tv Washington Journal News Headlines and Viewer Calls CSPAN February 9, 2017 12:39pm-1:41pm EST
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members of the task force testified. dr. corey waller talked about the synthetic drugs you are talking about, and the need to understand them when doctors are giving out dosages. >> if you take morphine of one milligram and i give you heroin, heroin is four to five times more potent. if someone has five milligrams hydrocodone pill, a vicodin, it is like taking five of those if you put it in the same one. so we go up by five. if i give them penton l in that same pill, it is like taking 100 -- fentanyl in that same pill, it is like taking 100. if we moved to things like sufentanyl, another synthetic we
are finding about on the street because we use it in the hospital, that is 1000 of those pills. carfentanyl, 100,000 of those pills shoved into a single tab. the difference of getting high and dying is the difference between one grain of sand and three grains of sand. you can see where mistakes get made. so when they receive carfentanyl, and that is one of this and that it, and something else i want to make sure we understand. it just means we have made it synthetically as opposed to making it as a derivative of the opium poppy. the opium poppy is morphine, we can make codeine. heroin is a semi-synthetic. at the same time, synthetics are things we made from science and janssen pharmaceuticals made fentanyl. it is a wonderful medication if used properly, and i have used it many times in my training as an emergency medicine physician and pain physician. it is a useful tool but it is very predictable.
if i give you 100 micrograms, .1 milligrams, then i know what it is going to do and how long it will last. if you have a broken bone and i give you that i will know in 25 to 30 minutes you will need another dose. i can predict what it will do with a number of other medications when we give those at the same time, so it is useful in that setting. if you do not understand that that extra few micrograms, a very small amount, when we start to go down, that little extra can mean the difference between a patient who is comfortable, able to talk to me, and one i have to put a tube in to breathe for. that little bit of difference is really important to understand. host: you can watch that entire event of the heroin task force on our website c-span.org, part of our conversation this morning
about the opioid epidemic in your community. myra in norton, massachusetts. thank you for calling in. tell us your experience. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. my daughter passed away a year and a half ago at the age of 33. an accidental overdose of oxycodone, which was laced with fentanyl. she had been part of the mental health system since she was a teenager, and i think a lot of the failure is on the part of the mental health system and the inconsistencies that are there. she would have a one-on-one person that would come and visit her. they would change constantly, because the pain was so bad. they could not keep anybody on a regular basis. and i wasvery often on several boards that were
involved with mental health providers for years, so it is not that the parents are not involved. i did this several times a week. it was just one fateful night a couple days after thanksgiving, and she was found several days after in her apartment, and she had an accidental overdose. she was with some people and they gave her something for free, he do not necessarily have to pay for it. she was found, she had already passed away. host: i am so sorry to hear about your daughter. it sounds like this is something she battled over years. how was she introduced to these opioids, and what was the toll like on you and your family? caller: the toll was huge.
i was over there constantly. not from the opioids, though. this was something that if you have mental health issues and you do not have people that stick by you, you gravitate towards anyone who will hang out with you. and sometimes those people are very unsavory. i think that is what happened with my daughter. she was not addicted to opioids. i saw her three to four times a week. i did not see any evidence of that. host: myra, thank you for sharing your story. i am sorry about your daughter. lori in dallas, texas, also experienced with this issue. caller: good morning, greta. host: good morning. caller: ever since i can remember -- i heard that guy talking that was 52 -- all of my friends, i called my older friends elders, they have all
done drugs. and they are always going to get drugs. and i do not know what the solution is, but back then we kept our mouth shut about it. these kids these days, they are bragging about what they are doing like it is no big deal. they're out in the open saying, i did this and i did that. host: what do you think about the numbers? since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled. in 2015, over 20,000 deaths related to prescription pain relievers and 13,000 related to heroin. caller: i have been on prescription drugs for 15 years. they wanted to put me on methadone and i said no. i have a couple of diseases that you cannot look at me on the outside and know about it.
i have sarcoidosis of the lungs and it is moving all over my body, and i have fibromyalgia. there is night i wake up and sit here and cry because i am in so much pain. when i got out of the hospital they had me on morphine, all kinds of stuff, and i was not having any more pain so i took myself off everything except vicodin. you know, i could break it in half and take one in the morning, one in the evening. now that i need medication, nobody seems to want to give it to me. but they went through something like this in the 1980's, and when they started taking people's medication away, people started committing suicide and doing all kinds of crazy stuff, the older people. i guess people that has been in the military and stuff, and i do not know the answer but i -- but drugs were always at our fingertips as kids, whatever you wanted.
