In one of the best rehab facilities in the US, for the first time in the world, an operation to eliminate drug addiction was conducted. A small implant was inserted into the patient’s brain.
A 33-year-old American man suffering from opioid addiction became the first person to undergo such an operation. As the BBC reports, the implant was placed in the part of the patient’s brain responsible for addiction and self-control. And a special battery was implanted under the collarbone.
The patient will be monitored for two years by doctors, psychologists and addiction experts who will remotely monitor his brain activity to see if his drug cravings disappear. Three more volunteers are waiting in line for surgery.
In the United States, a similar method has already been used to treat Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it has now been used for the first time to treat drug addiction.
Ali Rezai, the doctor, who performed the operation, called the device a “pacemaker for the brain.” Such interventions are planned only for patients who suffer from opioid addiction and cannot cope with it on their own.
California’s leaders want the state to pay addicted people to stay sober
It’s called “contingency management” and has already been done for years with military veterans and according to various research, one of the most effective ways to make people stop drinking or using drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, and stimulants is paying them not to do so.
Usually, it works in the following way. After every negative drug test, people receive payments on a gift card over a period of time. So after completing the treatment in one of the drug rehabs in California, with only negative tests, you can make a few hundred dollars.
Governor Gavin Newsom has already offered to use tax dollars to pay for it through Medicaid, the health insurance program that covers nearly 14 million poor and disabled people in California. At the same time, California’s Democratic-controlled Legislature also made a similar proposal, which has been passed the Senate with no opposition and is pending in the Assembly. This project can also collaborate with the best drug rehab centers in California and involve more people.
Meanwhile the US is suing one of the largest retail chains over the opioid crisis
The United States Department of Justice has sued retail chain Walmart for contributing to the opioid crisis by filling invalid prescriptions and failing to report suspicious requests. This is reported by Reuters.
The US Department of Justice believes that Walmart ignored the warnings of its pharmacists and filled thousands of invalid prescriptions. Walmart denies the allegations.
The court documents state that Walmart “turned its chain of 5,000 pharmacies into a supplier of highly addictive drugs since June 2013.” Walmart has been accused of forcing pharmacists to fill invalid prescriptions and failing to report suspicious requests for opioid drugs.
The lawsuit against Walmart is one of the government’s biggest moves to combat the opioid crisis and the companies that contribute to it.
Purdue (maker of OxyContin) was also recently found guilty of selling opioids and Insys Therapeutics of bribing doctors to prescribe addictive drugs.
Currently, there are more than 3,000 lawsuits against manufacturers and suppliers of drugs that exacerbate the impact of the opioid crisis – according to US data, about 450,000 people died of overdoses from 1999 to 2018.
The opioid crisis in the United States began in the 1990s, when companies began to convince people that opioid drugs were not addictive and encouraged their widespread use. The result has been a high number of prescriptions for opioids, leading to the overuse of both prescription and over-the-counter opioids.
Over time, it became clear that drugs are highly addictive. In 2018 alone, more than 32,000 people died of opioid overdoses in the United States.
The opioid epidemic
Nearly seventy thousand people in the United States died of opioid overdoses in 2020, the highest annual number on record
The United States is facing one of the worst drug crises in history. More than 1,300 people die each week from opioid-related overdoses, a number that has risen across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This was reported by the Council on Foreign Relations.
The crisis has reached such a scale that it has become a drag on the economy and a threat to national security. Analysts say the problem began with the overprescribing of legal painkillers, but say it has been exacerbated in recent years by an influx of cheap heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl supplied by foreign drug cartels.
In recent years, the U.S. government has stepped up efforts to reduce the supply of opioids, both foreign and domestic, by limiting the number of prescriptions in the United States and providing drug-fighting aid to countries such as Mexico and China. Meanwhile, federal and state officials have tried to reduce demand by focusing less on punishing drug users and more on treating them. Other countries where opioid consumption has also increased, such as Australia and Canada, are experimenting with different policies.
According to New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor, Bridget G. Brennan, the opioid epidemic didn’t begin until there was a massive oversupply of opioids that began with pharmaceuticals.
Thanks to the Darknet, people have gained anonymous and almost unlimited access to synthetic drugs. Despite the deaths and arrests, the product is still as easy to buy as a bag of milk at the store.
The fight against the distribution of synthetic drugs via the Internet has been going on for several years. A significant step in this direction was taken in 2013, when it was possible to close SilkRoad, an anonymous marketplace where, among other things, you could buy prohibited drugs.
However, the holy place is not empty. Now this niche is occupied by “AlphaBay Market”. The section on opioids contains 21,000 offers. Directly with fentanyl (opioid analgesic) – more than 4 thousand.
There are tablets, powders, and sprays in huge quantities. The goods are supplied by dozens of dealers: from private sellers to large chains.