In response to congressional leaders’ questions about the opioid fentanyl, the US Office of National Drug Control Policy recently laid out what it knows about the deadly substance. Among the takeaways:

The US Drug Enforcement Agency targeted a company responsible for 66% of the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone sold in Florida. It alleged Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals violated laws preventing diversion of legal drugs to the black market.   500 million of its pills went…

Doctors face an ethical dilemma when they replace the heart valves of opioid users with a recurring heart-valve infection called endocarditis. The expensive procedure cannot address the underlying problem of addiction—which may send patients back for another round of…

Patients in rural Guatemala who need opioids for their chronic pain face unnecessary red tape that deprives them of access to treatment, writes Harvard Medical School student Jillian Moore.   She says patients must find a physician willing to prescribe opioids, purchase…

In economically depressed Manchester, Kentucky, in the Appalachian foothills, pharmacies are the only businesses thriving.   4 new drugstores have opened in the city of 1,500 people in the past 3 years, bringing the total to 11. In Manchester and surrounding Clay County,…

Centuries-old death rituals have become the only form of justice for thousands of families who have lost loved ones to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal drug war. Grieving relatives throw pots to break the cycle of death, spin caskets 3 times to confuse departed…

People with anxiety, depression, and alcohol and other drug addictions—including opioid addictions—are far more likely than people without such diagnoses to receive a 90-day or longer prescription for opioid painkillers, according to recent studies.   “We’re prescribing the…

Iceland’s rates of teen smoking, drinking and drug use have fallen dramatically since 1998 thanks to an orchestrated national plan.   Known as Youth in Iceland, the long-running program has included policies that protect children from tobacco and alcohol advertising and…

Drug-related deaths among American Indian and Alaska Native people are nearly double the rate of the US as a whole, and Cherokee Nation sits in Oklahoma, a state hard-hit by prescription painkiller abuse.

As the US opioid crisis worsens, coroners are puzzled by synthetic opioids that go undetected in apparent overdose victims, making it difficult for health officials and law enforcement to improve treatment and prevention.   Some synthetic opioids, like carfentanil—10,000…