MDNN: Opioid Overprescription, Medical Marijuana's Effects, Grindr Scandal


This week on MDNN: Physician report being unaware of how many opioids they prescribe, legalized marijuana cuts down on opioid rates in Medicaid patients, Grindr responds to leak they share users' HIV statuses, and the FDA recalls salmonella-containing kratom.

Hi, I’m Kevin Kunzmann, I’m Jenna Payesko, and this is MD Magazine News Network - it’s clinical news for connected physicians.

Kevin: A recent study has shown that 65% of emergency department physicians underestimated the number of opioid prescriptions they’ve written for patients. After analyzing the Electronic Health Records of 109 emergency room doctors at 4 different hospitals and surveying another 51 doctors, researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that more than half of the gauged physicians underestimated the number of opioids they had prescribed. However, revealing their actual rates led to substantial decreases in prescribed opioids by the same physicians, with the change lasting a full year. So hey, that’s good news at least.

Jenna: Yes, except for all the opioids they gave out. In kind of related news, medical marijuana legalization is cutting heavily into opioid prescription rates. States’ implementation of medical and adult-use marijuana laws is associated with an approximate 6% reduction in opioid prescribing among patients covered under Medicaid insurance. The results lead researchers to further believe that comprehensive marijuana legalization would serve to combat the opioid epidemic. Medical and/or adult-use marijuana is currently legalized in 29 states, as well as the District of Columbia. See, Kevin? That’s actually good news.

Kevin: Yeah, except for all the states that haven’t passed a law yet. In mere days following the announcement that queer mobile social network Grindr released a new feature allowing users to opt-in to automatic HIV testing reminders, a data analysis conducted by a Norwegian outside research firm, exposed that Grindr is sharing sensitive information about its users’ HIV status with 2 other companies. The app, which has more than 3.6 million daily active users throughout the world, came under fire in recent days, and reiterated their information-sharing with the 2 companies is standard and safe. On Tuesday, the company expressed a desire to field questions about its policies and practices from the general public in response to the outcry. Finally, some good news!

Jenna: Yeah, except for the breach of health status privacy — oh whatever. For our weekly segment FDA Roundup, let’s go to Cecilia Pessoa-Gingerich. Cecilia, please have some good news.

Cecilia: I’ve got bad news, guys. In a first-time issuance under the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA announced this week a mandatory recall order for all food products containing powdered kratom that were manufactured, processed, packed, or held by Triangle Pharmanaturals, due to several containing salmonella. Just last month, the FDA and CDC investigated a multistate salmonella outbreak linked to the plant product. Triangle has reportedly failed to cooperate with the administration’s request for a voluntary recall, and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the action taken was solely based on the risks of contamination being posed by the products.

From a salmonella-free safe zone, I’m Cecilia Pessoa-Gingerich with FDA Roundup. Back to you guys.

Kevin: For these stories and more, visit us at I’m Kevin Kunzmann, and I’m Jenna Payesko. Thank for you watching MDNN.

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