Johns Hopkins University: Archive Shows How Fentanyl Promotion Helped Drive Opioid Epidemic

Johns Hopkins University: Archive Shows How Fentanyl Promotion Helped Drive Opioid Epidemic. “The Opioid Archive records released today—about 760,000 documents, mostly emails—show that Insys improperly sold vast amounts of its addictive product for off-label uses like non-cancer neck and back pain. The documents also bring to light how the company pressured doctors and deployed deceptive marketing to increase sales and earn millions of dollars in profits.”

New York Times: Fentanyl Tainted Pills Bought on Social Media Cause Youth Drug Deaths to Soar

New York Times: Fentanyl Tainted Pills Bought on Social Media Cause Youth Drug Deaths to Soar. “Much as drug dealers in the 1980s and ’90s seized on pagers and burner phones to conduct business covertly, today’s suppliers have embraced modern iterations — social media and messaging apps with privacy features such as encrypted or disappearing messages. Dealers and young buyers usually spot each other on social media and then often proceed by directly messaging each other. The platforms have made for a swift, easy conduit during the coronavirus pandemic, when demand for illicit prescription drugs has jumped, both from anxious, bored customers and from those already struggling with addiction who were cut off from in-person group support.”

Route Fifty: How the Pandemic Helped Spread Fentanyl Across the US and Drive Opioid Overdose Deaths to a Grim New High

Route Fifty: How the Pandemic Helped Spread Fentanyl Across the US and Drive Opioid Overdose Deaths to a Grim New High. “It is especially tragic that these deaths are mainly occurring in people with a disease – opioid addiction – that is both preventable and treatable. Most heroin users want to avoid fentanyl. But increasingly, the heroin they seek is mixed with fentanyl or what they purchase is just fentanyl without any heroin in the mix. While the spread of fentanyl is the primary cause of the spike in overdose deaths, the coronavirus pandemic also made the crisis worse.”

New York Times: Overdose Deaths Reached Record High as the Pandemic Spread

New York Times: Overdose Deaths Reached Record High as the Pandemic Spread. “In the 12-month period that ended in April, more than 100,000 Americans died of overdoses, up almost 30 percent from the 78,000 deaths in the prior year, according to provisional figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The figure marks the first time the number of overdose deaths in the United States has exceeded 100,000 a year, more than the toll of car crashes and gun fatalities combined. Overdose deaths have more than doubled since 2015.”

Vice: Facebook Is Censoring Posts That Could Save Opioid Users’ Lives

Vice: Facebook Is Censoring Posts That Could Save Opioid Users’ Lives. “In its efforts to stop opioid sales on the site, Facebook appears to be blocking people who warn users about poisonous batches of drugs or who supply materials used to test for fentanyls and other contaminants. Just as 1990s web security filters mistook breast cancer research centers for porn sites, today’s internet still seems to have trouble distinguishing between drug dealers and groups trying to reduce the death toll from the overdose crisis. VICE reviewed screenshots and emails to corroborate the claims made in this story.”

Neowin: Major dark web drug suppliers voluntarily ban sales of deadly drug

Neowin: Major dark web drug suppliers voluntarily ban sales of deadly drug. “The UK’s National Crime Agency has announced that several major drug suppliers on the dark web have decided to voluntarily ban the sale of the deadly drug fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, due to the danger it poses. The sellers decided to pull the product off their dark websites as it could cause fatalities which they believe would cause them to receive more attention from the police.”

TechCrunch: Facebook cracks down on opioid dealers after years of neglect

TechCrunch: Facebook cracks down on opioid dealers after years of neglect . “Facebook’s role in the opioid crisis could become another scandal following yesterday’s release of harrowing new statistics from the Center for Disease Control. It estimated there were nearly 30,000 synthetic opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2017, up from roughly 20,000 the year before. When recreational drugs like Xanax and OxyContin are adulterated with the more powerful synthetic opioid Fentanyl, the misdosage can prove fatal. Xanax, OxyContin and other pain killers are often bought online, with dealers promoting themselves on social media including Facebook.”

UC San Diego: Machine Learning Detects Marketing and Sale of Opioids on Twitter

UC San Diego: Machine Learning Detects Marketing and Sale of Opioids on Twitter. “Between June and November 2015, some 619,937 tweets containing the keywords codeine, Percocet, fentanyl, Vicodin, Oxycontin, oxycodone and hydrocodone were collected. The findings, published online in the American Journal of Public Health in October, detected 1,778 posts that were marketing the sale of controlled substances, 90 percent included hyperlinks to online sites for purchase.”