no input from the 9/11 health-care community.

“If you had spoken to us, or anyone in the 9/11 healthcare community, you would have understood that the World Trade Center Health Program is fully integrated with NIOSH and there are many shared NIOSH staff whose expertise would be lost if the WTCHP is pulled from NIOSH,” the lawmakers said.

“We also would have explained the amount of progress NIOSH has made in service delivery, all of which would be lost if WTCHP were removed from the institute.”

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Heart Health Awareness: Rise Above Heart Failure · Self-Check Plan · For Women
American Heart Assoc. New Jersey · NJ Dept. of Health Resources

Sources: American Heart Association; BlackDoctor.org

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, has recognized award-winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer Queen Latifah for her dedication and commitment to raising awareness about heart failure, a dangerous, chronic condition affecting more than 6.5 million Americans. According to AHA CEO Nancy Brown, Queen Latifah “is helping others understand the signs and symptoms of the condition and providing support so they can live a full life. She is truly an inspiration.”

Queen Latifah knows first-hand the importance of understanding the symptoms and treatment for heart failure. She’s the primary caregiver for her mother, Rita Owens, who is living with the condition.

“My mom means everything to me, and I am excited to dedicate this award to her,” said Queen Latifah. “For my entire life, she has been my rock. When she was diagnosed with heart failure, I didn’t think twice before stepping up as her caregiver. It wasn’t an easy process, but I hope that our experiences can empower and inspire others who are also living with heart failure.”

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart can’t pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body’s needs. More than 6.5 million Americans are living with HF and more than 308,000 people die from it each year. One in five people will have heart failure in their lifetime with nearly a million new cases diagnosed each year.

But the condition is manageable if it’s diagnosed early. Making sure patients and their families recognize symptoms and talk to a doctor to get on an appropriate treatment plan is critical.

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org.

Source: Shore News Brigantine

Pickleball is a sort of hybrid between tennis, ping-pong and badminton that was created in a backyard near Seattle in the mid-1960s. The game now has about 150,000 players nationwide and its own governing body, the USA Pickleball Association, which sanctions national tournaments and player ratings.

The Brigantine Community Recreation and Education Department (CER) has offered pickleball for about four years. It is free to play, no court reservations are required, and games are structured in a friendly pickup format on weekdays. It’s played on courts set up in the gym at the Brigantine Community Center on 42nd Street 7:30-9 p.m. Monday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 1-3 p.m. Wednesday.

Pickleball gets its comical name from the game inventor’s dog, who would chase down and steal the ball every time it got smacked off the court.

“Wednesday is an instructional program for beginners who want to learn the game, and a core group of regular players teach it,” explains said the CER’s Ed Stoltzfus. “Tuesday and Thursday evenings are the most popular times to play.”

Special paddles are used. The net is similar to a tennis net but smaller, and the ball is perforated similar to a wiffle ball. Rules are a blend between tennis and badminton, and scoring is similar to volleyball in that only the serving team scores points. The first side — be it singles or doubles — to reach 11 points wins, and a team or individual must win by at least two points, as in ping-pong.

The CER provides paddles and balls for anyone who requires them. All ages are welcome, but the game tends to draw participants age 40 and up. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA.org) website notes that pickleball has been gaining popularity among older adults largely because of its being low impact; helpful in improving and maintaining balance, agility and eye-hand coordination; and providing an excellent way to expand social horizons.

“You’re using paddles and it’s more of a finesse game like ping-pong, but you’re physically moving around on the court as you would be in tennis,” says longtime Brigantine resident Tom Donahue. “And because you’re competing – and I don’t mean to say this is anything super competitive – but because you’re keeping score, you’re trying a little harder and pushing yourself a little bit more.”

“It’s popularity is enormous, and it’s been that way from the beginning,” says the CER’s Ed Stoltzfus. “If you told me it would end up being this popular after we started it, I would have laughed.”

Click for Additional New Jersey Pickeball Leagues
For more on picklebacll and other activities the Brigantine CER offers, call 609-264-7350, ext. 1, or visit their Facebook page.

Source: Essex News Daily

The first in “SOMA Talks,” a three-part education series that focuses on teenage alcohol and drug abuse, were recently held at The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road, in Maplewood.

The current opioid epidemic is widely publicized in the news, which has raised public awareness about this public health crisis. While these stories accurately report statistics, what is usually absent from these articles is information about how to spot abuse by members of your family, what to do if abuse is discovered, and how to navigate and effectively cope with a recovering addict in your family.

Addiction does not discriminate and is a major public health issue.

The Maplewood and South Orange Alliances, which are volunteer organizations that are funded by grants from the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, have partnered with ADAPT, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County, to create a three-part education forum that focuses on teenage alcohol and drug abuse.

The first session will cover education and current trends, focusing on educating parents on the current abuse trends and how to create a trusted environment to talk to children and family members about substance abuse.

The second session will cover signs of usage and addiction, focusing on the warning signs of drug and alcohol use and abuse and what to do when evidence is discovered.

The third session will cover how to keep family members in recovery, featuring a discussion from professionals focusing on how to cope with this family disease, including erasing the stigma of addiction in the family.

Future SOMA sessions will be April 18 and 25. They are free and open to the public.