Woman breaks into home, rants and strips on livestream: cops

A woman allegedly broke into a home in a Silicon Valley town, snatched the resident’s cell phone and live-streamed an incoherent rant before stripping to her underwear and going into the backyard, according to reports. The suspect, identified as Akilah Hasan, 26, entered the Woodside home around 3:20 p.m. Sunday. She then confronted the resident in his…

A woman allegedly broke into a home in a Silicon Valley town, snatched the resident’s cell phone and live-streamed an incoherent rant before stripping to her underwear and going into the backyard, according to reports. The suspect, identified as Akilah Hasan, 26, entered the Woodside home around 3:20 p.m. Sunday. She then confronted the resident in his...

from https://nypost.com

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Cop demanded oral sex in exchange for ignoring woman’s arrest warrant: docs

A police officer in Arizona ignored a woman’s arrest warrant in exchange for oral sex after a confrontation at a convenience store earlier this month, court documents show. Tucson Police Officer Richard Daniel, a 33-year-old three-year department veteran, responded to a report of a dispute between a clerk and a woman inside a 7-Eleven on…

A police officer in Arizona ignored a woman’s arrest warrant in exchange for oral sex after a confrontation at a convenience store earlier this month, court documents show. Tucson Police Officer Richard Daniel, a 33-year-old three-year department veteran, responded to a report of a dispute between a clerk and a woman inside a 7-Eleven on...

from https://nypost.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Citizens-Not Cops-Need To Do More To Control Violent Crime

Baltimore Police Motorcycles Highlights We are in danger of losing cities to violent crime. There may be points of no return for decades. The future of policing and cities hangs in the balance. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. […]

The post Citizens-Not Cops-Need To Do More To Control Violent Crime appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

Baltimore Police Motorcycles Highlights We are in danger of losing cities to violent crime. There may be points of no return for decades. The future of policing and cities hangs in the balance. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. […]

The post Citizens-Not Cops-Need To Do More To Control Violent Crime appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Weak Gun Laws Lead to Higher Gun Death Rates- Study

States led by Alaska lead in death rates because they have weak gun violence prevention laws and high rates of gun ownership, says the Violence Policy Center based on newly released 2017 data. Hawaii has the nation’s lowest gun-death rate.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that states with the nation’s highest rates of gun death in 2017 are those with weak gun violence prevention laws and higher rates of gun ownership, the Violence Policy Center reports.

States with the lowest gun- death rates have some of the strongest gun violence prevention laws and lower rates of gun ownership. The state with the highest per capita gun-death rate in was Alaska, followed by Montana, Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri. Those states have lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership, the center says.

The state with the nation’s lowest gun-death rate was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Those states have strong gun violence prevention laws and a lower rate of gun ownership. The number of Americans killed by gunfire increased to 39,773 in 2017 from 38,658 in 2016.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Ask the authors: The Supreme Court and the law of and for elites

Ask the authors: The Supreme Court and the law of and for elitesThe following is a series of questions posed by Ronald Collins to Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum on the occasion of the publication of their book “The Company They Keep: How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court” (Oxford University Press, 2019, 272 pp., cloth: $29.95). Neal Devins is the Sandra Day O’Connor Professor of Law […]

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Ask the authors: The Supreme Court and the law of and for elites

The following is a series of questions posed by Ronald Collins to Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum on the occasion of the publication of their book “The Company They Keep: How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court” (Oxford University Press, 2019, 272 pp., cloth: $29.95).

Neal Devins is the Sandra Day O’Connor Professor of Law at the College of William and Mary. Lawrence Baum is an emeritus professor of political science at Ohio State University.

Welcome, Neal and Lawrence, and thank you for taking the time to participate in this question-and-answer exchange for our readers. And congratulations on the publication of your latest book.

* * *

Question: The two of you make use of political science and social psychology in writing about the Supreme Court and its decision-making process. How does this book differ from your previous works?

Devins & Baum: This book is an outgrowth of previous work. One of us (Devins) wrote about political ignorance and the inability of the general public to directly engage with the Supreme Court; the other (Baum) wrote a book, “Judges and their Audiences,” that explained the importance of social networks to judicial decision-making. “The Company They Keep” builds on our past work. It explains the nexus between Supreme Court decision-making and increasingly polarized elite social networks. It relatedly debunks claims that the justices follow public opinion.

