From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk
It’s Oxy Day in the local dailies, with both papers front-paging a new Centers for Disease Control report on prescription pain killers.
Ear on the Boston Herald’s front page:
Critics: Docs part of opiate crisis
Bay State physicians rank in the top 10 nationally in prescribing OxyContin and other opiates, according to a shocking new federal report that experts say should be a wake-up call for local docs writing scripts for highly addictive drugs hand over fist.
“Those type of prescribers need to get the message: This is a deadly drug. These are highly addictive and there’s an over-prescribing of them,” said John McGahan, president of the South Boston-based Gavin Foundation, which provides education, prevention and addiction treatment.
“We’re not having people coming in saying, ‘I’m a heroin addict and I didn’t use prescription opiates first.’ It would be a rare bird,” McGahan said.
The piece goes on to note that “Massachusetts ranks eighth nationally and third in New England — behind Maine and New Hampshire — in the prescribing of so-called ‘extended-release’ painkillers.” It also points to a recent Herald report that “[showed] oxycodone prescriptions have spiked by roughly 27 percent over the last three years in Massachusetts . . . Oxycodone prescriptions for children have also increased by 34 percent across more than 25 pediatric specialties during the same three-year span.”
But crosstown at the Boston Globe, the front-page story is slightly less, well, yikes.
State ranks low in prescribing of opioids
Long-acting pills an exception
Massachusetts physicians rank among the top 10 nationally in prescribing OxyContin and other long-acting painkillers, according to a government report released Tuesday that highlighted wide state-by-state variation in the rates of use of addictive opioid medications.
But the state ranked low, 41st nationally, for overall prescribing of opioids, which have become a major concern because of rising rates of abuse and overdose deaths. Long-acting pain medications such as OxyContin are only one of several types of opioids, which also include methadone, codeine, and hydrocodone.
Addiction specialists said the Massachusetts figures were encouraging.
We guess they just didn’t say it to the Boston Herald.