the world was your oyster and i lived in dallas, texas. who would've ever thought that? host: lori in dallas, texas. john in flushing, new york. what do you do for a living? medical professional? caller: no, i do not like the word "medical" because doctors today are alternative care and they burn, cut, and poison first. i am a primary care natural doctor who sticks to what hippocrates did. what is happening here is you have a lot of drug companies that are committing a lot of crimes, and you are police and government is letting them do it. under reagan and bush, they opened up the borders to let the heroin in. we have the cia bringing these
opioids in from overseas, and you have drug companies who are addicting people left and right and sideways. and nobody goes after them and nobody goes after the police and nobody goes after the politicians who are demonizing the public and making us criminals. host: let me show you another headline. erie county files lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies. this is a local news story. "in response to the opioid epidemic, erie county executives and representatives have announced they are suing 11 pharmaceutical manufacturers for false advertising, which they believe has contributed to hundreds of overdose victims in erie county." what do you think? caller: it is about time, but
with everybody taking money left and right, what is going on? we don't have a republic anymore. we have a democratic corporation and it is being bought off left and right by big corporations. they are putting the little guys out of business and making it hard on them. that is why trump got in. host: as a naturalist, what do you think is the best way to treat pain? caller: hold on a second, i think that natural opioids might be all right if somebody is in very bad pain because they broke something or -- i do not know what to say about the situation, but there is a lot of treatments like chlorite that kills all the bugs in your body, or black sand will suck the cancer out of your
body, that they make it illegal and they make it hard for us to treat people. we have to treat people underground and not tell them what we are doing or anything. host: ok, you and others might be interested in the story. a neurobiologist says medical marijuana could solve the u.s. opioid abuse crisis. "americans are in pain. more than 2.5 million people in the united states are addicted to opioids. from 80 die daily overdoses. it has gotten so bad that even conservative state legislators want to legalize medical marijuana, arguing against a safer, less addictive painkiller. a neuropsychologist writing, agreed, she believes legalization could lessen opioid addiction massively and we must join the cultural conversation about cannabis." gloria in frederick, virginia.
ma'am. yes, personally myself, some of the doctors that are pain specialists take a little bit more time out on some of their patients, because i personally can speak on this experience. [indiscernible] i have a thyroid that has to be kept on level with my hormones. it dropped so low that my kidneys got infected and was shutting down, my pancreas got infected and was shutting down. it has been going on for a period of time, and i was taking my pain medication but it was not showing up in my urine. instead of him doing further testing, he just kicked me out of the program. doctors like that can send a
recovering addict -- i have been clean for over eight years, and i'm not trying to go back to street drugs. i am trying to do it the legal way. i have chronic pain in my back through my sciatic nerve. i was in a car accident. my feet came completely off, oath bones -- both bones broke, i was induced into a coma. they had to get a group together of doctors to decide whether to put my feet back together or cut them off. in between plastic surgery and doctors, put my feet back together and i can walk again. host: gloria, we will ask our guests coming up, we will talk to becky vaughn, executive vice president and coo of addiction policy forum. she has been studying this issue and has been in this world for many years.
we will talk to her about those of you out there that have chronic pain, manage it with prescription drugs, painkillers, and ask about that dynamic that is going on as well in this country. alan in cedar hill, new jersey, good morning. caller: good morning, greta. my story was, i have a brother that died about 24 years ago from crack cocaine complicated by heroin and alcohol. i am an alcoholic myself and i do tramadol instead of vicodin, because i have an addictive personality. and i know a lot of people that have died from heroin.
in fact, one guy that worked for my dad on the farm used my dad's truck, and my dad called me up to see if i seen him. the cops answered the phone and said, yeah you have to come down , here and identify this guy in your truck. alan, you are in cedar hill, missouri. is that a rural part? what is it like? caller: there is a lot of heroin people going around because like i said, i am an alcoholic and i go to aa meetings. we have a lot of people that have done other drugs and stuff. one guy i know, he has died a few times and they brought him back to life i think at least three i know of. host: with naloxone? caller: i do not know what they used, but he is into heroin.