Question: You write that the “Supreme Court Justices are part of an elite world – chosen by other political elites, coming primarily from social and economic elites, and most attentive to elites during their tenure on the Court.”

Who, in brief, are these elites and why are they more influential than popular majorities?

Devins & Baum: In broad terms, the elites that may be relevant to justices are those who have achieved high political, economic and social status. The worlds in which future and sitting justices live and work are composed primarily of elites, so justices identify with them. The specific elites that are important vary from justice to justice, but elite segments of the legal profession and groups with a liberal or conservative orientation are often part of what social psychologists would call a justice’s social identity. Like other people, justices consciously or subconsciously seek the approval of people and groups that are important to them. Thus, elite groups can exert a subtle influence on a justice’s judgments. While justices may have reason to seek approval from the general public, they have a more fundamental motivation to win and maintain the approval of the people who are more important to them personally.

Question: Do justices ever shift their allegiance from one category of elites to another? For example, did Justice Harry Blackmun shift from conservative elites to liberal media elites?

Devins & Baum: When people’s situations change, so may their social identities. Whether or not Blackmun identified with conservative elites when he joined the Supreme Court, it seems clear that the approval of liberal elites in the legal profession and the news media – along with the disapproval that he received from other quarters after Roe v. Wade – reinforced his gradual movement to the left. In effect, his social identity became linked to liberal elite groups. Some conservatives have argued that several Republican appointees to the court became more liberal during their tenure as justices because of the influence of those liberal elites. While the validity of that argument can be debated, it certainly should not be dismissed out of hand.

Question: When it comes to issues such as abortion, affirmative action, gun control and health care, is there really such a thing as a rule of law divorced from partisan predilections?

Devins & Baum: Yes and no. No, because Democratic and Republican justices typically disagree on these issues, these disagreements will persist so long as there is elite polarization, and they inevitably shape the justices’ positions in cases. Yes, because Democratic and Republican justices are both committed to norms of judicial independence and collegiality.

These norms are relevant in two ways. First, the justices will look to act in ways that suggest they are above politics – by avoiding politically divisive cases and issuing narrow consensus opinions on which party line divisions are not apparent. These norms, moreover, speak to respect for precedent, and some justices will be loath to formally overrule politically divisive decisions. Second, the justices understand that they must set forth their reasoning in written opinions that will be subject to critique by academics, fellow judges and others. Individual justices will seek to issue principled opinions, that is, opinions that reinforce their jurisprudential vision and can be seen as well-reasoned against the backdrop of other decisions they have issued or will issue.

Question: You point out that when it came to some of the Warren Court’s more expansive rulings, as in the criminal justice realm, the divisions among the justices were not explainable by partisan politics drawn along party lines. Similarly, you note that the majority on the Burger Court in Roe v. Wade consisted of five Republican appointees and two Democratic appointees. Can you say a few words about that and why today the situation seems so different?

Devins & Baum: Before Ronald Reagan, party identity and ideology were linked only to a limited degree. Conservative Southern Democrats and liberal Rockefeller Republicans were critically important to their respective parties. Correspondingly, since party and ideology were not strongly linked, Democratic presidents often named conservatives to the Supreme Court and Republican presidents often nominated liberal justices. Indeed, it was not until the 1991 nomination of Justice Clarence Thomas that Republican nominees have uniformly been more conservative than their Democratic counterparts. Moreover, the conservative legal network that is so important today was nonexistent at that time. Legal elites during the Warren and Burger Court era were mostly liberal, and perhaps as a result, several justices drifted towards liberal views once on the court. Decisions like Roe and Miranda v. Arizona reflect these phenomena.

Question: You make a strong case as to how political polarization and influence by certain elite groups shape the justices’ opinions and voting, at least in cases involving controversial political and cultural issues. In that regard, it seems that the justices would be far more likely to split in those controversial cases than in other cases. If that is indeed so, then might we understand the law as interpreted by the Supreme Court as being bifurcated? That is, one track of law is likely to be more partisan (or political) and the other track more likely to be neutral (or rule-of-law like). Do you agree?

Devins & Baum: The idea of two tracks makes a great deal of sense. In a polarized political world, even more than at other times, justices are pulled toward the positions of conservative or legal elites in the cases that have high ideological or partisan stakes. At the same time, the justices want to think of themselves as skilled lawyers, and they want legal academics and other commentators to see them as being devoted to the law. So in cases that have minimal ideological and partisan stakes, justices can act more as neutral interpreters of the law. This tendency to put cases into two tracks helps to account for the high proportions of unanimous decisions as well as the decisions that divide justices along non-ideological lines.

