Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin completed his cabinet nominee picks on Monday with the announcement of Fauquier County Sheriff Robert Mosier to be Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, and recent Magellan of Virginia President John Littel to be Secretary of Health and Human Resources.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on Virginians across the Commonwealth, and John will play a pivotal role in overseeing our efforts in protecting Virginians’ lives and livelihoods. Starting on Day One, John’s experience will be an asset as we fix our broken mental and behavioral health system, ensure Virginians have access to affordable, free-market healthcare options, and reform our healthcare safety net to save taxpayer dollars and improve healthcare outcomes,” Youngkin said in the announcement. Read More
Fifty Pennsylvania counties have joined a historic global opioid settlement that is expected to bring $1 billion to the state to fight the opioid crisis.
The $26 billion settlement involves the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen – as well as Johnson & Johnson. The agreement requires industry changes to help prevent a similar crisis in the future, in addition to the funds, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.
“Pennsylvania lost 5,172 lives to overdoses in the last year alone, which is 14 Pennsylvanians a day. This settlement is going to provide resources to jumpstart programs that will change lives and impact families across our commonwealth who are struggling to find treatment and help for those struggling with substance abuse,” Shapiro said. “These funds will be earmarked to offer and expand life-saving treatment options, prioritizing the areas that have been most affected by this crisis.” Read More
During the beginning of COVID-19, hospital inpatient volume and emergency department visits decreased, in part due to people postponing treatment. But the same data showed an increase in the number of patients getting treatment for alcohol, drug use, and related mental disorders, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) reported in April. In a Friday press conference, VHHA Vice President of Data and Analytics David Vaamonde reported that increased treatment for those kinds of disorders continued into the first two quarters of 2021 — one of only two Major Diagnostic Categories (MDCs) that saw growth since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We’re looking at MDCs where volumes actually increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have alcohol and drug use, and drug induced organic mental health disorders, obviously a very concerning trend there, and then diseases and disorders of the respiratory system and infectious and parasitic diseases,” Vaamonde said, adding that the respiratory, infectious, and parasitic categories line up with what a COVID-19 patient would have. Read More
A federal judge in Wisconsin on Friday sentenced two individuals for embezzling thousands from Ain Dah Ing (ADI), a nonprofit that offered mental health and alcohol and substance abuse services to Native American tribes in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
U.S. District Judge William M. Conley sentenced Edith Schmuck and Fredericka DeCoteau to one and two years in prison, respectively. Read More
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced on Friday that the state reached an $808 million agreement with the three largest distributors of opioids.
The mutual agreement is meant to provide monetary relief for communities throughout the state that were hit hard by the addiction crisis. Read More
The former president and board chair of Purdue Pharma testified in court on Wednesday that he, his family and the company are not at fault for the opioid crisis, CBS News reported.
Richard Sackler, 76, who is a member of the family that owns the OxyContin maker, denied responsibility at a White Plains, New York, bankruptcy hearing, CBS News reported. Read More
President Joe Biden has announced his nominees for United States Attorney for the Western and Eastern Districts of Virginia. Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) Jessica Aber and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia (WDVA) Christopher Kavanaugh were on a list of two candidates for each seat recommended by Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.
“We are pleased that the President has nominated Ms. Aber and Mr. Kavanaugh to fill these vacancies,” the senators said in a joint press release. “After a thorough review of their distinguished records, we believe they will serve Virginia and the country with distinction. We hope our colleagues will join us to support these well-qualified nominees to be U.S. Attorneys in the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. Read More
A coalition of 15 states agreed to a deal with drug maker Purdue Pharma, which could soon lead to a $4.5 billion settlement over the company’s role in the U.S. opioid epidemic.
The states agreed to no longer oppose Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan while the pharmaceutical company agreed to publicly release a trove of millions of documents, according to a court filing late Wednesday night. The Sackler family, which owns the company, would pay an additional $50 million under the settlement.