but anyway, if they build that wall, that will save us a lot of money from the people that are getting addicted to stuff. host: alan, can you -- caller: pretty good idea. host: how easy is it to get heroin and how much does it cost? caller: no, i do not. i am an alcoholic and i do not do that kind of stuff. i am sure my friends could tell you. i have got a lot of friends who have done it but i myself have not. host: alan in cedar hill, missouri. best of luck to you. kingston, rhode island. bert is a medical professional. good morning.
what is it like in kingston, rhode island? caller: we are expecting a lot of snow right now but it is a nice new england town. one of the issues i think needs to be addressed is the medical system to support people, because for my perspective, i have been dealing with this for years. one of the issues is that the same parts of the brain that you have physical pain also has emotional pain. so therefore, people need to have psychological help as well as medical, physiological help, and integration of the two. clients of mine end up losing their health insurance because they are out of a job, they lost their job, and they cannot see a doctor because they have no medical insurance. therefore, they are stuck -- they stop getting their medication and then i have to go to the street to get illegal medication like heroin, to keep up with their chronic,
debilitating pain. i heard you have a professional coming on who has studied it for a while. i think raising the idea of both psychological hurt and physical hurt being centered in the same part of the brain, and how do we deal with that type of thing. i am a medical professional in general. we really should have a national medical system like they do in other progressive countries, to help our citizens so that they can get proactive help, and not have to come up with co-pays or the time to see professionals which they cannot afford, and a whole bunch of other things. a single-payer, go, bernie. this is good for us. host: bert in rhode island. we will continue talking to all of you, sharing your stories,
telling us what it is like in your communities with this opioid epidemic across the country. but in case you missed it, in other news, want to share review that -- shared with you that senator sessions was approved as attorney general in the senate yesterday, narrowly. 52-47. one democrat voted for sessions, joe manchin of west virginia, and senator sessions himself voted present for that. ,he vice president, mike pence is expected to swear in senator sessions as attorney general in the oval office this morning. go to c-span.org for more details about that. after the senate approved sessions they went on to the nomination debate over hhs secretary congressman tom price. who will fill the seat for senator sessions? politico has this story this morning. "with sessions confirmed as the nation's top law enforcement officer, luther strange will be named thursday morning to
replace him in the senate. alabama governor robert bentley will formally announce the nomination this morning and they will travel to washington for strange's swearing in as a senator." that expected to happen this morning. other news from capitol hill, this is a headline. the president's nominee for supreme court, neil gorsuch, has rebuked the president and calls his attacks on judges demoralizing in a private conversation with senator richard blumenthal, democrat of connecticut. associates with the judge's office say they confirmed he did say that in a private conversation with the democratic senator from connecticut. that on many of the front pages this morning. back to our conversation about this epidemic. want to show you more what governors across the country had
to say in their state of the state addresses. let's go to virginia, terry mcauliffe, and his state of the state. we arer mcauliffe: confronting the issue of heroin and prescription drugs. in 2015, we saw more than 800 of our fellow virginians of all ages, of all walks of life, die due to opioid addiction and over -- overdose. when the final data is available we expect the total to have exceeded 1000. tackling this problem is a matter of life and death for people in every corner of virginia. my budget includes $5.3 million for increased substance use disorder services and new tools to prevent overdose deaths. i have also introduced a package of legislative reforms that include limiting opiate prescriptions written in emergency departments to three days, requiring e prescriptions, for all prescription narcotics,
and allowing community organizations to distribute naloxone. the men and women affected by this crisis, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, if we act together boldly in virginia we can fight this epidemic and keep these virginians and their families healthy. i look forward to working with members, including john o'bannon and john bell, to confront this urgent problem. these investments and policy changes will enhance our mental health system, and confront our growing opioid epidemic. host: virginia's governor describing the situation in his state. what is it like where you live? marie in plant city, florida. good morning to you. thanks for hanging on the line. caller: my situation is that you have got street drugs which our president is trying to eliminate some of that, but my problem is
pain management doctors. you got them on every corner in plant city and tampa. it could have destroyed my family. we have had deaths in our family from people getting too much medication from plant city and tampa. i think there should be more regulations on the pain management doctors. , this tweet from robert, one of our viewers, says -- it is the family doctor who is your local pusher. caller: that is not true. i believe pain management doctors -- i go to my primary doctor. i cannot get any kind of -- i have several things wrong with me but they wanted me to go to a pain management doctor. i feel like a pain management doctor has destroyed my daughter's life. my niece died from it. the pharmacist called the doctor and said, are you sure you want
to give this medication? he said, give it to her, and she died the next morning. i feel like if we get the illegal drugs off the street it is good. law enforcement in plant city and tampa, they do as much as i can because i have worked with them. i have called the pain management doctors and they will not discuss it with me because of the hippa laws. well, i can see the devastation. host: why did she start out taking them? caller: she had a sickness. the main artery in her brain was on a nerve and the pain was excruciating. it went from that to -- i have followed it for years and i continued doing it. i would love to have my daughter back, but the girl on the drugs, i do not even know her.
