Morning Roundup: Aug. 16, 2019

By The Fix staff 08/16/19

Experts react to Ohio lawmaker's fentanyl lethal injection proposal. Hospitals cut opioid prescribing without affecting quality of pain management. A look at humans' long history of opioid use.

Humans' fascination with opioids is nothing new. ID 45265705 © Elena Zinina |

Science History: Humanity's Relationship with Opioids [Cosmos]
From as long ago as 3400 BCE, the opium poppy has been harvested for its euphoric effects. It would later be commercialized in the industrial era. Today, the opioid epidemic has claimed countless lives and destroyed those left in their wake.

California Alleges Doctor Killed 4 Patients with Opioids [LA Times]
A Santa Rosa doctor has been charged with killing four of his patients by overprescribing opioids. Dr. Thomas McNeese Keller was arrested on Monday. As the Times noted, the murder charges could bring a life sentence. 

Fentanyl as Ohio's Lethal Injection Drug? Opioid Experts Respond. [Cincinnati Enquirer]
Experts responding to a proposal by an Ohio lawmaker to use seized fentanyl to execute death row inmates say there's no sense in "contributing to its cycle of death." "It has killed enough already," said Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan.

State Laws Punish Pregnant People Just for Seeking Drug Treatment [Talk Poverty]
A report on the impact of cracking down on drug-using mothers. The result has been more infants in the foster care system and women who avoid medical care for fear they will be punished. 

4 Takeaways from Delaware's Most Comprehensive Overdose Death Study [WHYY]
Delaware has the fifth-highest OD death rate in the nation. State health officials have compiled a report on its regional drug crisis, looking at who it is affecting, which drugs are causing the most harm, and opportunities to provide help.

Court Rejects Appeal of Man Convicted in Drug Deal Killing [US News]
A Connecticut court has rejected the appeal of a New Haven man serving time for shooting a man dead during a marijuana deal. 

How a State's Surgeons Cut Down on Opioids Without Putting Patients in More Pain [Michigan Medicine]
In just one year, dozens of hospitals across Michigan were able to reduce opioid prescribing without compromising post-surgery pain and satisfaction reported by patients. Managing pain expectations and non-opioid alternatives were credited by researchers. 

For the First Time, US Panel Recommends Screening Adults for Illicit Drug Use [STAT News]
An independent panel of experts is recommending that health care providers screen their adult patients for illicit drug use. For the first time, they say there is enough evidence that screening adults for illicit substance use is beneficial for the most part.

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