41 state attorneys general subpoena opioid manufacturers, distributors

STATE OF ADDICTION: Kentucky joins states asking insurance companies to fight opioid epidemic

STATE OF ADDICTION: Kentucky joins states asking insurance companies to fight opioid epidemic

Alabama's Steve Marshall is part of that effort.

Beyond seeking documents from the manufacturers, authorities are also investigating the distribution practices of McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, who, according to Healey, collectively manage roughly 90 percent of the nation's opioid distribution.

Attorneys general from 37 states are urging insurers to alter their coverage policies to prioritize non-opioid pain medications over opioids for the treatment of chronic pain not related to cancer.

Allergan said Tuesday that "While we work proactively with (state attorneys general) offices to provide information, it is important to put into perspective Allergan's role regarding opioids".

A state drug task force recently reported the number of opioid deaths in Wisconsin has gone from about 50 in 1999 to close to 400 in 2015.

"For millions of Americans, their addiction did not begin in a back alley with a tourniquet and a syringe".

Kentucky's Andy Beshear, a Democrat, said the number of overdoses might not fall quickly if companies follow the requests, but said it could help prevent more people from becoming addicted in the future.

"We lost over 1,100 Virginians to the opioid crisis just previous year, and everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to ensure we don't lose another life to this devastating epidemic", said Attorney General Mark Herring. In 2015, more than 52,000 people across the country died from drug overdoses - more than from vehicle crashes or shootings. New Yorkers whose families have been torn apart by the opioid crisis deserve to know if the industry put its bottom line ahead of patient safety. In Vermont, there were 106 opioid related deaths past year, a record high.

Many of those deaths involve an opioid, either a legally prescribed narcotic or an illicit drug like heroin or fentanyl.

More than 60 local and state governments have filed, announced or publicly considered lawsuits against drug makers or distributors. A large, bipartisan coalition of states' chief legal officers are now pooling resources to address the most pressing public health crisis affecting the country, and doing so with a broad focus on multiple entities at both the manufacturer and distributor levels. "In 2016, SC ranked ninth in the nation in opioid prescribing rates".

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