The Opioid Crisis

By: - January 5, 2018 12:00 am

Matt Rourke/The Associated Press

Opioid Treatment Scam May Be Coming to Your State

October 7, 2019

Donna Johnson, a working mother of four who lives in a quiet upscale neighborhood in suburban Maryland, is determined to thwart an insidious addiction treatment scam that’s spreading across the country.

Johnson & Johnson Settles Bellwether Opioid Cases

October 2, 2019

Admitting no guilt, consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay more than million to avoid a trial in cases with two Ohio counties in federal opioid litigation slated for Oct. 21.

Purdue Reaches Tentative Global Settlement, But Not All States Are On Board

September 12, 2019

In what could be the first comprehensive settlement in the massive federal lawsuit aimed at holding drug companies responsible for the opioid epidemic, OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma has reached a tentative, no-fault deal with more than 2,000 plaintiffs that would be worth as much as billion.

Sacklers Walk Away From Purdue Opioid Settlement Talks

September 9, 2019

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, a lead defendant in hundreds of lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies responsible for the opioid crisis, has backed out of talks that would have paid states as much as billion to settle all claims. 

In Cherokee Country, Opioid Crisis Seen as Existential Threat

September 9, 2019

Here in the foothills of the lush Ozark Mountains, where the Cherokee Nation re-formed its government after U.S. soldiers marched members of the tribe out of the South in the 1830s, people say the removal of children from their Native homes is the most troubling part of the opioid crisis. .

Oklahoma Judge Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay M For Its Role in the State’s Opioid Crisis

August 27, 2019

In a first-of-its-kind case, an Oklahoma judge yesterday ordered the consumer products behemoth Johnson & Johnson, and its painkiller-producing subsidiary Janssen, to pay the state more than million to abate the state’s opioid crisis.

Where Doctors Can Recommend Marijuana to Replace Opioids

August 13, 2019

Policymakers in Colorado, Illinois and New York now allow health professionals to recommend marijuana instead of addictive, potentially deadly pain pills such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin.

Opioid Overdose Drug Reaches Too Few Patients

August 6, 2019

Use of the opioid overdose rescue drug naloxone has skyrocketed in recent years. But only 1 in 70 chronic pain patients at high risk of overdose are receiving it, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Opioid Settlements Spark Debate on How to Spend the Money

July 15, 2019

In the first trial aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the opioid crisis, Oklahoma earlier this year reeled in more than million in settlement payments from drugmakers Purdue Pharma and Teva.

As the Opioid Crisis Peaks, Meth and Cocaine Deaths Explode

May 13, 2019

Most states are keeping a close eye on opioid overdose deaths, but they may need to start focusing on cocaine and other stimulants as well. It turns out that the same lethal drug that has been driving the nation’s spiraling opioid epidemic is also causing an historic surge in overdose deaths among cocaine users.

Opioid Maker Teva Settles With Oklahoma for M

May 28, 2019

On the eve of today’s opioid trial in Oklahoma, a second drugmaker has settled with the state. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced an million settlement agreement with Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceuticals for its alleged part in the state’s opioid crisis.

Nation’s First Opioid Trial Promises Long Odds, High Drama

May 24, 2019

As tornadoes circled this quiet college town earlier this month, dozens of attorneys sharpened their strategies inside a modestly appointed courtroom that will host what is expected to be the longest and highest-stakes trial in Oklahoma history.

Rapid Opioid Cutoff Is Risky Too, Feds Warn

May 21, 2019

To stem the opioid epidemic, U.S. doctors cut prescriptions of medications such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet by at least a quarter over the last five years. But the reduction in prescriptions came at a cost to some pain patients.

New Naloxone Laws Seek to Prevent Opioid Overdoses

May 1, 2019

It’s increasingly likely that someone you know has the opioid overdose rescue drug naloxone in their pocket or medicine cabinet. In fact, a new mobile app, NaloxoFind, will tell you whether anyone nearby is carrying the lifesaving drug.

Cops Draw Blood to Catch Impaired Drivers

April 18, 2019

Drugged driving is a growing concern as more states legalize marijuana and the opioid epidemic rages on. To fight it, more communities are training police officers to draw drivers’ blood at police stations or in vans.

