Attorney General Skrmetti’s Office Leads Negotiations That Reached $3.1 Billion Settlement with Walmart

On Tuesday, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti announced that he, along with 15 other state attorneys general, led negotiations on a $3.1 billion settlement with Walmart.

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Tennessee Officials Encourage Residents to Participate in Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is urging  Tennesseeans to get rid of their unneeded prescription medications later this week. 

“Whether it’s a recent surgery, dental procedure, or clearing out a home after the death of a loved one, there are so many situations where people have mass quantities of medications just sitting around.  Safe and secure disposal through Take Back Day events is just about the easiest way we all can have an impact on substance use and addiction in our communities,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “And with deadly doses of illicit fentanyl being pressed into counterfeit pills, there’s never been a more important time to take back your medications so that young people never begin experimenting with medications they find in the home.”

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Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Receives $3 Million Grant to Support Families and Children Affected by Opioid Addiction

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is receiving a $3,000,000 grant to support families and children affected by opioids or other substance abuse.

DMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams said, “When addiction hits a person, it impacts their whole family in ways that will be felt for years to come. We’ve seen time and time again that if a person can achieve recovery, they can unlock the door to being the parent they always wanted to be. We’re so grateful to our partners in this work, and we know that it will truly have a generational impact for hundreds of families.”

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Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted: Ohio Has Seen Decrease in Domestic Opioid Production and Distribution

Thursday, the Republican National Committee hosted a Zoom press call with Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted and congressional nominee Max Miller (OH-07) to discuss border security, the fentanyl crisis, and crime.

In speaking with Tricia McLaughlin Communications Director for Governor Mike DeWine and Husted, “The domestic supply of opioids from over prescribing pharma companies both production and distribution have largely ceased.”

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Tennessee Star Supreme Court Justice Series: Major Opinions by Justice Sharon Lee

As Tennesseans prepare to head to the polls on August 4, where they will vote on whether to retain the state’s five Supreme Court justices, The Tennessee Star has completed a profile on each justice currently sitting on the bench.

Last week, The Star profiled Justice Sharon Lee.

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Mastriano Announces Measure Toughening Penalties for Fentanyl Pushers in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) on Thursday announced he will soon introduce legislation to strengthen penalties for fentanyl pushers whose sales result in deadly overdoses. 

The senator is naming his measure “Tyler’s Law” after Tyler Shanafelter, an 18-year-old constituent who bought what he believed was Percocet but turned out to have acquired a fentanyl-laced product. The young man fatally overdosed. 

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DeSantis Signs Bill into Law Increasing Penalties for Illegally Selling, Distributing Opioids in Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that increases penalties for those who illegally sell and distribute opioids in Florida. It expands on a statewide strategy launched in 2019 to combat the opioid epidemic through education, treatment, prevention, recovery and law enforcement efforts.

“Floridians of all walks of life have witnessed the destruction caused by the opioid epidemic across our state,” DeSantis said. “While the Biden administration has failed to stop the flow of dangerous drugs, including fentanyl, across our southern border, we are taking action in Florida to lower both the demand and the supply of illicit and illegal drugs.”

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Cambria County Prosecutor: Difficulty Recruiting Police Is Fueling Pennsylvania Crime

FBI data currently indicate that Pennsylvania’s violent crime rate exceeds any other northeastern state’s, and a county prosecutor told state senators this week he attributes much of that reality to difficulty recruiting and retaining police officers.

Cambria County District Attorney Gregory Neugebauer testified before the Senate Republican Policy Committee alongside other law-enforcement professionals to illuminate what is driving up crime in the Keystone State and what can be done about it. The hearing, held at the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensberg, was the first of several the panel is hosting this week to address crime prevention in conjunction with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

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Ohio Attorney General’s Office Warns of New Deadly Synthetic Drug

Ohio’s top attorney this week is warning residents of a new class of designer drugs that are more deadly than fentanyl. 

“Frankenstein opioids are even more lethal than the drugs already responsible for so many overdose deaths,” Attorney General Dave Yost said in a press release. “Law enforcement and the public need to pay attention to these emerging hazards.” 

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Florida Begins Trial Against Walgreens, Last Holdout in Opioid Settlements

Jurors in Florida heard opening arguments Monday in the civil case against pharmacy chain Walgreens over its marketing and distribution of opiods.

The lawsuit was filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

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Columbus Giving Naloxone to Residents to Prevent Opioid Overdoses

Narcan nasal spray

In conjunction with Franklin County, the city of Columbus is inviting opioid-addicted residents to order free naloxone, also known as Narcan, to help them reverse overdoses.

“Narcan distribution is part of our comprehensive programming to address the addiction crisis – and it is highly effective,” Columbus’ Director of Communications Kelli Newman told The Ohio Star. “Last year, through the Columbus & Franklin County Addiction Plan, we provided 24,144 Narcan kits (48,244 doses) and conducted 624 community trainings. As a result of Narcan being dispensed by bystanders, friends and family members, there were 3,699 overdose reversals in our community last year. Simply put, Narcan saves lives.”

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Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Charged with Unlawfully Prescribing Opioids

A Tennessee nurse practitioner could face decades in prison after being arrested for illegally prescribing opioids at the Convenient Care Clinic in West Tennessee, which she owned and operated.

