opioid crisis

From medical professionals to law enforcement to recovering addicts, the opioid crisis has affected people from all walks of life.

At a University of South Florida symposium Wednesday, experts said it will take them all working together to end the opioid crisis.

While thousands of cities and counties have banded together to sue opioid makers and distributors in a federal court, another group of plaintiffs has started to sue on their own: hospitals.

Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET

Three of the biggest U.S. drug distributors and a drug manufacturer have reached a last-minute deal with two Ohio counties to avoid what would have been the first trial in a landmark federal case on the opioid crisis.

Summit and Cuyahoga counties announced Monday morning that the tentative deal amounts to roughly $260 million.

A Virginia doctor received a 40-year prison sentence on Wednesday for illegally prescribing more than half a million doses of oxycodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl and other opioids to patients for years.

Authorities say Dr. Joel Smithers operated a "pill mill" out of Martinsville, Va., located about 15 miles north of the Virginia-North Carolina border and about 175 miles southwest of Richmond.

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

The Miami-Dade County School Board has filed a federal lawsuit against more than a dozen corporations that manufacture or distribute opioids, claiming that the nation’s fourth largest school district should be compensated for the money it has spent battling the “worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history.”

Purdue Pharma, facing a mountain of litigation linked to the opioid epidemic, filed for bankruptcy in New York this week. The OxyContin manufacturer and its owners, the Sackler family, have offered to pay billions of dollars to cities and counties hit hard by the addiction crisis.

But that's not good enough for critics such as U.S. Rep. Max Rose.

Meghan McCarthy / Palm Beach Post

The Sackler family, owner of OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, is behind the recent $6.8 million purchase of a rehabbed downtown West Palm Beach office building, the Palm Beach Post has learned.

The July 31 purchase of the Glidden Spina + Partners building for a Sackler family office took place less than two months before Purdue Pharma filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, in a bid to resolve 2,600 opioid lawsuits pending against the company.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday night, just days after striking a settlement with more than 2,000 local governments over its alleged role in creating and sustaining the deadly opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid drug OxyContin, has reached a tentative deal worth billions of dollars that would resolve thousands of lawsuits brought by municipal and state governments who sued the company for allegedly helping to fuel the opioid crisis.

The pending settlement likely means Purdue will avoid going to trial in the sprawling and complicated case involving some 2,300 local governments across 23 states.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

The family that owns Purdue Pharma, maker of Oxycontin, has agreed to give up "the entire value" of the privately owned firm to settle claims that Purdue played a central role in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

That's according to a spokesperson for the firm, who detailed the Sackler family's offer in an email sent to NPR on Monday.

"Additionally, the Sacklers have offered $3 billion in cash as part of the global resolution," wrote Josephine Martin, Purdue Pharma's head of corporate affairs and communications.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Confronted with a torrent of lawsuits across the U.S., several major drug companies are in discussions with authorities to resolve thousands of opioid-related suits filed against them. A government source close to the negotiations tells NPR that Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo International and Allergan are looking to cut deals.

Updated at 7:04 p.m. ET

An Oklahoma judge has ruled that drugmaker Johnson & Johnson helped ignite the state's opioid crisis by deceptively marketing painkillers, and must pay $572 million to the state.

Oklahoma sought $17.5 billion, blaming Johnson & Johnson for fueling the crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people in the state.

An Oklahoma judge will announce a ruling Monday in the state's multibillion-dollar case against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson. The case is being closely watched to see if a court is prepared to hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for contributing to the opioid crisis that took more than 47,000 American lives in 2017 alone.

Greg Lovett / Palm Beach Post

Scores of people ensnared by Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s efforts to curb the area’s opioid epidemic won’t be able to beat criminal charges by claiming they got bad advice from their attorneys, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades.

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