she is just erratic in everything she does. ,ight think is, pain management they should have more regulation on them. i think they should go for different treatments instead of handing them different kinds of drugs. it is an epidemic with the pain management doctors, not your primary doctors, because my doctor would not give you anything. host: ok, all right, marie. barbara in michigan. good morning. caller: i have three points i want to make clear. number one, the pushing of the drugs by the pharmaceutical companies, they are advertising in every avenue. why aren't they addressing this drug problem that they are pushing? yes, there are pain doctors out there but there is good and bad ones. point 2, marijuana, my son says make it legal. no. there's so much marijuana out
here you can get a medical marijuana card just like that. i have seen it firsthand, where marijuana dumbed down the brain, and the lower class go to that drug more than anything else and do not advance socially. number three, the drugs they are pushing on the elderly is ridiculous. any time you turn on the tv there is a drug aimed at the elderly. we do not need all these drugs. need to address what is at hand, not push on more drugs. host: barbara, as you were -- i wasi was planning
finding a few stories i want to share with you and others about the pharmaceutical companies and the research to combat the situation. m.i.t. reviewed the story, the painkillers that could end the opioid crisis, it says at a new orleans laboratory the phone , the e-mails flooded in from all over from the nation telling him how much they hurt. for the last 20 years a researcher at the tulane school of medicine has been on the of the battle to defeat an ancient human adversary -- pain. opioid-related deaths in the united states reached epidemic proportions, and he has been attempting to engineer a new painkiller that would not have the same common side effects as commonly prescribed drugs such as oxycontin. and then there is this story as .ell out of west virginia "an injectable drug is being
used as a tool to treat over opioid addiction and is getting rave reviews. it blocks the receptors in the brain for opioids, preventing the person from feeling high associated with the drug." but there is also this from vox that i want to share with you. "a drug company hiked the price of a life-saving opioid antidote by 500%. you know the drugs that law enforcement can use if they find somebody that has overdosed. naloxone is one of them. 1971, theto vox, "in fda approved the drug for opioid overdose. 40 years later they are cashing in and price gouging consumers. according to a group of cost of one the packet of a branded version of the life-saving injection has quickly risen from $690 when it
hit the market in 2014, to $4500." barbara, what is your reaction? caller: when you take the advertising you are pumping out to the public and you lower that price, and then you take the opiates off the market and find some other way. there is phantom pain and real pain. you have got to find this out. i have a relative that goes from doctor to doctor to get what drugs she wants. there should be some control over where they go and how much drugs they get. what, a, barbara, national database? caller: yes, that shows how much drugs this person is going from doctor to doctor to get those opiates and painkillers that they do not need. they sell it on the open market to get what they want. i know people here in michigan, yes, they go to a doctor, they are on medicaid and disability.
they sell their drugs to get money to get illicit drugs. now, this has got to be addressed. host: all right, barbara in michigan. let me show you what is happening in new jersey. chris christie spent a big portion of his state of the state address talking about this issue. this is from the jersey attorney general -- first-degree conviction in patterson mill case today, choking off supply and saving lives is what they had to say on twitter from the attorney general's office in that state. that happening in new jersey, where it is their ninth -- they are ninth in the country i believe for the epidemic. robert from baltimore, maryland. good morning torobert from balt. caller: good morning, how are you? host: doing well. go ahead. caller: i believe that in certain states and mainly
certain cities like baltimore, they do not have the proper regulation. like the one caller just said, they go from pill to pill, doctor to doctor to get whatever it is they need. the majority of the people sell them. and will get a prescription go to another doctor and get another prescription, and there is no monitoring. when it comes down to it, they're killing their selves but the doctors are sort of allowing it to happen because there should be a database, like you said, that is going to monitor that. as long as there is no regulation for it it is going to get worse. the people that are getting addicted to it is getting younger and younger by the minute. host: the wall street journal actually has the numbers broken down.
