Oct 21, 2019

The opioid epidemic's kids crisis in West Virginia

A baby boy is monitored for opioid withdrawal inside a Charleston, W.Va. hospital. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The opioid epidemic has left thousands of West Virginian children neglected, abused or in foster care, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: "West Virginia's journey provides a case study in how legal battles against drug companies can fail to balance the scales, leaving behind more conflict than resolution in communities still reeling from the crisis," the Post writes.

By the numbers: The state has settled 4 lawsuits for a total of $94 million — a small sum in light of recent settlement agreements.

  • But the state's child welfare problem has only deepened. Almost 6,900 children are in foster care — double the number from a decade ago. An estimated 80% have been affected by the drug crisis.
  • Counties with higher rates of opioid overdose deaths also tend to have more child abuse and neglect cases.

The bottom line: The situation is dire. The Post reports that for more than a decade, foster homes and emergency shelters have faced bed shortages.

Go deeper: The opioid epidemic will cost the U.S. as much as $214 billion in 2019

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The massive opioids lawsuit is unlikely to be resolved soon

Oxycodone. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A settlement resolving all of the pending lawsuits over the opioid crisis is "unlikely in the near term," according to state attorneys general and attorneys involved in the litigation brought by communities, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: That means that it could be a long time before places still plagued by the opioid epidemic receive substantial new funding to address it.

Go deeperArrowOct 31, 2019

Major drug companies reach $260 million settlement in federal opioid trial

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Drug distributors McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, an Israeli-based manufacturer of generic drugs, reached a $260 million settlement on Monday to avoid the first federal opioid trial that was set to begin in Cleveland, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: People familiar with the discussions told the New York Times that a broader settlement to resolve thousands of cases brought by local governments and states could be announced later in the day.

Go deeperArrowOct 21, 2019

Walgreens' outsized role in the opioid epidemic

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Walgreens handled nearly one in five oxycodone and hydrocodone pills that were shipped to pharmacies between 2006 and 2012, as the opioid epidemic worsened, the Washington Post reports.

Between the lines: Walgreens is one of the companies being sued by thousands of communities across the country in federal court.

Go deeperArrowNov 8, 2019