In New Trend, Counties Are Going After Opioid Makers
“Their greedy, soulless drive for ever-expanding profits is destroying our society and we must take steps to reduce the damages and fix this problem," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said in a statement about the latest lawsuit targeting the companies.
Upstate NY County Latest To Sue Opioid Drug Makers
In what is shaping up as a national trend, yet another local government has filed a lawsuit accusing several drug makers of spreading the opioid epidemic by deliberately downplaying risks and improperly encouraging prescribing of the addictive painkillers. And the latest to do so is Erie County, N.Y., in the western-most corner of the state, which includes the city of Buffalo.The lawsuit alleged that four companies — Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Endo International — caused the county government to spend millions of dollars each year in its efforts to combat the epidemic. The lawsuit, which was filed in state court in New York, also named four physicians, who purportedly assisted the drug makers. (Silverman, 2/3)
In other news on the response to the opioid epidemic —
For Small-Town Tennessee Judge, Opioid Crisis Is Personal
Judge Duane Slone has observed the arc of the opioid crisis firsthand since painkiller addiction began taking hold of lives in the rural northeast Tennessee counties he serves. Serving as a drug prosecutor in the 1990s before becoming circuit judge in 2009, Slone routinely jailed addicts who committed petty crimes to support their habits. That included pregnant women. "How in the world could someone who has a child in her be addicted to drugs?” he remembers thinking. ... Then when a family friend asked Slone and his wife in 2011 to adopt a baby born with withdrawal symptoms, the crisis reached his home. (Wadhwani, 2/5)
How Gov. Doug Ducey Is Hoping To Offer More Prisoners 'A Real Second Chance'
If Gov. Doug Ducey gets his way, the nascent re-entry program will expand with a $518,000 infusion from the state budget. Ducey wants to add six more substance-abuse counselors and a re-entry planner, which would allow more people to enroll. The additional funding request for counseling marks a slight shift in the state's philosophy on incarceration and how to pay for it. Ducey, a law-and-order Republican, spent the first part of his term successfully pushing through a $21 million, 1,000-bed private-prison expansion. But he now seeks a modest funding increase to pay for additional rehabilitation efforts to lower recidivism and, if it works, reduce Arizona's prison population. (Harris, 2/5)