that on your screen is opioid abuse skyrocketing compared to other deaths by guns, traffic accidents, etc. and a look at opioid deaths all other drug deaths come and look how it has been on the rise over the years. if you go a little more within the wall street journal article it tells you where this epidemic is taking place, largely in the northeast. many of the states they are, as we said west virginia first, with this situation. the wall street journal also, as robert was talking about, breaks it down as well of who is doing age, and youand can see right there on the right hand of your screen, this is impacting a younger portion of the population. also, largely the white
population in this country. ray in kirksville, new york, medical professional. tell us what the situation is like in kirksville, new york. emt so i am at the low end of the medical field. i am an individual that got injured in 1991 so i have dealt with chronic pain. are you there? host: i am. we are listening. caller: i have had to deal with this up to this date. i am still being treated for chronic pain, and i do not think it is being handled fai can see right there on the right hand of your screen, this is impacting a younger portion of the population. also, largely the white population in this country. ray in kirksville, new york, medical professional. tell us what the situation is like in kirksville, new york. caller: i am an emt so i am at the low end of the medical field. i am an individual that got injured in 1991 so i have dealt with chronic pain. are you there? host: i am. we are listening. caller: i have had to deal with this up to this date. i am still being treated for chronic pain, and i do not think it is being handled fairly on
the pain end of it. everybody talks about the studies that are done or psychiatric care available. there is no psychiatric care for an individual suffering from pain. there is detox and aa meetings and a way to get you off the opioids, but there is no alternatives. even when you try to talk to your doctor about alternatives you get looked at like you are being too inquisitive, you are drug seeking. i think we need more evidentiary based evidence and not expert based. we do not need opinions from someone who is schooled about it. we need some honest-to-goodness evidence-based, what is causing the problem with the opioids. because i am not going to be repaired. there is no repair from a semi-option is to go to the pain clinics when i'm told to, jump through the hoops when i'm told to. host: how much time does that take? caller: it takes a lot. for me, i do not just go to a doctor and take it for granted what he is throwing at me. i just got recently, two days ago went for an emg test and i have the doctor look at me when i asked him, why didn't you do the test from the shoulder down? i have a right arm that is paralyzed.
"oh, that is what your injury was?" these guys are supposed to be the professionals. that should have been already studied and figured out what they were going to do to may be -- before i walked in. his option was, i can give you a neuropathic stimulator and maybe reduce your opioid intake by 80%. when i discussed, there is nerve transplants that are giving me 90% relief, what about them? i don't know nothing about that. i am just here for this. they are just sharing the information and i think that is -- they are not sharing the information and i think that is it. host: should taxpayers -- should more taxpayers' money go to federal research? caller: even when i first got on it i was introduced to a drug called oxycontin. it scared me. it was $10,000 month. i called my congressman and said, how come these drug
companies are putting aside some of their profits for someone like me who will have a physical dependency, and it has not gone nowhere. there has been three congressmen in office since, and we have not had an answer as to why the pharmaceutical companies are not told to pitch in their end. host: ray, look at the cost of the ooidpidemic inhis untry. st: prescrtion ooid ovdose abusend depdence st the u.snearly75 billion year. tal spding for hlth ca and subsnce abuse s over28 billio most of wch was vered insurance cost olost produivity estited at abo 20 biion for is country marianne in orange county, good morning. caller: hi. i just felt blessed. i get up at 5:00 in the morning
and i happened to turn on c-span. i am the call the whole world needs to listen to. i had an overdose of an epidural for a condition of the sympathetic nerve that was cut. it created extreme pain. i was put on methadone because vicodin, that i have been on for years and the corrupt system of california left my ankles living on vicodin, so by the time the ankles got fixed, vicodin i had for four years. now i get an overdose of the left side sympathetic block the crosses to the right side. affecting the motor nerves of both legs. they felt they had been chemically fried, and they were indeed. ok, here is what happened. i struggled as everybody does in this country, being given methadone. i had injections in my spine but i quit doing them because i told
it would degenerate my spine. so then i was on methadone and i got a police record. i was shopping and i didn't realize what a seductive drug it was. i did not realize i was more drugged than i thought i was when i got to pennies. but regardless, it was pretty incidental and it was reversed but here is what you have to understand. my fiancé was dying with cancer at the same time. i was skimming the internet for pain relief for him and me. i thought if i could get me that are i could help lee better. the canadian pain centers were using magnesium to detox heroin patients. but i could not find any magnesium. i went from costco to target to walgreens, you name it, five brands of magnesium until i stumbled upon the life extension system. les.org.
