It is hard to believe that another year – another decade – is coming to an end. Since its founding in 2011, CSIP has sought to address the global problem of consumer access to illegitimate pharmaceuticals from illegal online pharmacies and other sources. Over the past few years, this work has shifted to focus on the dangers of opioids and the available resources for families and communities in need.
As the year comes to a close, we pause to reflect on what we have shared this year on the CSIP blog. Here are a few highlights/trends that stood out:
Parent to Parent Connections for Supporting Children Suffering from Opioid Addiction
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (the Partnership), a CSIP partner, brings parents and caregivers of children suffering from addiction together with experts and parent coaches who have already walked this difficult path. Through its helpline, which extended its hours in early 2019, staff can be reached by website or by phone, text, or Facebook Messenger. Parents calling the helpline find bilingual support services and a connection to the Partnership’s Parent Coaching program. Meeting families where they are on the journey to recovery can make all the difference.
Google Maps Support National Take Back Days and Every Day for Opioid Disposal
Opioid addiction can start when a family member takes another family member’s leftover medications. National Take Back Days or even just every day access to safe disposal sites is essential. Following observation of high search rates for the terms “medication disposal near me,” Google, a longtime CSIP partner, made its API to help people find nearby locations to dispose of medications a permanent fixture to Google maps and search. Google partnered with pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens, as well as state governments, and the US. Drug Enforcement Administration to get the detailed location data it needed to share with consumers. Access to data was a major trend in 2019 (see other items below).
Number of Doctor Training Programs for Addiction Specialties Rises to Better Meet Need
Ensuring that patients have access to doctors and other health care personnel who are specially trained in pain management and addiction medicine, can likely help improve outcomes and the bottom line in the opioid epidemic. A 2018 article in the New York Times reported on the lack of education and training in medical schools on addiction management, yet, the tide seems to be turning. In March, NPR ran a story on the increase in fellowship programs offering physicians “a year or two of postgraduate training in clinics and hospitals where they learn evidence-based approaches for treating addiction.” The story shares that there are now 60 of these programs available, and that a growing number of doctors-to-be are looking to make addiction medicine their specialty.
Washington Post Publishes DEA Data Tracking Pain Pill Sales
This past summer, a new dataset with information from the US Drug Enforcement Agency on the sale of pain pills in the US, is now publicly available through the website of the Washington Post. An article published in July documented how a recent court order allowed for the release of the data for the first time. The tracking data includes shipments by manufacturers and distributors, as well as pharmacy sales. Analyzing and visualizing this data can help further understanding of the opioid epidemic and the areas in most need of help and support.
First National Study on Opioid Addiction Recovery Released
Gaining a better understanding of opioid addiction recovery, as well as alternatives to pain medication and treatment options is essential to combatting the opioid epidemic. A study published this year in the Journal of Addiction Medicine looked for the first time at the prevalence numbers for opioid recovery and found that “1.18 million American adults have resolved a primary opioid use problem. Whether it is the utilization of physical therapy as an alternative to pain medication or the release of a new federal online tool for finding recovery treatment sites, there has been increasing spotlight on helping prevent or mitigate the impact of opioid addiction and to help those in need heal.
Get caught up by reading all of CSIP’s past blog posts and stay tuned to our social media channels for the latest news. CSIP wishes you a safe and healthy holiday season.
About the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)
The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by the White House, represents the technology sector and commerce intermediaries including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oath, UPS, PayPal, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and .Health. CSIP’s mission is to promote industry best practices as it relates to illegal online pharmacies, and educating consumers about safe purchasing of prescription drugs.