Southern States Slowly Embracing Harm Reduction to Curb Opioid Epidemic

April 15, 2019

In the Bible Belt, many Southerners who held conservative views often criticized harm reduction as something that encouraged — not ended — the use of drugs. Those practices, in many states, were banned outright.

Opioid Treatment Programs Gear Up to Provide Suicide Care

April 11, 2019

It’s long been suspected that the nation’s unprecedented drug overdose epidemic and sharply rising suicide rates are linked.

As Drug Crises Surge, Babies Enter Foster Care at Higher Rate

April 9, 2019

Babies and toddlers are entering the foster care system at a higher rate, a trend that some child welfare experts fear is correlated to the opioid and methamphetamine epidemics wreaking havoc across the country.

Opioid Crisis ‘Kingpin’ Is Oklahoma’s New Target in Lawsuit

April 4, 2019

After securing a hefty financial settlement from Purdue Pharma last month, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is training the state’s legal armaments on a much bigger pharmaceutical player: Johnson & Johnson.

OxyContin Manufacturer Settles Lawsuit with Oklahoma

March 26, 2019

Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, has agreed to pay Oklahoma close to million to settle a landmark opioid lawsuit. The company’s owners, the Sackler family, agreed to pay an additional million..

More Babies Are Being Born With Syphilis. Blame Meth and Opioids.

February 26, 2019

Some of the communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic and a related methamphetamine spike also are facing another health crisis: a steep rise in syphilis. It isn’t a coincidence.

Pay Attention to This Little-Noticed Opioid Lawsuit in Oklahoma

February 14, 2019

In the legal battle to hold drug companies responsible for the country’s raging opioid epidemic, media attention largely has focused on a national lawsuit set for a late October trial in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio. But it may be upstaged by a lesser-known opioid case: Oklahoma v. Purdue Pharma, scheduled for trial in May in the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Oklahoma.

Opioid Money Has Helped, But States Want More

January 30, 2019

Dozens of doctors, nurses and researchers here at the Medical University of South Carolina are working on new opioid treatment projects many say they never dreamed possible.

Some Drug Users in Western U.S. Seek Out Deadly Fentanyl. Here’s Why.

January 7, 2019

Ever since the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl started showing up in the U.S. illicit drug supply eight years ago, experts have surmised that drug traffickers were using the inexpensive white powder to boost the potency of heroin, sometimes adding too much and inadvertently killing their customers.

Opioid Bill Expands Treatment Options

October 4, 2018

In a rare bipartisan effort, Congress approved sprawling legislation — the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 — designed to make it easier for states to expand access to addiction treatment. President Donald Trump has promised to sign the bill. 

Most Hospital ERs Won’t Treat Your Addiction. These Will.

September 21, 2018

Despite a raging drug overdose epidemic that is killing nearly 200 Americans every day and sending thousands more to emergency rooms, the vast majority of the nation’s more than 5,500 hospitals have so far avoided offering any form of addiction medicine to emergency patients.

For Addicted Women, the Year After Childbirth Is the Deadliest

August 14, 2018

Sleep deprivation, dramatic hormonal shifts and the day-to-day realities of caring for an infant create enormous stress for all women, but especially for those who are struggling to stay in recovery from drug use. 

Abuse of Opioid Alternative Gabapentin Is on the Rise

May 10, 2018

Doctors who are cutting back on prescribing opioids increasingly are opting for gabapentin, a safer, non-narcotic drug recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New App Maps Overdose Epidemic in Real Time

November 14, 2017

As opioid overdoses spiral, first responders and public health agencies are adopting a smartphone application that tracks both deaths and rescues as they happen.

For Addicted Doctors, Confidential Treatment That Works

November 6, 2017

In a high-stress profession, doctors succumb to drug addiction at a higher rate than the general population. A state-sponsored confidential treatment program helps them get back to work.

With Opioid Crisis, a Surge in Hepatitis C

August 28, 2017

A rise in injection drug use is fueling a spike in hepatitis C among young opioid and heroin users. 

New Numbers Reveal Huge Disparities in Opioid Prescribing

August 14, 2017

A town in southwest Virginia has the highest per capita opioid prescribing level in the country. New state prescribing rules could help change that.

Opioid Overdoses Swamp Medical Examiners

July 6, 2017

As opioid overdose deaths skyrocket, state and local medical examiners are working overtime to determine which drugs are killing people.


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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.