Question: Your focus on the influence of elite groups on Supreme Court decision-making diverges from how constitutional law is generally taught in law schools. That is, your book seems to counsel law students to be skeptical of so-called neutral approaches like textualism and ad hoc balancing. Is that a fair assessment?

Devins & Baum: That is a fair assessment. Justices who espouse textualism, to take one example, almost surely believe that they are following a neutral principle. But justices and others who adopt such principles do so largely because they think that the principle will usually lead them to the outcomes they prefer on ideological grounds. In addition, the path from any such principle to decisions is often uncertain, and that uncertainty leaves room for justices’ policy preferences to come into play when they apply principles such as textualism.

Question: Last November, Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to respond to something President Donald Trump said when Trump decried a ruling by an “Obama judge.” In part, the chief justice declared: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.” An “independent judiciary,” he stressed, “is something we should all be thankful for.”

Two questions: (1) What do you make of the chief justice’s remarks? and (2) given what you write in your book, is it possible for him to scale back the partisan divide that has captured the court when it comes to hot-button issues?

Devins & Baum: Chief justices in general and this chief justice in particular care a great deal about institutional concerns, particularly the Supreme Court’s independence and legitimacy. Starting with his confirmation hearing and throughout his tenure, Roberts has presented himself as committed to the court’s reputation as “neutral umpire.” Relatedly, he prefers consensus-based minimalist opinions to sharply divided opinions. And while the chief justice does not always practice what he preaches, it is, nonetheless, true that the growing belief that the court is partisan cuts against this rhetoric and the chief justice’s personal legacy.

It is little wonder therefore that the chief justice would take issue with Trump’s remarks, and his response is very much in keeping with his ongoing campaign to present himself as steward of a court committed to the rule of law. As to whether he can scale back the partisan divide, rhetorical statements are useful but the rubber meets the road with his decisions and opinion assignments. By steering the court away from divisive issues and by assigning opinions in ways that facilitate consensus, the chief justice can make a difference. How much of a difference remains to be seen.

Question: In his recent dissent in Gee v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast, Inc., Justice Clarence Thomas (joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch) took his colleagues (including the chief justice and Justice Brett Kavanaugh) to task for denying certiorari in a case involving a state’s effort to terminate Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider. In part, Thomas complained: “Some tenuous connection to a politically fraught issue does not justify abdicating our judicial duty.” He then added, “We are not ‘to consult popularity,’ but instead to rely on ‘nothing … but the Constitution and the laws.’”

How do the justices’ votes in this case square with your understanding of elites and partisan divisions on the Supreme Court?

Devins & Baum: The justices’ positions in any specific case may result from a variety of considerations. In Gee, Kavanaugh voted with Roberts and against the other three conservative associate justices; 11 days later, in Trump v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Kavanaugh joined those associate justices and diverged from Roberts in voting to stay a district court decision that blocked the federal government from denying consideration for asylum to people who entered the country illegally. We think the key difference is likely between the chief justice and the other four conservatives on the court.

Question: Kavanaugh’s views on statutory interpretation and administrative law – specifically, his objection on separation-of-powers grounds to the growth of the “administrative state,” which he has called the “headless fourth branch” of the government – have drawn attention. If this were to become the next hot-button issue, do you suppose it would play out the same partisan way as other controversial areas?

Devins & Baum: No. The division on issues of separation of powers and statutory interpretation seems somewhat different from the division on socially divisive constitutional issues. Because Democrats and Republicans control Congress and the White House at different times, broad or narrow views of presidential and agency power do not necessarily favor the political objectives of one or the other party. And while Republican appointees are more apt to disfavor agency power, the Supreme Court’s division on separation of powers is not sharply partisan – at least for now. In Zivotofsky v Kerry, for example, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Thomas broke from the court’s other Republicans in a case regarding the respective powers of Congress and the president to recognize foreign nations. Gorsuch also broke rank from the court’s Republicans in a statutory interpretation case concerning the government’s power to deport immigrants who commit serious crimes.

These cases suggest that issues of presidential power and statutory interpretation may roll out differently than abortion, affirmative action and socially divisive constitutional issues.

