Month: March 2020

Episode 40: Harm Reduction Amidst Pandemic with Daniel Raymond

In these uncertain times, Narcotica aims to not only give our listeners vital public health information, but also offer a sense of reassurance and community. If you’re following the social distancing guidelines, or working from home, life may feel a little extra lonely right now, and we aim to provide interviews and conversations to keep you company.

On Tuesday March 17, co-hosts Troy Farah and Zachary Siegel interviewed Daniel Raymond, policy director at the Harm Reduction Coalition. Drawing from the wisdom and of the harm reduction community, Raymond wrote a beautiful post, “Harm Reduction in the Time of Coronavirus.” This episode covers how harm reduction is an asset during a pandemic, as well as how naloxone and syringe distribution programs are operating, methadone and buprenorphine policies and regulations, and much more.
“As we confront COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2, let us remember the gifts of harm reduction.” – Daniel Raymond, Harm Reduction Coalition. @DanielBRaymond

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Note: This episode has been slightly updated to have better mixed audio and credits.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus): How to keep drug use safe during the pandemic

Medium Post:

Harm Reduction Coalition: Virtual office hours

Covid-19: Guidance for people who use drugs and harm reduction programs  

NIDA: Potential implications for individuals with substance use disorders

SAMHSA: Guidance for Opioid Treatment Programs

DEA: Diversion Control Division, Telemedicine, Medications

Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-producer: Garrett Farah
Music: Glass Boy / Pictures of the Floating World

Episode 39: Pain Patients Are Still Fighting For Their Lives with Kate Nicholson

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out guidelines for primary care doctors prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain. Essentially, these guidelines stated that opioids should not be the first line treatment for pain, and that other methods should be tried first. Which is perfectly sensible.

But when it came to dosing and duration, these guidelines — not laws — guidelines, started to become widely misinterpreted. We don’t need to get in the weeds of morphine milligram equivalents here, but what wound up happening across the country is that doctors, medical boards, and even legislators took the guidelines as black letter law. And clearly mistook the intended audience for the guidelines: primary care providers. Not pain management specialists, primary care providers. The one you might go see for a wellness check up or if you have strep throat.

Why is all this important? Aren’t prescription opioids, after all, the very substance that ignited a massive wave of overdose deaths across the country? It’s not so simple. Well intended efforts to reduce everyday people’s exposure to high doses and long durations of opioids started to hit the wrong target: patients with chronic, intractable, debilitating pain.

And we have an excellent guest, civil rights attorney, writer, and advocate, Kate Nicholson. Kate has been a critical asset for the pain community, who has been speaking up about how policy intended to help is actually causing more harm. She has consulted on several Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Julian Castro and even Joe Biden.

Follow Kate Nicholson on Twitter @speakingabtpain

Follow Narcotica on Facebook, Twitter and support us on Patreon. Your support is appreciated! We’re on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher and more. Tell your friends about us!

Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel 
Co-producer: Garrett Farah
Music: Glass Boy / Garrett Farah / A A Aalto
Photo: U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner // Edit Troy Farah