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Drugs

Prescription Opioids, Heroin, Fentanyl in Louisiana

Fentanyl Lawyer Louisiana

There is an opioid epidemic in Louisiana and the rest of the country.  Prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl have created a lot of substance abuse addictions and deaths.  The Barkemeyer Law Firm focuses its practice on defending clients with drug charges, including possession of prescription pills, heroin, and fentanyl in Louisiana.  Contact us if you need a fentanyl possession lawyer for a drug charge in Louisiana.

Types of Painkillers

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) act on substances in the body that can cause inflammation, pain, and fever.
  • Corticosteroids are often administered as an injection at the site of musculoskeletal injuries. They exert powerful anti-inflammatory effects. They can also be taken orally to decrease inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Acetaminophen increases the body’s pain threshold, but it has little effect on inflammation.
  • Opioids, also known as narcotic analgesics, modify pain by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Opioids decrease a patient’s perception of pain.
  • Muscle relaxants reduce pain from tense muscle groups, most likely through inhibitory actions in the central nervous system.
  • Benzodiazepines reduce pain through muscle relaxation properties. Benzodiazepines also reduce pain complaints through psychotropic effects (antianxiety).
  • Some antidepressants, particularly tricyclics and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), may reduce pain transmission through inhibitory actions in the spinal cord.
  • Some anticonvulsant drugs also relieve pain by stabilizing effects on peripheral nerves and by central inhibitory actions.

Common Prescription Opioids

  • Codeine (only available in generic form)
  • Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral, Onsolis)
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro ER)
  • Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  •  Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo)
  •  Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
  • Oxycodone and naloxone
types of opioids

Opioid Epidemic

  • Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.
  • In 2016, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was 5 times higher than in 1999.
  • The CDC estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the U.S. is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.
  • In 2016, there were 346 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Louisiana—a rate of 7.7 deaths per 100,000 persons—compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000. The main driver of opioid-related overdose deaths through 2012 was prescription opioids. Since then, heroin and synthetic opioids have increased dramatically. From 2012 to 2016, heroin and synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths increased from 51 to 149 deaths and from 19 to 89 deaths, respectively.
opioid death chart

How did this happen?

  • In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates.
  • This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive. Opioid overdose rates began to increase.
  • In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.
  • That same year, an estimated 2 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 591,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).
  • In 2017, 72,000 Americans died from overdose

New Problem: Fentanyl

  • Schedule II prescription opioid.
  • It is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin
  • When it’s introduced into an unregulated, illicit drug supply, where more and more of the country has become opioid dependent, it wreaks havoc.
  • Fentanyl is engineered to be potent and ridiculously fast acting. People are dying with needles in their arms.
  • Fentanyl is much cheaper than heroin.
  • Fentanyl is added to heroin.
  • Users have no idea how much fentanyl is in their heroin.
  • Mexican cartels are cutting fentanyl into their dope before sending it along to the United States.
  • Can purchase fentanyl online.
  • Experts and the DEA all seem to agree that Fentanyl and its constituent parts, or precursors, are coming from China. It’s probable that it’s being diverted from the labs that make fentanyl for legitimate, medical use.
  • Fentanyl testing strips are being passed out.
  • Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is used for heroin overdose.
  • Synthetic opioids could displace heroin markets around the world.
  • Poppy farmers in Mexico are forced to sell their product 40 to 80 percent below what they’re used to.

What is LA Legislature doing about it?

  • New Laws in 2017-2018
  • 7-day supply
  • Expands the Prescription Monitoring Program
  • Requires continuing education for prescribers

7 Day Supply

New Laws:

Prohibit a medical practitioner from prescribing more than a seven-day supply when issuing a first-time opioid prescription for outpatient use to an adult patient with an acute condition.

Prohibit a medical practitioner from issuing a prescription for more than a seven-day supply of an opioid to a minor at any time and requires the practitioner to discuss with a parent, tutor, or guardian of the minor the risks associated with opioid use and the reasons why the prescription is necessary.

Exempt prescriptions for more than a seven-day supply which, in the professional medical judgment of the medical practitioner, are necessary to treat the adult or minor patient’s acute medical condition or are necessary for the treatment of chronic pain management, pain associated with a cancer diagnosis, or for palliative care.

La R.S. 40:978

Prescription Monitoring Program

New law expands the mandate to access the PMP program prior to initially prescribing any opioid and if the patient’s course of treatment continues for more than 90 days. It further provides for exceptions when a prescriber is not required to check the program.

La R.S. 40:973, 40:978, 40:1001

Continuing Education for Physicians

New law requires all prescribers of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in Louisiana to obtain three continuing education credit hours as a prerequisite of license renewal in the first annual renewal cycle after Jan. 1, 2018. CME course completion is a one-time requirement for all CDS permit holders in the state. The course content shall encompass drug diversion training, best practices for the prescribing of controlled substances, and appropriate treatment for addiction.

New law requires the health profession licensing boards that regulate prescribing practitioners to promulgate rules and regulations to implement the continuing education requirements established by new law, requires the boards to collect and maintain data on compliance and submit aggregate compliance data to the Senate and House committees on health and welfare, and clarifies that these continuing education hours shall be considered among those already required on the effective date of new law and not be in addition to what is already required.

La R.S. 40:978.3 now requires 3 hours continuing education.

More Information on Drug Charges in Louisiana:

Cocaine
Creation of Meth Lab
Distribution
Felony Drug Charges
Fentanyl
Heroin
Legend Drug
Marijuana
Misdemeanor Drug Charges
Methamphetamine
Obtaining Pills by Fraud
Opioids
Possession
Possession with Intent
Synthetic Cannabinoids