- Opioid-specific programs
- Medication-assisted treatments (MATS)
- Addiction programs
- Overdose death costs beyond medical
- Atypical or increased burden on public services
- Law enforcement costs
- Prison populations
In support of Strafford County’s decision-making process, Attorney Robert J. Bonsignore, Bonsignore, PLLC, who is representing Strafford County, as well as other governmental entities, went on record to say “The self-regulating system Congress enacted to control the volume of opioid pills distributed in this country has been an utter failure. We are prepared to prove that the pharmaceutical giants put in charge of policing their own conduct pushed highly addictive opioids. We will establish that they did so by falsely representing to doctors and patients the addictive qualities of the drugs they sold and that they failed to self-regulate.” Bonsignore added “After we put an end to the sources of the present epidemic, the problems from the epidemic will continue. Strafford County’s commitment to act to address and hopefully shut down the next epidemic—that will occur when the opioids are shut off—is very smart thinking.” Bonsignore further reports that opioid abuse is the leading cause of death for persons under 50 years of age. Studies show that addiction can occur in as few as three days’ use and those persons on opioids for more than 30 days have a greater than 50 percent chance of becoming addicted. According to the Harvard Law and Policy Review, opioid prescriptions rose 104% from 2000 to 2010, and in 2015, over 300 million prescriptions were written for opioids. That is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills. According to the Center for Decease Control, in the United States prescription opioid abuse costs are about $55.7 billion annually. PRESS RELEASE STRAFFORD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS May 18, 2018 PAGE 2 “Big Pharma” directed millions of dollars on promotional activities directed at doctors and patients that overstated the benefits and understated or mislead the risks of opioids. From 2013 to 2015, non-research opioid-related payments were made to physicians exceeding $45 million, with the top one percent (1%) of physicians receiving 83% of the payments. Cardinal Health was fined $44 million in 2016 for failure to report suspicious orders of drugs, Amerisourcebergen was fined $16 million in 2016 for failure to report suspicious orders of drugs, and McKesson was fined $150 million in 2017 for failure to report suspicious orders of drugs. Opioids have been the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the United States since 2009. United States sales have exceeded $8 billion per year since 2009. According to the New Hampshire Department of Public Health, in 2016, 424 people lost their lives due to opioid-related overdoses in the state, a 7% increase from the prior year of 397 opioid-related deaths. New Hampshire was ranked the third highest State for rates of deaths in the country in 2016. *Information from: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/alerts/documents/opioid-2.pdf.