Question: How does the question of legacy fit into your calculus of Supreme Court decision-making? That is, what if a justice is more concerned with buttressing his or her legacy than with pleasing the partisan elites of the day?

Devins & Baum: Supreme Court justices are not immune to the strong human tendency to focus on the short term and, consequently, justices rarely vote against strongly held legal policy preferences in order to advance abstract long-term goals such as legacy. Then again, justices may give some weight to their long-term legacy when they address certain cases. That may have been true of Justice Antonin Scalia, for instance. Chief justices have especially good reason to think that they will be remembered long after their tenure on the court ends, and that feeling may help to explain Roberts’ desire to avoid the image of his court as one driven by partisan considerations.

Question: You write that Gorsuch is likely to remain true to the creed of conservative elites. Do you think the same will hold true for the chief justice? Or would his case become more complicated were four justices to form a consistent hard-liner conservative voting bloc?

Devins & Baum: We think it is important that Gorsuch – like Thomas, Alito, and Kavanaugh – has strong ties to conservative elites generally and the Federalist Society specifically. In contrast, Roberts has kept some distance from that movement, and from the Federalist Society, since his appointment to the court. One powerful reason, we think, lies in the justices’ perceptions of their audiences.

It appears that Roberts sees his reputation and standing as depending largely on preventing the Supreme Court from being seen as a partisan institution, while the four associate justices care more about how they are viewed by their fellow conservatives. The more that the other conservatives form a consistent bloc, while liberals form an opposing bloc, the greater will be Roberts’ incentive to diverge from conservative positions in certain cases and to try to move his colleagues away from bloc voting through means such as identifying compromise positions. If a sixth conservative joins the court, however, that incentive might weaken.

Question: In your conclusion you are rather pessimistic about the court being able to move beyond the ideological divide. If that is so, and if the conservative bloc of the court holds or even increases its power, then at least two liberal alternatives present themselves: (1) a return in the liberal legal academy to James Bradley Thayer’s minimalist view of judicial review, or (2) at the political level, an embrace of some form of court-packing plan if the Democrats regain the presidency and control of Congress.

Devins & Baum: We doubt that modern day court-packing proposals will gain favor. There is near-universal disapproval of FDR’s plan to add justices in order to overcome court hostility to the New Deal reforms. And while the backdrop to modern day proposals is different, it will be hard to overcome the disrepute of FDR’s proposal. Nonetheless, minimalism has an excellent pedigree and has been embraced by Republican appointees, most notably, Roberts.

We anticipate that the chief justice will sometimes embrace narrow minimalism in order to seek to build a bipartisan consensus. However, on issues on which the chief justice has strong legal policy preferences (affirmative action, for example), we anticipate that Roberts will back maximalist rulings – even if those rulings divide the court’s Democrats and Republicans.

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NYPD announces new plan to combat crime in dangerous neighborhoods

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill on Wednesday plans to announce a new initiative to reduce crime in six targeted neighborhoods that have “violent crime rates more than twice as high as the rest of the city.” “Everyone who lives and works in New York City deserves to lives in safety” regardless of income…

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill on Wednesday plans to announce a new initiative to reduce crime in six targeted neighborhoods that have “violent crime rates more than twice as high as the rest of the city.” “Everyone who lives and works in New York City deserves to lives in safety” regardless of income...

from https://nypost.com

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NYPD announces new plan to combat crime in dangerous neighborhoods

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill on Wednesday plans to announce a new initiative to reduce crime in six targeted neighborhoods that have “violent crime rates more than twice as high as the rest of the city.” “Everyone who lives and works in New York City deserves to lives in safety” regardless of income…

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill on Wednesday plans to announce a new initiative to reduce crime in six targeted neighborhoods that have “violent crime rates more than twice as high as the rest of the city.” “Everyone who lives and works in New York City deserves to lives in safety” regardless of income...

from https://nypost.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Why Police Reform isn’t Dead: The Case for Optimism

When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions shut down the Justice Department’s efforts to end bias in U.S. police departments, many police reformers lapsed into despair. But reform is alive and well across the country, if you look in the right places, says a policing scholar.

When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March 2017 ended the Justice Department’s “pattern or practice” program, many police reformers lapsed into despair.

The program involved investigations of violations of peoples’ rights by local police departments and then negotiating consent decrees mandating reform.

