Opioids

Medicine cabinets at Florida schools could get a new addition: an antidote for people who overdose on opioids such as heroin.

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.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 24

Make no mistake: The legal fight over liability for the U.S. opioid crisis is only heating up.

Editor's note: To protect the anonymity of the children in this story, we are not using their names.

Children are often called the hidden casualties of the opioid epidemic. They carry a lot of secrets and shame.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis announced an over $58 million dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat Florida’s opioid addiction crisis.

Florida Department of Health officials said the ‘Overdose Data-To-Action’ grant will also funnel $12 million dollars annually to county health departments in Broward, Duval and Palm Beach. 

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.”

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.

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