Opioid Crisis: Are You Living in a Painkiller Addicted Nation? [The Stack 027]

Hi Stack Society,

Nobody wants to feel pain, but we’ve become so resistant to it, our nation is now considered to be in an “opioid crisis”. 

Many opioids are highly addictive painkillers, leading to misuse or abuse -- from street drugs such as heroin to prescription medicine such as Vicodin.

According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 130 people in the US die each day because of opioid overdose.

This week’s edition of The Stack focuses on findings related to the severity of the killer pain-killers and alternative ways to try and make the pain go away.

Drug companies fail to reach settlement - opioid crisis trial

CNN featured the results of a six drug companies being sued over their role in the nation’s opioid epidemic. 

  • Six pharmaceuticals: Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation, Henry Schein Medical, generic drug company Teva Pharmaceuticals and pharmacy chain Walgreens, were sued with thousands of lawsuits. 
    • The companies are accused of their role in the nation’s opioid epidemic.
  • There were talks earlier in the week of the five companies potentially settling for $50 billion. 
    • The companies proposed to pay a combined $18 billion over 18 years. 
  • However, they failed to reach a settlement with governments across the country. 

Could a unique new fungus offer an opioid alternative?

Medical News Today featured a new discovery of a fungus among us which could be an unexpected answer to the opioid crisis.  

Scientists have been on the search for drugs that will treat chronic pain the same way as opioids but less likely to cause health issues, misuse, or addiction. 

  • Researchers found an unknown species of the fungus Penicillium, in an estuary in the Huon Valley in Tasmania. 
    • This species containing a set of amino acids (protein building blocks) called tetrapeptides with a unique structure that emulates the shape of endorphins (natural chemical messengers that help deliver pain relief).  
  • The researchers found that these tetrapeptides have the potential to cause fewer side effects than regular opioids while offering effective pain relief. 
  • Although more tests are required until the new pain killer could become commercially available, the structure of the molecule is one scientists haven’t ever seen before, potentially offering positive outcomes for pain. 

The findings were featured in a PNAS journal article.

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Mindfulness could boost opioid use disorder treatment

Usually when a person receives a diagnosis of opioid use disorder, doctors prescribe methadone maintenance therapy -- controlled doses of methadone to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. 

The problem with this therapy is that half of the individuals who use this therapy continue to use opioids during treatment or relapse within six months. 

Medical News Today featured a Drug and Alcohol Dependence study in which researchers tested a new approach to opioid use disorder treatment. 

  • 30 participants with the condition, as well as chronic pain, were randomly split into two groups. 
  • Over 8 weeks, one group continued with usual treatment of methadone and counseling. The other received an experimental combination therapy that the researchers called “mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement” (MORE).
    • MORE combined methadone maintenance therapy with mindfulness practice -- teaching the individual to focus on the present and become more aware of thoughts and sensations as the occur. 
  • Researchers found that the participants who received the MORE experimental intervention reported having 1.3 times better control over their opioid cravings compared to participants from the standard treatment. 

Natural Stacks habitué

Matthew is a foodie and people person wanting to create rich, colorful memories with new friends and those he loves. 

He works in the importation and roasting of specialty coffee. His job ranges from sales and logistics, to QA and palate training.

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“Literally, the first day I received them, I took 1 full dose of Serotonin and Dopamine stacks...went to dinner with my girlfriend and realized that I was both relaxed.. grounded.. but free flowing, generally in an optimistic and powerful mood.”

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“We don't all have to lead the same life. It's not a competition with anyone but ourselves - and speaking on that, NS Serotonin, Dopamine, and CILTEP stacks have helped me get done what I KNOW I can in a week, and go home feeling solid.”

Matthew recommends Natural Stacks to anyone who wants to push past resistance and get tedious tasks done, those starting a new exercise routine, or those who are looking to get out more and get inspired.

What else we're Stacking…

Teen suicide rate spikes 56% in a decade [Healthline]

Healthful snacks can reduce feelings of fatigue [Medical News Today]

Social media use may harm teens' mental health by disrupting positive activities, study says [CNN]

Monkeys demonstrate more cognitive flexibility than humans [Medical News Today]

Daily exposure to blue light may accelerate aging, even if it doesn't reach your eyes [Science Daily]

A new discovery: How our memories stabilize while we sleep [Science Daily]

Gut bacteria may counter the harmful effects of processed foods [Medical News Today]


“Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.” 

- Chuck Palahniuk, Author of Fight Club 

Helping you build a better life,

-Natural Stacks


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