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Kentucky sues San Francisco drug distributor over opioid crisis

Published On: 01-31-2018 in Category: Drug Abuse

Kentucky sues San Francisco drug distributor over opioid crisis

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear on Jan. 22, 2018, filed a lawsuit against San Francisco-based distributor McKesson Corporation for using deceptive tactics to downplay the addictive nature of opioid painkillers and flooding the state with huge quantities of the drugs. According to Beshear, the pharmaceutical distributor shipped over 18 million doses of addictive prescription opioids between 2010 and 2016 to Floyd County, whose population is just over 38,000.

“These numbers are glaringly obvious. No responsible company would have seen these numbers and think ‘all is well,’” Beshear said. “Our lawsuit alleges they knew exactly what they were doing. They knew they were flooding these communities with dangerous and addictive drugs, and we’ve paid the price,” added the attorney general.

Describing the allegations as baseless, McKesson spokeswoman Kristin Hunter Chasen insisted that her organization is simply a small part of the entire drug supply chain. Moreover, McKesson distributed prescription drugs only to pharmacies that are registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and licensed with the state, she said.

In November 2017, Beshear had sued Endo Pharmaceuticals for resorting to fraudulent misbranding of its opioid pain reliever Opana ER, which led to an unprecedented spike in lethal overdoses across the state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, Kentucky with 33.5 deaths per 100,000 was among the five states with the highest rates of fatality due to drug overdose. The other four states were West Virginia (52 per 100,000), Ohio (39.1), New Hampshire (39) and Pennsylvania (37.9).

Besides the dishonest marketing campaigns by drug manufacturing companies, experts hold doctors as well as pharmacists responsible for the current crisis as they have contributed to the epidemic by writing prescriptions for innumerable addictive opioids. The need of the hour is to ensure that health care professionals play a greater role in combating the misuse of painkillers by considering additional evidence-based screening techniques in the consultation process. Physicians can also help create awareness among patients about non-opioid pain management options.

Overcoming opioid addiction

Opioids are widely used to manage painful conditions. Prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin; and analgesics such as morphine and codeine; are known to numb intense pain signals targeting the brain by deactivating the neuron cell receptors. But the very neuron cell or opioid receptors that react to pain signals also control emotional impulses such as feelings of pleasure and cravings to get high. Such a correlation heightens the opioid user’s vulnerability to addiction.

The body of a chronic opioid user swiftly develops tolerance to the dopamine surges, producing long-term alterations in the brain’s reward system. Addiction to opioids or for that matter any drug can have an adverse impact, impairing almost all vital organs in the body. It could also interfere with a user’s decision-making ability and result in frequent cravings. This is why professional help is required to get rid of this destructive lifestyle and regain sobriety.

If you or your loved one is battling addiction to prescription opioids or any other substance, seek treatment immediately. The San Francisco Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can help you get the best addiction treatment programs and embrace sobriety. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 415-366-6922 for more information on different treatment options in your vicinity.

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