Kelly McCallum, a Dyersburg resident, allegedly dished out millions of opioid pills to patients of the clinic, even those with whom she shared a personal connection with.

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Arizona Attorney General Describes Cost of Biden Border Crisis

Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich joined “Fox News Live” Sunday to discuss the impact of the border crisis, which has drastically worsened since President Joe Biden took office. 

“We start talking about these numbers and we forget that there is human cost,” Brnovich said. “We know now that in places like Pima County, the second-largest county in Arizona that fentanyl and opioid deaths are the number one cause of people under 19 dying. More so than car accidents, and other causes.”

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Texas Congressman Calls for Impeachment of Biden over Immigration Policy

Texas Republican Congressman Chip Roy is calling for the impeachment of President Joe Biden and the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, citing their “reckless immigration policy” that many lawmakers argue is endangering the lives of Texans and Americans.

“Total encounters: 205,029. Total known getaways: 37,400. 1.3 million for 2021 so far. Largest monthly encounter number since 2000,” Roy tweeted.

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Michigan Could Get $800 Million from Opioid Settlement

Close up of white pills

Michigan could receive $800 million under a proposed multibillion-dollar national opioid settlement, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

The settlement would involve Johnson & Johnson and the three largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country: Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen.

The historic agreement would resolve the claims of state and local governments nationwide and require industry changes.

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Tennessee Attorney General Sues Food City for Profiteering on Unlawful Opioid Sales for 15 Years

According to Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, Food City unlawfully prescribed opioids solely for profit for well over a decade. Slatery asserted that the grocery chain violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, the public nuisance statute at three of its stores, and the common law by endangering public health.

The attorney general documented these alleged abuses in a complaint totaling just over 200 pages. Accusations included: ignoring or attenuating reports of suspicious prescribers, and fulfilling those prescriptions even after the prescribers were raided, disciplined, arrested, or indicted; selling the opioids to drug trafficking ring members; issuing a rewards card for frequent opioid buyers, making it more accessible and affordable to criminals; pressuring employees to increase opioid sales; illegally and secretly transferring opioids throughout the chain to subvert supplier thresholds; continuing the sale of opioids despite multiple instances of overdoses on property; and selling massive opioid quantities to individuals from foreign countries or far-away states.

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Tennessee State Senator Janice Bowling Talks About Her Bills Addressing Vaccine Mandates and Medical Cannabis

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee (R) State Senator Janice Bowling to the newsmakers line to talk about her proposed bills addressing vaccine mandates and medical cannabis.

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CEO Resigns, 23 Fired Amid Ohio Doctor’s Alleged Fentanyl Murders

  Mount Carmel Health System CEO Ed Lamb announced Thursday that he’s terminated the employment of 23 individuals and will resign at the end of the month after a former doctor was charged with 25 counts of murder. “This was a difficult decision, but one that is in the best…

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Ohio Man Gets Five Years for Intent to Distribute Enough Carfentanil to Kill 700 People

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…

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Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown Joins Bipartisan Group Introducing Bill Sanctioning China for Opioid Trafficking

Democratic Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown joined a bipartisan group of six Senators Thursday to introduce a bill that would sanction any country involved in the trafficking of illegal opioids into the United States. According to the U.S Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2018 National Drug Assessment, synthetic opioids,…

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Ohio Workers Injured on the Job Will No Longer Be Prescribed Oxycontin

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation voted Friday to no longer prescribe the powerful opioid Oxycontin to workers injured on the job. According to a Friday press release from the BWC, Chief Medical Officer Terry Welsh recommended that the drug be phased out of the organization’s formulary (a list of…

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Google Parent Company to Open Treatment Center in Dayton, Ohio

Alphabet Inc., the multinational conglomerate that both was established by and currently owns Google.com, has announced that they will be establishing an opioid treatment center in Dayton, Ohio. While this could be good news for a community that is still deeply in the midst of an opioid epidemic, the recent revelations about…

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There’s a New Product in the Fight Against Fentanyl Overdoses

by Amanda Hagstrom   America’s heroin and cocaine addicts are turning to test strips in the search to combat the increasing rate fatal, fentanyl-induced overdoses. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid potent enough to kill an adult male with just two milligrams, or land someone in the hospital if a fan…

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Congressman Mark Meadows Introduces Bill That Would Limit Opioid Prescriptions to Seven Days

Saying the American medical system is flooded with too many prescription painkillers, governors, lawmakers and health officials are trying to come up with ways to cut down on the amount of pills that reach the hands of patients. It’s part of the all-of-the-above strategy to combat the opioid epidemic, joining…

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Shelby County Commission Sues Pharmaceutical Companies Over Illegal ‘Opioid Abuse’

Tennessee Star

The Shelby County Commission and Shelby County sued several pharmaceutical companies in Shelby County Circuit Court on Thursday, alleging illegal abuse in their manufacture, sale, and distribution of opioids. “It’s not just the drug companies. It’s also the distributors, including pharmacies and the doctors writing the prescription that are being…

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Commentary: To Solve the U.S. Opioid Crisis, Start by Treating Cultural Disease First

by Jeffrey A. Rendall   Sometimes the solution to a crisis is so obvious that we feel foolish when failing to immediately recognize it. And sometimes it’s not so plain. Such is the case for the opioid epidemic in America. For those in need of explanation, “opioid” means “naturally occurring…

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