opioid epidemic

The RREACT cars are part of a program to provide overdose victims with treatment.
Columbus City Council

Columbus City Council recently voted to invest more in an innovative program to help connect people who overdose with treatment.

The nationwide opioid lawsuits are far from over.

After last month’s settlement with drug makers and distributors, lawyers for Cuyahoga and Summit counties are focusing on the next set of defendants: pharmacies.

At the start of this month, attorneys for the two counties asked the court permission to add new claims against pharmacies to their lawsuits. The claims accuse pharmacy chains of failing to look out for suspicious opioid prescriptions.

Naloxone is an antidote that can help reverse drug overdoses.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Ohio law permits pharmacists to give the overdose antidote Naloxone without a prescription to people who deal with opioid addiction. One lawmaker is proposing a measure to help ensure pharmacists follow through.

A Chinese court has imposed a suspended death sentence on one accused drug trafficker and hit eight others with life sentences and other prison terms, after the nine Chinese citizens pleaded guilty to smuggling fentanyl to the U.S.

A jug of used needles to exchange in Camden, N.J., on Oct. 29, 2015.
Mel Evans / Associated Press

A new study blames the opioid epidemic for high rates of Hepatitis C in Ohio’s Appalachia region. Ohio University researchers led a team of health professionals to examine the spread of the disease.

Hamilton County Justice Center
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Hamilton County Justice Center is trying something new to reduce illegal drug trade within the jail: Inmates will soon be given flip-flops rather than shoes.

Yost Not Ready To Join National Opioid Settlement

Oct 22, 2019
Dave Yost speaks at the Ohio Republican Party event, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Yost was elected as the next Ohio attorney general.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

A group of state attorneys general is pushing officials from other state and local governments to accept a $48 billion deal to settle all the opioid-related lawsuits against two drugmakers and the three biggest distributors.

When workers who have been injured on the job go to pharmacies to fill prescriptions for opioid painkillers, they will soon be getting something else with it. 

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang responds to questions following a Democratic presidential primary debate at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville.
Tony Dejak / AP

During Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, two candidates discussed the idea of decriminalizing opioids.

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.

There's no doubt that opioids have been massively overprescribed in U.S. In the haste to address the epidemic, there's been pressure on doctors to reduce prescriptions of these drugs — and in fact prescriptions are declining. But along the way, some chronic pain patients have been forced to rapidly taper or discontinue the drugs altogether.

Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new message for doctors: Abrupt changes to a patient's opioid prescription could harm them.

Cuyahoga and Summit County leaders say they plan to spend the tens of millions already awarded in opioid settlements on drug treatment and prevention programs.

Both counties released plans for the settlement money Thursday, less than two weeks before they both take their claims against the drug industry to trial in federal court in Cleveland. The two counties will be the first among thousands of plaintiffs to make their case before a jury in the massive case.

Drug companies may try to turn the tables on Cuyahoga County in the coming federal opioid trial, presenting evidence on the troubled the county jail and in the department of children and family services in an effort to minimize the role of their drugs in local problems.

With jury selection scheduled to begin next week and opening statements set for Oct. 21, attorneys for both sides are disputing which evidence and witnesses should be presented at trial.

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.

This month, attorneys representing Cuyahoga and Summit counties will try to convince a jury to hold the drug industry responsible for the opioid crisis.

The neighboring Northeast Ohio counties are among the more than 2,000 local governments, Native American tribes and other groups suing opioid manufacturers and distributors in federal court.

Pages