San Francisco Mayor London Breed, whose early and robust moves to contain the coronavirus made the city something of a national model, is now urgently trying to confront another public health crisis — drug overdoses and disorder in a long-challenged neighborhood in the city known as the Tenderloin.
Over the past two years, the city has seen more than 1,360 drug overdose fatalities — more than double the total COVID-19 deaths there. The majority of those deaths were in the Tenderloin and neighboring SOMA district, city data show.
“What’s so important is that we have solutions, and we don’t just say, ‘We don’t like it, we don’t want to see it,’ ” Breed tells NPR. “This is about trying to help people, and that’s exactly what we’re going to keep fighting for.”
Breed announced an “emergency declaration” for the area last month saying drug deaths, open-air drug dealing, street chaos and violence there had gotten “totally out of control.” She vowed “tough love” for those who break the law and expanded access to help for those with alcohol and substance use disorders.
The declaration allowed the city to fast-track the creation of a “linkage center” that recently opened. It’s a walk-in one-stop shop for expanded city services, such as drug, alcohol and mental health services, as well as homeless support that includes possibly a shelter bed and eventually permanent housing. At least, that’s the hope.
Breed says she has no illusions that the new linkage center will quickly transform the Tenderloin. But she hopes it offers a new lifeline that meets people where they are.
“The fact is people who struggle with addiction, it’s not as easy as they’re just going to walk through the door and ask for help or we can’t force them into treatment,” she says. “Part of the goal is to make sure that they know that there’s a place where they won’t be judged, and when they’re ready for help or assistance, they can get help or assistance.”
Inequality and other social challenges in the Tenderloin are tough to fix
The Tenderloin’s problems — homelessness, poverty, substance abuse and crime — have plagued the area for decades. And it’s become even more a kind of containment zone for those challenges amid the steady rise of Bay Area tech wealth and its staggering inequality.
But the pandemic’s dislocation mixed with the spread of a dangerously powerful synthetic opioid have recently made things here even worse.
The pandemic has revealed the power of Big Pharma. Major drug manufacturers and suppliers have the power to set prices, influence regulators and lobby lawmakers. This power has allowed big pharma to push potentially dangerous drugs, such as opioids in the 1990’s and 2000’s. How? Palki Sharma tells you.
San Mateo County files lawsuit against McKinsey & Company, alleging that the consulting firm helped push opioid sales in the county.
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP, the law firm representing the county, alleges that McKinsey helped opioid manufacturers increase drug sales by serving as marketing advisor to companies like Purdue Pharma. Purdue Pharma makes OxyContin, a prescription pain medication commonly involved in opioid overdose deaths.
The lawsuit also claims that McKinsey helped Purdue protect its public image and helped suppress negative press from the families of overdose victims.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in 2017 amid a rise in opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2019, more than 70 percent of drug overdose deaths nationwide involved an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In San Mateo County, the number of deaths from opioids has steadily increased in recent years. County data shows that in 2015, there were 60 drug-induced deaths, with about 20 directly tied to opioid use. Doctors wrote nearly 350,000 opioid prescriptions in the county that year.
In the next two years, the number of drug and opioid-related deaths increased countywide and county health officials estimate that thousands of residents are dependent on opioids.
Purdue Pharma has already faced scrutiny and pleaded guilty in 2020 to criminal charges related to its role in the opioid crisis.
The county’s complaint against McKinsey, dated Tuesday, states that “McKinsey knew of the dangers of opioids, and of Purdue’s misconduct, but nonetheless advised and encouraged Purdue to improperly market and sell OxyContin.”
Dealing with the epidemic has also cost the county millions of dollars for expenses related to drug treatment, emergency room visits, law enforcement and social services such as helping children whose parents are addicted to opioids.
San Mateo County Counsel John Beiers said, “This lawsuit is a continuation of our efforts to pursue the corporate bad actors who have caused the opioid epidemic.”
“Mighty Ducks” star Shaun Weiss is making strides in his recovery. The former actor graduated from a drug court program this week in California, the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office announced.
The graduation also means Weiss’s burglary case in the county has been dismissed. He was arrested in Marysville, Calif., last January for breaking into a person’s garage and gaining entry into their car.
The accomplishment follows a turbulent period for Weiss, who in recent years has faced a number of hurdles amid a struggle with addiction. He first entered into the Yuba County Drug Court program on March 3, 2020.
‘MIGHTY DUCKS’ STAR SHAUN WEISS SOBER FOR OVER 200 DAYS, SHOWS OFF TRANSFORMATION WITH NEW TEETH
The Yuba County DA’s Office praised him for his recovery in statements shared to agency’s Facebook account.
“Shaun demonstrated perseverance during his recovery complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He had to move treatment and transitional living programs on several occasions. He underwent dental reconstructive surgery, and had a close family member suffer a serious accident during his treatment,” the agency wrote in a statement.