i don't work for them, but it was an observable form of magnesium that gets into the cell. listen, everybody, that blend of magnesium that gets into the cell, an observable form, should be demanded by every pain center to have to prescribe along with any opioid. here is what happened, within almost 75 days, maybe three months at the most -- and the only reason i knew i was detoxing naturally was because i have methadone left over in my bottles after five years of it. i never felt not one second that i was going to withdraw. i never felt it. the magnesium worked on the motor nerves, the nerves. i took it at night, plus i also took during the first initial detox phase of trying to drop the pain and drop the physical need, the pain made for the methadone, i took a 500 magnesium at night from life extensions and in addition in the morning -- and no medical doctor would never have
prescribed it, this is the sad part -- i also took a 165 magnesium citrate. i took the 165 magnesium citrate in the morning plus the 500 at night for the first 60 to 75 days. during that time, without one moment of detox feeling i dropped from 80 milligrams of methadone to 40. that is it. host: i have to leave it there so i can get some other voices, but marion in california. go ahead, melanie. caller: i am one of those patients that takes opioids. i could go off of them. it is not as if i feel in my mind that i need them. i am not addicted to them. i have been on them for years. i cannot take anything else because they cause ulcers in my stomach, any of the nsaid drugs.
i am one of those patients who is afraid that too much regulation will affect me, because i do need my pain medication but it is funny. if they had something else out there that i could take more -- or that i could do, , whenever, that would help with my knee pain, i have had surgery and fibromyalgia. all i can say is the medication i take helps me. i am on oxycodone. host: coming up will talk with becky vaughn about this regulation. she is the executive vice president and coo of the addiction policy forum. she will take your questions and hear your stories as well. before we get to that, i want to show you the massachusetts
governor, charlie baker, republican, what he had to say about this opioid epidemic in th state. [video clip] governor baker: we all know, especially here in this room, the opioid epidemic is ravaging individuals and families across this country. while this is going to be a prolonged battle, our efforts are making a difference. we know that four out of five heroin users first become addicted to prescription drugs and we are seeing results from our efforts to close this front door of addiction. for the first time, medical, dental, and nursing schools are requiring students to master opioid therapy and pain management. continuing education as part of our state licensing program. after years of increases, the number of opioids prescribed in massachusetts is now down by 15%. [applause] prescribers have made more than
2 million searches of the prescribers have made more than 2 million searches of the new monitoring program. spending on addiction services has increased by 50%. hundreds of additional treatment beds and voluntary programs have come online good family and peer support groups have doubled and funded across the commonwealth. our work on this is not done -- unnotice. an unprecedented 46 governors have signed off on programs across the commonwealth. [applause]
governor baker: make no mistake, drug traffickers are part of the epidemic. vulnerable people, selling them more deadly substances. we will propose $2 million in our budget to expand law enforcement effort to arrest and convict traffickers. [applause] governor baker: with your help, we also ended the decades-old practice of sending women who were committed to an addiction to framingham state prison. [applause]
governor baker: instead, they now enter treatment programs, including a new one. these programs have been a game changer for many of the women. based on this success, we will request an increase in state funding to support treatment for men who are committed due to an addiction as well. [applause] host: the massachusetts governor talking about the opioid epidemic in that state, something we are having a conversation on today's "washington journal." by the way, this is a theme that ran in many addresses, and we have many of them on our website. we will continue to show them to you as well. go to cspan.org.