ShareThis Page
Editorials

Trib editorial: Justice ramps up in opioid crisis

| Sunday, March 4, 2018, 9:00 p.m.

Westmoreland County's lawsuit against U.S. drug manufacturers, aimed at recouping public money spent as a result of the opioid epidemic, could gain a potent dose of federal muscle.

The Department of Justice has announced that it will support what's shaping up to be enormous litigation brought by hundreds of cities and municipalities against opioid producers and distributors to recoup losses attributed to deceptive marketing practices. A multi-district lawsuit could well mirror the multibillion-dollar litigation filed against Big Tobacco.

The announcement followed Justice's unveiling of a new task force that will focus federal scrutiny on opioid producers, which may have acted negligently or criminally in the production and marketing of highly addictive drugs, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

Both announcements follow a Senate report that major manufacturers of opioids paid approximately $9 million to advocacy groups to encourage opioid-drug prescriptions, such as for oxycodone, without due attention to their addictive nature. The new Justice task force will focus on Big Pharma along with smaller so-called “pill mills.” Last December the federal Drug Enforcement Administration seized almost 500,000 pills in a single operation.

Almost 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, the latest year with complete data. By some accounts, the roots of the current crisis date back 20 years. Increased federal scrutiny and engagement is encouraging. Sadly, it's also long overdue.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me