Amelia L Persico, 1, 2 Erica L Wegrzyn, 1, 2 Jeffrey Fudin, 1, 2 Michael E Schatman 3, 4
1Stratton VA Medical Center, Albany, NY, USA; 2Remitigate Therapeutics, Delmar, NY, USA; 3Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 4Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
Correspondence: Jeffrey Fudin Email [email protected]
The ongoing media maelstrom regarding opioids and classification of an “opioid crisis” during the initial decade of this millennium has stirred awareness, outrage and action among regulatory and other government agencies, professional clinician organizations, community pharmacy policies, legislators, patient advocacy groups, anti-opioid advocate groups, and others. However, mass media reports often skew or misdirect the aggregate facts in a possible effort to abridge or sensationalize stories.1 Discernable distinctions, for example, are rarely drawn between licit pharmaceutical fentanyl, illicit fentanyl analogues, and certain highly potent analogues approved only for ungulates. The omission of this information has resulted in distorted public information that has far reaching consequences in medicine and policy development, as it leads to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the facts by politicians, lay people and many clinicians.2 It is particularly relevant today, as pharmaceutical fentanyl is often an essential drug for intubation
regularly required for ventilation procedures in declining patients that may succumb to novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). These distinctions are critical in the shifting landscape of the opioid crisis as prescriptions for opioids decrease yet overdose deaths remain alarmingly prevalent and continue to rise.
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