“Shaun regained employment and has been traveling across the country making guest appearances and signing autographs. He received tremendous support from friends and fans of the character, Goldberg, he played in the 1992 hit ‘The Mighty Ducks,'” the statement continues.
Photos that were released of the actor last fall showed a much happier and healthier Weiss. In honor of reaching his 200 days of sobriety in September, a close friend named Drew Gallagher shared a photo of Weiss, then 42, looking virtually unrecognizable as compared to his mug shot stemming from an arrest in January. He showed off his brand new set of teeth in the pic.
‘MIGHTY DUCKS’ STAR SHAUN WEISS APPEARS HEALTHIER IN NEW PIC, PAL SAYS HE’S ‘THRIVING’ IN REHAB
“Weiss is thriving. His face and mouth feels like ‘tenderized meat’ as he recovers from each oral surgery, but he is feeling blessed to be getting a new set of permanent teeth. His progress has been smooth and steady and he is well over 225 days sober. More pics and video soon,” Gallagher wrote on Facebook.
States unveiled a historic $26 billion settlement with drug companies to resolve thousands of opioid-crisis lawsuits, paving the way for communities across the country to secure a jolt of funding to address an epidemic in painkiller addiction that hasn’t abated.
The nation’s three largest drug distributors—McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp., and Cardinal Health Inc.—and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson have been negotiating the deal for more than two years, but Wednesday’s announcement signifies an important milestone that could clear the way for money to be received by states as soon as early next year.
States can’t use the money to fill general budget holes, as they did after a $206 billion deal with tobacco companies in the 1990s. Instead, the majority must be spent on social services to address the harms of opioid addiction, like treatment programs, education on how to dispose of pills and needles, and bolstered funds for first responders. One community may use it to help a large problem of addiction in the homeless population, while another may be more focused on opioid-addicted babies.
“It won’t be used to fill potholes, or build libraries, or balance budgets,” said Paul Geller, a plaintiffs’ lawyer representing several cities and counties involved in the deal.
Individuals and families who have been affected by opioid abuse won’t receive any money directly.
An opioid crisis that has claimed half a million lives in the U.S. has triggered more than 3,000 lawsuits filed by states, local governments, Native American tribes, hospital groups and others against players in the pharmaceutical industry. The lawsuits allege drugmakers pushed their painkillers for uses far beyond what was medically necessary and that distributors and pharmacies didn’t do enough to halt masses of pills from flowing into communities.
D rug addiction got worse during the pandemic, with opioid overdose deaths up about 37% in 2020 from the prior year, according to government data.
The companies pushed back, saying they made and distributed a medically necessary and federally regulated product. But at the same time, the burdens of litigation—like turning over millions of internal documents, making employees available for depositions, and preparing for complex trials that could air embarrassing details—has sent many of the companies to the negotiating table.
The attorneys general from Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana, Delaware and Connecticut jointly announced the completed deal Wednesday, which had been rumored earlier this week.
Read Original Article about $26 Billion Settlement on Apple News
Opioid Business has ended for Johnson and Johnson after a settlement has been reached with New York State
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $230 million settlement with New York state that bars the company from promoting opioids and confirmed it has ended distribution of such products within the United States.
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office in a statement Saturday said the agreement bans J&J from promoting opioids through any means and prohibits lobbying about such products at the federal, state or local levels.
Johnson & Johnson has not marketed opioids in the U.S. since 2015 and fully discontinued the business in 2020.
As part of the settlement, the company will resolve opioids-related claims and allocate payments over nine years. It could also pay $30 million more in the first year if the state executive chamber signs into law new legislation creating an opioid settlement fund, according to the press release from James’ office.
The settlement follows years of lawsuits by states, cities and counties against major pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis, which has killed nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. in the last couple decades.
Governments have argued that companies over-prescribed the drugs, causing people to become addicted and abuse other illegal forms of opioids, while companies have said they’ve distributed the necessary amount of the product to help people with medical issues.
“The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on countless communities across New York state and the rest of the nation, leaving millions still addicted to dangerous and deadly opioids,” James said in a statement.
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DMX, the raspy-voiced US hip-hop artist who produced the songs Ruff Ryders’ Anthem and Party Up (Up in Here) and who rapped with a trademark delivery that was often paired with growls, barks and “What!” as an ad-lib, has died, according to a statement from his family. American Rapper Earl Simmons, also known as DMX dies at the age of 50.
The influential rapper’s death was announced on Friday (April 9) after reportedly suffering an overdose that resulted in a heart attack on April 2.
The legendary rapper’s team in a press statement on Friday, said: “We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50-years-old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days. Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end.
“He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever. We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time.
“Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.”
Source – DMX dies at 50: Newswire NGR