Opioid overdose deaths

Varying opioid dosage increases overdose risk

While tapering patients taking prescription opioids off of the medication is associated with a lower risk of overdose if the patient stops taking the drug, it can also lead to increased risks of overdose if it leads to the patient switching up dosages, according to a new JAMA study.

Why it matters: This is yet another obstacle to solving the opioid epidemic, and shows how the best intentions can be dangerous: Even trying to get patients to quit taking legal opioids can backfire and lead to overdose.

Why Purdue's opioids settlement matters

OxyContin pills. Photo: Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, was willing to pay handsomely to avoid a high-profile, televised trial over the company's role in the opioid crisis.

The big question: How much more is Purdue willing to pay to settle the 1,600 other lawsuits that have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio?