Opioids

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Palm Beach County on Tuesday became the first county in Florida to pass a needle exchange bill after the governor’s signature last week paved the way for local governments to establish programs to reduce disease transmission among drug users.

Opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, just five days after agreeing to pay $225 million to settle the federal government's criminal and civil cases against the company for bribing doctors to prescribe its fentanyl-based painkiller.

As pharmaceutical companies prepare to square off with states and local communities in courts around the U.S., a growing number of state and local officials say the industry should pay to cover the cost of the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET:

The first case in a flood of litigation against opioid drug manufacturers opened on Tuesday in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter's suit alleges Johnson & Johnson, the nation's largest drugmaker, helped ignite a public health crisis that has killed thousands of state residents.

Johnson & Johnson is the sole defendant in the case after two other companies — Teva Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma — both settled with the state before the trial began.

Attorney General Ashley Moody will have access to information in a prescription drug monitoring database under a bill passed this session.

Faced with a flood of addicted inmates and challenged by lawsuits, America's county jails are struggling to adjust to an opioid health crisis that has turned many of the jails into their area's largest drug treatment centers.

In an effort to get a handle on the problem, more jails are adding some form of medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, to help inmates safely detox from opioids and stay clean behind bars and after release.

Florida Governor Announces Task Force On Opioid Crisis

Apr 2, 2019

Florida's Office of Drug Control will be re-established in the governor's office and a state task force on drug abuse will be set up to provide a unified vision for battling the state's opioid epidemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday. 

Lawmakers last session limited the prescription for a Schedule II opioid to a maximum 7-day supply, but one representative says they forgot something.

America's big drugmakers and pharmacy chains are scrambling to respond to hundreds of lawsuits tied to the deadly opioid epidemic. Billions of dollars are at stake if the companies are found liable for fueling the crisis.

Even before judgments are rendered, companies like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and CVS are already suffering damage to their reputations as evidence in civil suits reveals more about their internal workings.

Bill Would Let Schools Have Opioid-Countering Drugs

Feb 15, 2019

A Senate Democrat on Thursday filed a proposal that would allow public schools to buy a type of drug that is used to treat people who have overdosed on opioids. 

It's not even 6 a.m. when Amy and Christie begin a 45 minute drive south. 

The two friends are headed to a clinic in Hernando County where they’ll get a dose of methadone. They take this trip seven days a week, they said, to keep from relapsing into the pill addiction that nearly destroyed their lives.

The percentage of outpatient medical visits that led to a benzodiazepine prescription doubled from 2003 to 2015, according to a study published Friday. And about half those prescriptions came from primary care physicians.

ep_jhu/flickr

Palm Beach County has been the epicenter of the opioid crisis in Florida. But data from the county’s state attorney office shows opioid deaths decreased 41 percent from 2017 to 2018.

County By County, Researchers Link Opioid Deaths To Drugmakers’ Marketing

Jan 21, 2019
Nunawoofy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Researchers sketched a vivid line Friday linking the dollars spent by drugmakers to woo doctors around the country to a vast opioid epidemic that has led to tens of thousands of deaths.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, looked at county-specific federal data and found that the more opioid-related marketing dollars were spent in a county, the higher the rates of doctors who prescribed those drugs and, ultimately, the more overdose deaths occurred in that county.

CREDIT DORIONEILL/FLICKR

A law that went into effect last July requires medical providers to check a statewide database before prescribing opioids for patients. Now, lawmakers are being asked to consider an exemption for doctors whose patients are terminally ill.

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