Lack Of Urgency: Former U.S. Senator Discusses Surprise About Early Failures By Congress To Fight Rise Of Fentanyl Deaths
Meanwhile, The Baltimore Sun reports that while deaths from opioids dropped overall in Maryland, Baltimore has been largely left behind. News about the opioid crisis is on litigation against the the drug makers and distributors and misinformation about anti-overdose medication, as well.
The Washington Post:
How Congress Failed To Act On The Fentanyl Epidemic Despite Dire Warnings
[Sen. Kelly] Ayotte almost immediately ran into a roadblock. The Senate was attempting to pass a sweeping criminal justice reform bill that would overhaul sentencing for drugs, including shortening the duration of mandatory sentences. Some thought Ayotte’s bill would clash with the effort and possibly imperil the bill’s passage. The fentanyl-related bills never received a vote. An early warning about fentanyl went unheeded. “Who is for fentanyl?” Ayotte said in a recent interview, recalling her frustration with Washington’s lack of urgency as the drug emerged as a widespread killer. “Fentanyl has not truly been dealt with. There are still people who are dying from it.” (Zezima and Itkowitz, 9/20)
The Baltimore Sun:
Three Things We Learned From Maryland’s Latest Drug And Alcohol Deaths Report
When state officials released their report this week on the number of people who have died from drug and alcohol overdoses from January to June, much of the focus was on the fact that the state was seeing another dip in fatal opioid overdoses after years of seeing the problem get worse. But while the state is touting an 11% reduction in opioid overdose deaths when compared with the same period last year, a deeper look into the numbers finds that the recovery is largely being felt in Maryland’s suburbs and not in Baltimore, where authorities say the majority of drugs in the region originate from. (Davis, 9/20)
The Washington Post:
The Opioid Litigation Has More Than 2000 Plaintiffs. Here’s What That Involves.
More than 2,000 state, local and tribal governments are suing two dozen pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, arguing that they’ve helped create an opioid crisis that has claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives. The suits include claims that the industry misled doctors and consumers about the drugs’ safety and negligently allowed opioids to fall into the wrong hands. Most of the litigation has been consolidated in federal district court in Ohio, where trial is set to begin Oct. 21. The government plaintiffs agree that the industry is complicit in the crisis, but the public officials involved disagree on a variety of issues. Several state attorneys general recently criticized the tentative deal between most of the government plaintiffs and OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma. The states and localities have also tangled over who will control the litigation. Why are we seeing these conflicts, and where is this litigation likely to go next? (Provost and Nolette, 9/21)
Hennepin County Attorney Statement On Narcan Alarms Overdose-Prevention Advocates
A statement posted Thursday night on the Hennepin County attorney’s website sparked outrage in the overdose prevention and drug recovery communities. Advocates and physicians say the prosecutor’s office mischaracterized the anti-overdose medication Narcan, and that the agency’s words could cause people to fear the life-saving medication. (Collins, 9/20)
Murphy Administration To Spend $8M On MAT In County Jails
New Jersey will deploy $8 million to make medication assisted treatment available to opioid use disorder patients being held at county correctional facilities, the Murphy administration announced Friday. ...The state Department of Health has estimated that 70 percent to 80 percent of New Jersey’s incarcerated population suffers from some form of substance abuse disorder. (Sutton, 9/20)