Many State and Local Officials Say Drug Industry Should Pay for Opioid Epidemic

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As lawsuits against opioid manufacturers increase, a growing number of state and local officials say the companies should pay for the costs of the country’s opioid crisis, NPR reports.

The first case, against drug maker Johnson & Johnson, began in Oklahoma this week. Two of the defendants in the case have already settled claims with state officials. Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $270 million in March, and Teva Pharmaceuticals settled for $85 million this week.

A judge in Cleveland, Ohio is overseeing hundreds of lawsuits filed against distributors and manufacturers of opioids by local governments. The first of these trials is scheduled to begin in October.

State and local officials say drug companies made misleading claims about the safety of opioids. Schools, police departments, courts, non-profit groups and hospitals have been responding to the epidemic. Most of the resources used to respond to the opioid crisis have come from local taxpayers and nonprofit donations, the article notes.

Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times between 2010 and 2017, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are seeing a sharp rise as well.

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