Updated November 23, 2021 at 8:23 PM ET

A federal jury on Tuesday found three of the nation's biggest pharmacy chains, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, liable for helping to fuel the U.S. opioid crisis — a decision that's expected to have legal repercussions as thousands of similar lawsuits move forward in courts across the country.

Erica Peterson

A Southern Indiana county is on pace to have one of its worst years ever for opioid overdoses.

Last week, the Clark County Health Department received two notifications from the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics, or ESSENCE. Health officer Dr. Eric Yazel said the system sends the notifications when a high number of overdoses are treated at local hospitals.

Between Aug. 22 and Aug. 26, 21 people came to Clark Memorial’s emergency department because of an overdose. Another notification was sent after 12 overdoses were treated in a little more than a day, from Aug. 25 to the early morning of Aug. 27.

Imagine you're part of a project that goes horribly wrong at work, causing a scandal, costing your company a ton of money, maybe even putting people at risk. Now imagine after that kind of performance your company rewards you with a raise and a bonus.

Critics say that's happening right now with CEOs at big drug and health care companies tangled up in the opioid crisis.

"When leadership fails ... the board of directors have to be willing to hold their executives accountable," said Shawn Wooden, Connecticut's state treasurer.

Addiction In The Pandemic: An Interview With A Member Of Narcotics Anonymous

Feb 3, 2021
NorthStar Online

Terrance D. is the father of two daughters and lives in Lexington. He’s a carpenter and owns a small construction company.

More than 15 years ago, Terrance walked into his first Narcotics Anonymous meeting at age 27. 

He spoke to the Ohio Valley ReSource about addiction, sobriety and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected him. He uses a pseudonym when speaking publicly about his involvement with Narcotic Anonymous.

Terrance first joined NA because he feared he would die from his addiction. 

“I started using socially as a kid in my early teens, and by the time it got into my 20s, it got worse and worse,” Terrance said. “And I had tried drugs that I never set out to try and did things that I never said I would do.”


NorthStar Online

Terrance D. has been sober for more than 15 years and Narcotics Anonymous has been a big part of his recovery. He uses a pseudonym when speaking publicly about addiction and his work with NA. 

Terrance said the bonds the group has formed are very important, and they were forged through regular social gatherings. 

“We recover in meetings together, we’ve raised our families together, our kids know one another,” he said. “We generally go to eat after meetings, or coffee or other things. We socialize together.”

But last March as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses and public places to close, the regular face-to-face contact that Terrance and his group depended on was gone.

“All that’s changed, and it was an abrupt change,” he said.


The Trump administration introduced new addiction treatment guidelines Thursday that give physicians more flexibility to prescribe a drug to patients struggling with opioid addiction.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Walmart on Tuesday, alleging that the retail giant unlawfully dispensed controlled substances from pharmacies it operated nationwide.

Updated at 12:14 p.m. ET

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday a global settlement of civil and criminal investigations into Purdue Pharma's aggressive marketing of opioid medications, including OxyContin.

Federal officials have long maintained Purdue's actions helped fuel a prescription opioid epidemic that has killed more than 232,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Substance Abuse Gainesville

Some drug and alcohol treatment centers in Kentucky are reporting an increase in demand for services since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early March. Megan Escamilla, the Clinical Director of Addiction Services at Lifeskills in Bowling Green, said the pandemic may have disrupted recovery routines for clients, but resources are still available.

"There are many resources available, and regardless if it's their first time in treatment or their tenth time in treatment.  The big thing to focus on is that they're in treatment and this may be the time to get those additional supports they need in order to maintain their recovery."                                                                

The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy recently reported a five-percent increase in drug overdose deaths in the state for 2019. Executive Director Van Ingram said COVID-19 is already impacting the numbers for 2020.

Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource

Emergency response data from across the Ohio Valley show sharp increases in suspected drug overdoses since March, when health measures including school and business closures and stay-at-home orders increased social isolation. For public health officials, it’s a grim reminder that another epidemic is ongoing and possibly worsening during the isolation associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Ohio, for example, saw emergency department visits related to suspected overdoses increase from 2,868 in April to 3,666 in May after nine months of those numbers declining.

Legal experts expected this to be the year we answered big questions about the liability that drug companies face for the deadly opioid epidemic and for their role in marketing high-risk prescription pain medications.

Instead, the legal fight over who will pay to clean up the addiction crisis dissolved into confusion and infighting.

"I don't know if there's a clear road map," said Adam Zimmerman, a professor at Loyola Law School and an expert in opioid litigation.

The Ohio River Valley has seen some of the largest jumps in mortality rates among people in midlife — those between ages 25 and 64 — in recent years.

Updated at 1:22 p.m. ET

The family that owns Purdue Pharma pulled billions of dollars from the company after introducing its signature opioid medication, OxyContin, growing personally wealthy as the heavily marketed drug took on a significant role in a nationwide addiction crisis.

People have been playing music together in the small Appalachian town of Hindman, Ky., since it was founded in the late 1800s. Today, one of the few businesses still open in the town is the Appalachian School of Luthiery, which teaches people how to build wooden stringed instruments. Now that school is playing a role in helping the local community overcome drug addiction.


Kentucky and other states will participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 26, and the Drug Enforcement Administration is expanding what it will accept to include vaping products.

Prescription Drug Take Back Day began a decade ago to allow households to safely discard of expired and unused prescription drugs anonymously to prevent theft or abuse. 

For the first time, the DEA-sponsored event will accept vaping pens and cartridges, although the DEA can't take devices containing lithium ion batteries.