drugs

Oleg Dudko - 123rf Stock Photo

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday that he is working with attorneys general from across the country to investigate whether drug manufacturers contributed to the opioid epidemic “by illegally marketing and selling opioids,” according to his office.

The state of Ohio has sued five major drug manufacturers for their role in the opioid epidemic. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, state Attorney General Mike DeWine alleges these five companies "helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio."

Named in the suit are:

  • Purdue Pharma
  • Endo Health Solutions
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon
  • Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Ashton Marra, WVPB, cropped

Trump administration officials have been visiting parts of the country affected by the opioid addiction crisis, including the Ohio Valley region. The administration called it a “listening tour,” and they got an earful in events marked by protests and controversies.

The number of new Hepatitis C cases leaped nearly 300 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the CDC points to the likely culprit behind the spike in cases of the infectious disease: the use of heroin and other injection drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration is under pressure from the Trump administration to approve drugs faster, but researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that nearly a third of those approved from 2001 through 2010 had major safety issues years after the medications were made widely available to patients.

A man named Eddie threads through the mid-afternoon crowd in Cambridge, Mass. He's headed for a sandwich shop, the first stop on a tour of public bathrooms.

"I know all the bathrooms that I can and can't get high in," says Eddie, 39, pausing in front of the shop's plate glass windows, through which we can see a bathroom door.

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley’s addiction crisis has brought another health problem, as rising numbers of needle drug users are contracting a serious form of heart infection called endocarditis. The rate of endocarditis doubled in the region over a decade, and many patients require repeated, expensive treatment and surgery as they return to drug use and once again become infected.

As I stood up to end our visit, Frank indicated he had one more question.

"You know those commercials for Cialis?" he asked. "Would that be all right for me to try?"

Here we go with the bathtubs again, I think to myself. Toned silver-hairs in side-by-side bathtubs on a deck somewhere looking out at the sunset.

Give me a break.

It's not always drugs for erectile dysfunction. I've been asked about TV spots hawking pharmaceuticals for nail fungus, depression, acid reflux, cholesterol and irritable bowels, just to name a few.

Nearly 1.5 million Americans were treated for addiction to prescription opioids or heroin in 2015, according to federal estimates, and when those people get seriously hurt or need surgery, it's often not clear, even to many doctors, how to safely manage their pain. For some former addicts, what begins as pain relief ends in tragedy.

Kentucky State Police

Kentucky State Police seized 75 pounds of high-grade marijuana in a traffic stop Tuesday in Lyon County. 

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