drug overdoses

Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

A case that could signal the outcome of a flood of litigation against opioid drug manufacturers begins May 28th in Oklahoma.  

The bench trial is poised to be the first of its kind to play out in court.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s suit alleges Johnson and Johnson and Teva pharmaceuticals helped ignite a public health crisis that has killed thousands of state residents.

Federal prosecutors late Tuesday charged British drugmaker Indivior with felony fraud and conspiracy for its marketing of opioid products including Suboxone. The company allegedly created a "nationwide scheme" in the U.S. designed to convince doctors and government insurance providers that Indivior's patented opioid medications are safer and less prone to abuse than cheaper generic alternatives.

Consumers, lawmakers and industry players all seem to agree that prescription drugs prices are too high. What they can't always agree on is whom to blame.

On Tuesday, though, fingers are expected to point toward pharmacy benefit managers, the industry's mysterious middlemen.

The Senate Finance Committee will hear from executives from the biggest pharmacy benefit managers, led by CVS Caremark and Cigna's Express Scripts.

Purdue Pharma settled with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million earlier this month for its role in the opioid epidemic. Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson takes a look back at how class action lawsuits have sparked industry change in the United States with historians Nathan Connolly (@ndbconnolly) and

A week after winning a $270 million settlement against Purdue Pharma, Oklahoma is dropping a laundry list of civil claims against drug companies at the center of the national opioid epidemic. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said the move would "refocus" the lawsuit slated to go to trial May 28.

Updated at 3:20 p.m.

The first of more than 1,600 lawsuits pending against Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid OxyContin, has been settled.

The drugmaker has agreed to pay $270 million to fund addiction research and treatment in Oklahoma and pay legal fees.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed suit two years ago alleging Purdue helped ignite the opioid crisis with aggressive marketing of the blockbuster drug OxyContin and deceptive claims that downplayed the dangers of addiction.

America's big drugmakers and pharmacy chains are scrambling to respond to hundreds of lawsuits tied to the deadly opioid epidemic. Billions of dollars are at stake if the companies are found liable for fueling the crisis.

Even before judgments are rendered, companies like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and CVS are already suffering damage to their reputations as evidence in civil suits reveals more about their internal workings.

Oklahoma has been making progress in fighting the opioid epidemic. But there's still a lot of work to be done.

When he was police chief of Stanwood, Wash., population 7,000, Ty Trenary thought rural communities like his were immune from the opioid crisis.

Then, one day, a mother walked through his door and said, "Chief, you have a heroin problem in your community."

"And I remember thinking, 'Well that's not possible,' " Trenary recalls. "This is Stanwood and heroin is in big cities with homeless populations. It's not in rural America."

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