Drug Overdose Deaths Continue To Soar


Publish Date:
December 15, 2017
  • Sternberg, Steve
U.S. News & World Report
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The nation’s opioid epidemic continues to spiral out of control, with synthetic opiates such as fentanyl continuing to drive the death toll higher, the latest government statistics show.

At least 66,324 people died of drug overdoses during the 12-month period ending in May 2017, up 17 percent from the 56,488 who died between May 2015 and May 2016, according to data released this week by the National Center for Health Statistics.

One remedy that shows promise are lawsuits brought against opioid producers and distributors by persons injured by opioids and by federal, state and local governments and Native American tribes, report Rebecca Haffajee of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor and Michelle Mello of Stanford University Law School. A class action lawsuit filed against Purdue Pharma in Canada by patients who were prescribed, and took, OxyContin and controlled-release oxycodone may soon be settled for $20 million, if all involved provinces agree. The Canadian plaintiffs’ allegations are similar to those in many U.S. cases, the authors say.

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