The agreement will be tacked onto a broader proposal that is set to be voted on by more than 3,000 plaintiffs, The New York Times reported. In addition to the states, plaintiffs include cities, counties and tribes that sued the company over its role in boosting its painkiller OxyContin, the cause of thousands of opioid deaths. Read More
Federal authorities have seized significantly more fentanyl along the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona and California since October than they did in the entire 2020 fiscal year.
Since October, authorities have seized 7.000 pounds of the drug, compared to just 4,500 pounds in the entire last fiscal year, according to data from Customs and Boarder Protection. The reasoning, according to authorities, is simply supply and demand. Read More
Virginia’s GOP nomination process for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general is grabbing headlines but early voting in the Democratic primary is still ongoing, and the final day of voting is in June. On Wednesday and Thursday, Democrats held debates between their candidates for attorney general and governor. Read More
In a year marred by death from an ongoing pandemic, 2020 also saw record overdose deaths.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 2020 saw a record year-over-year number of opioid overdose deaths. Read More
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema sentenced Fairfax doctor Felicia Donald to seven years in prison for operating a “pill mill” at For Women OB/GYN Associates and NOVA Addiction Center. According to a Department of Justice press release, from April 2016 to April 2020 Donald distributed over $1.2 million worth of oxycodone and other controlled substances. Donald pled guilty on May 4, 2020. Read More
Nashville officials have recorded more fatal drug overdoses in the first nine months of 2020 than they did in all of 2019.
This, according to a press release that members of the Metro Public Health Department emailed late last week.
As The Tennessee Star reported in May, Nashville, at the time, had an increase in the number of overdoses since March. Mid-March was right around the same time that local, state, and federal officials in the United States first restricted people’s movements and other freedoms because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More
Ohio State Representative Richard D. Brown (D-Canal Winchester) called on the State Senate Thursday to pass House Bill 10 (HB 10). The legislation was passed unanimously in June, 2019 with the help of the bill’s co-sponsor Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.).
“The all-encompassing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies exactly why we need a dedicated office to focus on drug addiction in our state. We cannot afford to take our eye off the ball even in the face of another crisis,” said Rep. Brown in a statement. Read More
The CBS weekly show 60 Minutes recently discovered a drug route leading into Ohio. The CBS team found that fentanyl plants in Shanghai have been trafficking their product through Akron. Guanghua Zheng, a free citizen of Shanghai, is a wanted man in America. Zheng illegally imported fentanyl and other… Read More
Alandre J. Gillbreath of Springfield, Ohio was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for possession with intent to distribute enough carfentanil to kill 700 people. According to the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Ohio, Gillbreath was arrested in May 2017 when police officers responded to… Read More
by Steve Birr Authorities in Ohio are cracking down on drug dealers trafficking in the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl with harsher legal penalties as synthetic overdose deaths continue rising. Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a bill Wednesday that reclassifies fentanyl from a Schedule II to a Schedule I substance and… Read More
by Steve Birr A new report reveals the deteriorating national opioid epidemic is hitting Tennessee particularly hard, killing three people across the state each day. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam created the Tennessee Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education Jan. 24 to investigate the addiction crisis and develop new standards for… Read More
by Will Racke Two illegal aliens have been indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy and drug distribution for allegedly running a drug trafficking operation that led to the overdose deaths of at least two people in Tennessee, federal prosecutors announced Thursday. Juan Manuel Morales-Rodriguez, 39, and Juan Samudio-Castro —… Read More
by Steve Birr The recent death of an Ohio police chief was the result of a fentanyl overdose, an autopsy report released Friday by a local coroner determined. Authorities in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, found Kirkersville Police Chief James Hughes Jr. dead in the bathroom of his home on May 25, along with a plastic… Read More
The state of Tennessee is adding restrictions to opioid prescriptions and measures to track and punish unlawful distribution of the powerful pain medications. Gov. Bill Haslam signed two bills and issued an executive order last Friday to support TN Together, the latest effort to fight the opioid crisis, WBIR reported,… Read More
