Originally published on Jan 9, 2018.
The Opioid Epidemic has been a devastating trend in America, starting in the late 1990s and continuing over twenty years through today. Experts believe that the glut of prescription narcotics (OxyCodone, Percocet) has caused an increase in illegal opiates (heroin) use; and with it, preventable addictions and deaths. Only over the last year, however, has it become mainstream news – and with it has come mainstream responsibility. A few events in the last 6 months including the POTUS declaring War on Opioids; 60 Minutes releasing a scathing report on McKesson; a report that opioids cause more deaths than motor vehicle crashes; and, DEA whistleblowers claiming Congress is complicit in the Diversion.
The Opioid Epidemic is, concisely, the trend of increasing drug overdose and opioid-involved deaths in America. Over the last 20 years, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths has quadrupled – a total of 500,000 deaths between 2000 and 2015 or 91 Americans per day.
Feeling the Pressure – Amerisource Bergen
In December 2017, the AmerisourceBergen Foundation announced a support program to help combat opioid abuse, specifically providing municipalities drug deactivation resources to help ensure unused narcotics do not end up in the wrong hands.
Feeling the Pressure McKesson
60 Minutes and the Washington Post worked together to investigate how McKesson allegedly worked with Congress to make billions of dollars through the illegal diversion of narcotics. In a response, McKesson highlighted a comprehensive program that they utilize to limit drug diversion. One of the key parts of their fighting opioid abuse is a multi-million dollar investment into Suspicious Order Monitoring (read here).
NavigateSOM, a Five Rivers RX Solution
Starting in 2017, the DEA has made it clear that both distributors and manufacturers are responsible for implementing adequate controlled substance Suspicious Order Monitoring software.