Making the Victim Whole Again? State and Local Governments Seek to Hold Drug Companies Accountable for Holes Left in their Communities and Budgets

Michael Kilpatrick Morton, Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau Carson City, NV

It is nearly impossible to avoid stories and statistics on the opioid epidemic that has affected large segments of the United States population in recent years. In October 2016, a special edition of this publication dedicated to the opioid epidemic detailed various legislative actions taken by states to stem the tide of opioid-related deaths.1 Since then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its statistics on opioid-involved overdose deaths. According to the CDC, death rates involving heroin and certain synthetic opioids have generally increased; from 2014 to 2015, the death rate for opioid-involved overdoses increased by 15.6 percent.2 Additionally, on October 26, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consider declaring the opioid epidemic a Public Health Emergency, and to use the authority that is granted to the Secretary during such an emergency to reduce the number of opioid-related deaths occurring in the United States.3

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