Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

Sunbury News Staff Reports

Mike DeWine discusses the fight against opioid abuse with law enforcement backing him.

Mike DeWine discusses the fight against opioid abuse with law enforcement backing him.

DeWine details plan to fight epidemic at drugmakers’ expense

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine traveled around the state Oct. 30 through Nov. 1 providing details of his 12-point plan to combat the opioid epidemic and get drugmakers to pay for it.

“Recovery Ohio” calls for:

Legislation to give the governor the ability to declare a public health emergency.

A law enforcement data infrastructure to improve data sharing and analytics.

An expansion of drug task forces.

The creation of more drug courts.

More substance-use treatment options.

An increase in the number of critical specialists.

Ways to empower employers to help employees seek treatment while remaining employed.

Incentives to entice business owners to hire employees who are in recovery.

The creation of a cabinet-level position to oversee opioid programs.

The implementation of proven drug-prevention education in all grades and all schools.

The introduction of a statewide drug-prevention media campaign.

The expansion of early intervention programs for families and children involved in foster care.

The initiatives should be paid for by those chiefly responsible for the crisis, DeWine said. To correspond with the announcement, he sent a letter to Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva, Johnson & Johnson, and Allergan — the companies he filed suit against in May.

The lawsuit alleges that the drug companies violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, defrauded the state’s Medicaid and workers’ compensation systems, engaged in a pattern of corrupt activities, and created a public nuisance by disseminating false and misleading statements about the risks and benefits of opioids.

Those actions promoted the inappropriate prescribing and use of opioids and fueled the opioid epidemic.

The Attorney General gave the companies a deadline to come forward and begin settlement solutions.

“They must be held to account,” he said. “And I will do everything within my power to make them do that. They created this misery. They created this destruction, and I’m determined to bring them to justice by demanding they fund the extensive effort needed to clean up their mess.

“Despite making billions of dollars making these drugs, they have done comparatively little to help those with substance-use disorder or keep kids off drugs or correct the opioid overprescribing culture that they created. I’m mad. I think every Ohioan should be very mad. The more facts come out about what these drug companies have done, the more furious Ohioans will be.”

He also sent letters to drug distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen to urge them to pay their fair share.

If the companies fail to comply with the Attorney General’s request, he said he will escalate the matter “until we get their attention.”

Ohio AG ‘encouraged’ after start of opioid lawsuit talks

Attorney General Mike DeWine said during the start of settlement talks for more than 250 federal lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies and distributors over the nation’s opioid epidemic that he’s encouraged by the judge’s understanding of the problem and commitment to achieving a resolution.

February 11, 2018

Attorney General DeWine Statement on Purdue Pharma Announcement

COLUMBUS — Mike DeWine issued the following statement following Purdue Pharma’s announcement that the company intends to cease marketing opioids to doctors:

“Purdue Pharma‘s announcement that they will no longer send out sales reps to promote OxyContin to doctors is a victory for everyone. But, it’s too little, too late. It is a decision that should have been made years ago and should be now made by all other makers of opioid pain medications.

“Purdue Pharma and other makers of opioid pain medications fundamentally changed the prescribing culture of doctors in this country, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in economic costs. They have an obligation to now re-educate the American public and the medical community about the real dangers of these drugs. And, while we are happy they are stopping the lies, it is simply not enough to stop what they were doing. Purdue Pharma needs to actively work to undo the damage they have done. If they are truly serious about this, they could lead the way in cleaning up the mess they created and pay their fair share to fund desperately needed treatment, prevention education, naloxone, and expansion of the foster care system.

“Now is the time to step up to the plate, do what’s right, and take responsibility for their actions once and for all.”

Two Days in May

The Ohio Attorney General’s Two Days in May Awards recognize the outstanding services of individuals and/or organizations empowering victims of crime in Ohio. Individuals and/or programs of any public or private nonprofit organization, whose mission is to assist, protect, or empower victims of crime, are eligible for consideration.

The following awards will be presented at a luncheon during the Attorney General’s 2018 Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance on May 15, 2018.

  • Promising Practice Award
  • Robert Denton Special Achievement Award
  • Special Courage Award

Award nominations are being accepted now.

Nominations and Deadlines

Please submit your award nomination by completing the nomination form in its entirety. All entries must be received by the Attorney General’s Office by March 9, 2018. Each nomination form must be signed and dated by the person making the nomination. You may submit more than one nomination, but each nomination must be submitted using a separate nomination form. The nomination form may be duplicated.

Mike DeWine discusses the fight against opioid abuse with law enforcement backing him. DeWine discusses the fight against opioid abuse with law enforcement backing him.

Sunbury News Staff Reports