by Steve Birr Federal officials are charging 601 people, including more than 100 medical workers, for fueling opioid addiction in the largest bust of health care fraud in U.S. history. The Department of Justice revealed the charges Thursday, which were brought as part of an annual effort to dismantle… Read More
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) released a statement this week geared to focusing attention on his work in support of both law enforcement and addiction treatment. “During a week in which the House of Representatives focused solely on solutions to the country’s opioid crisis, Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D., voted to improve… Read More
by Anders Hagstrom Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of drug use and addiction of any state in the country, according to a WalletHub study released Monday. Drug addiction has become an epidemic in the U.S., claiming the lives of more than 60,000 Americans in 2016 — more than… Read More
by Ethan Barton Admitted drug addicts and dealers were among the hundreds of thousands of people and businesses the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) licensed to manufacture, distribute or prescribe pharmaceuticals over the past 12 years, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found. The agency stripped only 240 licenses… Read More
The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers filled in the U.S. fell dramatically last year — the biggest drop in 25 years. People in the U.S. consume roughly 30 percent of all opioids used worldwide. The Institute for Human Data Science, a health data firm, shared those figures Thursday, revealing… Read More
A conflict brewing between state and local prosecutors over a slew of lawsuits filed against drug manufacturers ended Thursday as Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery abruptly terminated any role his office might play in the legal actions by those jurisdictions seeking to recover costs associated to the opioid crisis. The… Read More
Opioids were found to have no benefit over non-opioid medications in relieving chronic pain, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday. The randomized clinical trial included 240 participants from Veteran Affairs primary care clinics who were seeking treatment for chronic pain… Read More
Emergency room visits from opioid overdoses spiked 30 percent from July 2016 to September 2017, the government said Tuesday in a sobering report that underscores the need for targeted resources and expanded treatment. Every corner of the U.S. saw an uptick due to the prescription painkiller and heroin scourge, led… Read More
American rocker Tom Petty died in October of an accidental drug overdose after taking a variety of medications for his ailments including a mix of opioid painkillers, his family and the Los Angeles county medical examiner said Friday. The autopsy report says the 66-year-old Petty had fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam and… Read More
Tennessee Speaker of the House and GOP gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) made news Friday afternoon when, during a fairly routine interview with Memphis Local 24 about her aspirations to be the next governor, she posited if marijuana is “a gift from God.” Harwell’s position about on marijuana has taken a major turn… Read More
Nashville Public Radio reports Tennessee’s medical community is in the midst of a major turnaround in the way they treat patients’ pain in response to the opioid addiction crisis gripping the nation: The big hospital chains based in Nashville are accepting some of the blame for the country’s opioid crisis,… Read More
The company last week launched an advertising campaign in national newspapers, Washington publications, and local papers in its home state of Connecticut. In a statement, Purdue said the ads were part of a broader “long-term initiative,” but declined to provide details about what else would be included beyond the advertisements.… Read More
As two Tennessee counties prepare lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that manufacture opioids, a third Tennessee local government appears poised to join the fray: Metropolitan Nashville Government. Tuesday’s Metro Nashville council meeting included a motion to reconsider a days-old resolution authorizing the Mayor to “employ the law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann… Read More
Smith County filed a lawsuit Tuesday against prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors. The lawsuit is an effort to recover taxpayer money spent to fight the opioid epidemic and defray costs to the Smith County community. Mark P. Chalos, of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, made the… Read More
The tragic death of Eric Bolling’s 19-year-old son was ruled an “accidental overdose that included opioids,” the former Fox News host said Thursday just hours after President Trump declared the national opioid crisis a public health emergency. The Boulder County coroner’s office in Colorado said Mr. Bolling’s son, Eric Chase… Read More
Bobby Jack Woods doesn’t have an easy job as sheriff of a Kentucky county plagued by drug abuse. What gets him through is his faith in God, reports Kentucky Today, a news outlet of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. A 37-year veteran Kentucky lawman, Woods serves Boyd County at the northeastern edge… Read More