The 40 consent decrees and settlements that were initiated under the program since 1994 made notable improvements in previously troubled police departments.

Many experts wondered who would now take the lead nationally in police reforms.

The mood of pessimism was reinforced by the continuing incidents of outrageous police shootings of people, who were disproportionally African American. Had the reforms spurred by the tragic 2014 events in Ferguson, Missouri, accomplished nothing?

Despair not. Police reform is alive and well across the country. You just have to look in the right places. The argument here is developed at length in an Illinois Law Review article.

First, since Ferguson there has been an outburst of police reform ordinances and laws across the country. A Vera Institute report found 79 separate state laws in 35 states in 2015-2016 alone.

Five states passed new laws either limiting certain types of force (e.g., chokeholds) or mandating training for all offices. Several others enacted laws to prevent racial profiling in stops of citizens. Nine states passed laws to improve police handling of mental health-related incidents. An astonishing 27 states enacted laws related to police body-worn cameras

Nine states, meanwhile, passed laws requiring police departments to collect data on officer-involved shootings, traffic stops, and other critical police actions. A Texas law now requires each police department to post detailed information of police shooting deaths on their web sites (see Houston).

City councils have also been very active. Seattle, Chicago, and New York City have created Inspectors General, independent oversight agencies with professional staff that investigate issues of concern in their local police departments. Seattle, meanwhile, created a permanent Community Police Commission, which can recommend new or revised police department policies.

Pathbreaking Reports

A group of reform-minded police chiefs, meanwhile, has made important recommendations related to the control of officer use of force, de-escalation and tactical decision-making, and more effective methods of training. Their group, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) has published a series of pathbreaking reports in the last several years.

A 2015 PERF report on training blasted the profession for its over-emphasis on force and control issues, while devoting little to officer communication skills. A 2016 PERF report on use of force urged use of force policies that are actually more restrictive than what the Supreme Court requires.

The PERF reports are based on the current work of police departments. Each one is based on a meeting of police chiefs and commanders who report on what they are now doing in their own departments. In short, they provide a window into the law enforcement profession in the process of change.

Sam Walker

Samuel Walker

In short, the evidence is clear: police accountability-related police reform is alive and well. Stat legislatures, city councils, and many police chiefs across the country are active in controlling police use of force, making departments more open and transparent, and providing for community input into police policies.

Sam Walker is Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He welcomes comments by readers.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Community Engagement Called Critical to 21st Century Policing

As police departments across the country take a hard look at policing, especially the way it has disadvantaged African Americans, “proactive” crime-fighting strategies combined with greater community engagement are shaping up as critical elements of U.S. police reform, write two scholars.

As police department across the country take a hard look at policing, especially the way it has disadvantaged African Americans, “proactive” crime-fighting strategies combined with greater community engagement are shaping up as critical elements of U.S. police reform, write two scholars in a recent commentary for The Hill.

Citing a 2018 report from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, David Weisburd and Greg Berman argue the nation needs a “blueprint” for policing in the 21st century that responds to community needs while restoring police legitimacy.

Weisburd, distinguished professor at George Mason University and a former chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Proactive Policing, and Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation, argue that effective crime-fighting strategies, such as hot-spot policing and focused deterrence, must be paired with community engagement that treats the public,”including suspects and arrestees, with dignity and respect and an absence of bias.”

“Police departments should seek to limit their intrusion into the daily life of residents as much as possible,” the authors wrote. “Police departments should be surgical in their approach, narrowly targeting proactive strategies to small groups of chronic offenders and specific street corners that are magnets for crime, rather than blanketing whole precincts or neighborhoods with a one-size-fits-all approach.”

Weisburd was co-author of a study published last year in Criminology & Public Policy, which reported on a six-month Seattle pilot project applying procedural justice principles to police training. According to the study, officers who went through the training were involved in fewer use-of-force incidents, and made fewer arrests than their peers.

Additional Reading:

States Emerge as Critical Players in Police Reforms

Art, Science and the Challenge of Justice Reform (Greg Berman and Julian Adler, TCR)

from https://thecrimereport.org

Do Perks for Doctors Fuel Opioid Deaths?

Drug companies’ multimillion-dollar-marketing campaigns have been held responsible for the substance-abuse associated with overprescribing of opiate painkillers. Now a new study links the promotions with higher levels of mortality, and calls for regulations curbing the use of perks like free meals.

