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A burger, some fries, a milkshake and a side of fentanyl?

It was recently reported that in St. Lucie County, not only could you get a burger, some fries and a milkshake at the Steak ‘n Shake, you could also get fentanyl, carfentanil or heroin. In what was called Operation Big Mi-Steak, more than 40 people were arrested and more than 1.5 ounces of fentanyl; 4 grams of heroin; 71 caplets of carfentanil; a half a pound of cocaine; 80 pounds of marijuana; and 23 marijuana plants were confiscated as part of the bust.

Highlighting 2017 Accomplishments

The same week, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) releases a report highlighting accomplishments from 2017 under the Trump Administration. According to HHS one of the most significant accomplishments was the over $800 million for communities to help them fight the opioids crisis.

“In 2017, HHS took bold action to advance its mission to protect and enhance the health and well-being of the American people. From a newly aggressive approach to combat the opioid crisis to round-the-clock responses to three major hurricanes, the men and women of HHS did extraordinary work this past year to foster healthier Americans, stronger communities, and a safer country,” said Caitlin Oakley, HHS press secretary.  The action includes a five point strategy focusing on empowering local communities:

  1. Better treatment, prevention, and recovery services: Improving access to treatment, prevention, and recovery services, including the full range of medication-assisted treatment;
  2. Better targeting of overdose reversing drugs: Targeting availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs;
  3. Better research: Supporting cutting-edge research on pain and addiction;
  4. Better data: Strengthening public health surveillance;
  5. Better pain management: Advancing the practice of pain management.

New HHS Secretary 

President Trump and Vice President Pence recently swore in Alex Azar as the new Secretary of HHS. According to President Trump, Azar will focus on bringing drug prices down and fighting the opioid crisis. And based on his comments, Azar agreed:  “We have to tackle the scourge of the opioid crisis and we will bring down prescription drug prices.”  He continued, “it™s time to get to work.”

Clearly, 2018 will be a year focused on battling the opioid crisis, and we expect guidance from HHS to be provided frequently.  HCP will be monitoring closely for additional guidance and will publish updates in our Compliance Insider as we learn of them.

If you have any questions please contact us by email: [email protected]  or by phone: 855-427-0427

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