Free meals to doctors and other “subtle” marketing techniques of drug firms may have helped drive the high mortality rates associated with the nation’s opioid crisis

That was the conclusion of a recent study by a team of medical researchers, who found that the often little-noticed perks offered physicians by drug companies seeking to promote opioid painkillers are one reason for the high number of opioid prescriptions that have led in turn to more deaths.

Such perks have a greater influence on prescription rates than the multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns of so-called Big Pharma, and are not likely to be affected by current federal or state efforts to curb pharmaceutical marketing activities, including setting monetary caps on the amount of payments doctors can receive from drug companies, the researchers said.

The study, published this month in JAMA Network Open, the online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), was the first to explore whether there was a relationship between the aggressive marketing tactics of drug companies, the high number of opioid prescriptions, and the national epidemic of drug overdose deaths.

The researchers looked at overdose deaths in over 2,200 U.S. counties where physicians had been the targets of “nonresearch-based opioid marketing” valued at nearly $40 million between 2013 and 2015, and found that the same counties had “subsequently experienced elevated mortality.”

The study made clear that the figures did not necessarily suggest a cause-and-effect relationship between aggressive marketing and drug deaths, but they said it underlined the importance of more stringent regulation on drug marketing.

“Our findings such that direct-to-physician opioid marketing may counter current national efforts to reduce the number of opioids prescribed, and that policymakers might consider limits on these activities,” wrote lead researcher Dr. Scott Hadland of Boston University.

Big Pharma is already in the target sights of lawsuits filed by states and native American tribes, who claim that the companies’ failure to inform physicians that opiate painkillers are dangerously addictive and should be prescribed with caution was a primary cause of an epidemic that has killed thousands of Americans.

But the latest finding amounts to a condemnation of the traditional techniques used by pharmaceutical companies to promote a wide variety of drugs—not just opioids.

Efforts by some state governments, such as New Jersey, to set a cap on the dollar value of payments individual physicians could receive from drug companies would not necessarily address the problem, the researchers said, noting that the number of promotional payments or the number of physicians receiving them was more significant than the actual amounts received.

“Because most marketing interactions with physicians involve meals that typically have a low monetary value, a high dollar cap would affect only a minority of prescribers who exceed this amount,” the study said.

“As evidence mounts that industry-sponsored meals contribute to increased prescribing, data suggest that the greatest influence of pharmaceutical companies may be subtle and widespread, manifested through payments of low monetary value occurring on a very large scale.”

In the JAMA study, some 67, 507 physicians received promotional perks, including meals, speaking fees, consulting fees and honoraria from the drug companies.

The study added more ammunition to claims that “pharmaceutical marketing, in combination with excessive, inappropriate prescribing by physicians, could be viewed as one of the root causes of the current opioid epidemic,” Jordan Trecki of the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a commentary accompanying the study.

And in a statement following the study’s publication, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America declared that pain-medication prescribers “should be educated about the fundamentals of acute and chronic pain management, the range of available treatment options and relevant benefits and risks,” reported the Washington Post.

The study noted, however, that overdose deaths from prescription opiates accounted for just 40 percent of all opioid deaths in the U.S., and the number is declining as a result of strict new federal rules governing opioid prescriptions.

“Today, opioid-related overdoses…increasingly involve heroin, illicitly manufactured fentanyl, and numerous other substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines and cocaine,” the researchers wrote.

Backlash from Pain-Relief Advocates

At the same time, the focus on curbing opioid prescriptions and imprisoning medical providers charged with selling painkillers under the table has generated a backlash among some doctors and healthcare advocates who say it has reduced the quality of life, and in some cases endangered the health, of patients who depend on them to control chronic pain.

See: Are Pain Doctors Wrongly Taking the Blame for the Opioid Crisis?

Nevertheless, the researchers argued, even the federal crackdown on pain-care providers has been undermined by some of the drug company marketing techniques that prevail across the industry.

“Reducing the number of opioids prescribed is only one facet of a much-needed, multipronged public health effort to reduce opioid-related harm,” the study said. “Nonetheless, further clarifying the limits of drug companies’ influence on physician prescribing should be a critical component of preventing the current crisis from worsening.”

.Additional reading: Laws Restricting Opioid Care Undermine Efforts to Curb Epidemic

The complete JAMA study is available here.

from https://thecrimereport.org