Pittsburgh, Allegheny County to hire law firm to study suing opioid makers


Allegheny County has hired a South Carolina law firm to explore whether the county should file a lawsuit against prescription opioid manufacturers, distributors and prescribers to recoup public money spent as a result of the opioid crisis.

The city of Pittsburgh also plans to hire the firm for the same purpose, pending City Council approval, officials said Tuesday.

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Allegheny County, Pittsburgh hire firm for likely opioid court fight


County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is taking executive action to enter into a contract with the national plaintiffs’ firm Motley Rice, whose co-founder, Joe Rice, is among the lead counsel guiding hundreds of opioid-related lawsuits in federal court in Cleveland. Mayor Bill Peduto plans to send to city council legislation to do the same.

Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh plan to sign on with one of the law firms at the center of massive litigation against companies that made or distributed opioids, officials announced Tuesday.

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Researchers say data offers hope in the opioid epidemic


A typical day in Allegheny County sees two fatal overdoses, and Eric Hulsey would very much like to know where and when — in advance.

He’s not there yet. But the manager of behavioral health analytics at the county Department of Human Services has spent much of the past year combing through data on 910 fatal overdoses.

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ODing Pa. mom accused of endangering child, 5

PENNLIVE | 2.26.18

More and more alleged heroin addicts who are also parents could be facing charges for endangering their children.

Case in point is a 29-year-old mother in western Pennsylvania who is now facing charges after allegedly overdosing last month, passing out and exposing her 5-year-old son to a syringe.

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The cost of the opioid epidemic: Nation spends billions

THE TIMES ONLINE | 2.25.2018

It’s an epidemic that has killed 184 Beaver County residents in the past two years.

At least 1,300 people have overdosed on drugs, predominantly fentanyl, since January 2016. It’s a crisis that has left state and local leaders scrambling to figure out a solution.

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IBX to provide Narcan to subscribers for no charge

THE INQUIRER | 02.20.2018

Independence Blue Cross will make naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, available to its subscribers for no charge, the insurance giant announced on Tuesday. The medication, known best by the brand-name Narcan, is credited with saving thousands of lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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Panel discussion on ending drug addiction scheduled Thursday

THE TIMES TRIBUNE | 02.19.2018

SCRANTON — Top area officials and advocates fighting opioid drug addiction will host an educational panel on addiction as a disease this week.

The Scranton-based Forever Sammi Foundation is hosting Family Night on the Disease of Addiction from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the Ice Box Complex, 3 Olive St., Scranton.

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Could a simple vaccine end heroin addiction? Narcan’s inventor says yes

PENNLIVE | 02.15.2018

It sounds too good to be true: A vaccine that would inoculate people against becoming addicted to heroin.

But the drug company that invented the Narcan-branded naloxone nasal spray that is saving the lives of thousands of opioid overdose victims believes such a game-changing vaccine is not only possible – but in development in its drug pipeline.

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Opioid prescriptions drop in Allegheny, Westmoreland counties but numbers remain high

TribLIVE | 02.12.2018

Opioid prescriptions in both Allegheny and Westmoreland counties have decreased over the past year.

But Allegheny County physicians still write enough prescriptions quarterly to medicate each resident of Pittsburgh, and those in Westmoreland could medicate one-fourth of the county, according to data recently released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

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Recovery houses offer path to sobriety


The rules are strict for recovering addicts seeking a safe place for sober living at Murphy House in Washington.

Drugs and alcohol are obviously off-limits, but the men who live here also have mandatory chores, and they must attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings – one a day for the first 90 days they take a bed in the house on Houston Street, said house manager Patrick Arena.

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Gov. Wolf steps up efforts to curb opioid crisis

READING EAGLE | 1.30.2018

HARRISBURG – About 1,300 full-body scans of criminal offenders entering the Wernersville Community Corrections Center have been conducted in the past two weeks in just one aspect of a stepped-up Wolf administration push to curb the opioid drug overdose crisis.

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PA opioid command center up and running


Three weeks into Gov. Tom Wolf’s declaration that the opioid crisis is a disaster emergency, a new Opioid Operations Command Center is up and running, and the administration is pushing for new legislation.

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Prescription Bill Slows Opioid Flow


The state Senate unanimously has passed a bill that would help to heal some of the damage caused by Rep. Tom Marino’s bill diminishing the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration to reduce the flow of powerful prescription opioid painkillers onto the black market.

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Focus on Women as Opioid-Related Hospital Stays, ER Visits Surge


There’s a startling new snapshot of the nation’s opioid epidemic. In just a decade, the rate of people hospitalized because of pain relievers and heroin rose 64 percent, while the rate of opioid-related emergency room visits almost doubled, according to a report released Tuesday.

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More Data Needed in Fight Against Opioids Use, Experts Say


WASHINGTON — The numbers are staggering, and yet Donald S. Burke wants more of them.

He believes good data is essential in fighting the opioid crisis that is growing exponentially across the country — and nowhere faster than the Appalachian region that includes Western Pennsylvania.

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Overdose Survivors in the ER: Seizing Opportunity within Tragedy


Hospital emergency rooms (ER) across the state are working to realize the potential for opportunity within the tragedy of Pennsylvania’s opioid epidemic. While caring for overdose survivors rescued from death, ERs are working to foster connections that could help those patients recover their lives.

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Philadelphia to Mull Safe Injection Sites in Opioid Fight

ASSOCIATED PRESS | BY KRISTEN DE GROOT | 5.19.17 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A task force charged with outlining ways for Philadelphia to combat its opioid epidemic has recommended the city consider allowing safe sites, where drug users could inject heroin. Gov. Tom Wolf was...

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Pa. House expands addiction measures

ALTOONA MIRROR | BY CARLEY MOSSBROOK | 4.21.17 Lawmakers say they hope legislation will increase constituents’ treatment options HARRISBURG — As the opioid and heroin crisis continues across the commonwealth, House Health Committee members on Wednesday unanimously...

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Act now: Lawmakers Still Have Time to Address Opioid Crisis


State lawmakers should use the few remaining days in the legislative calendar to pass new laws aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic. In a rare address Wednesday to a joint session of the General Assembly, Gov. Tom Wolf stressed the possibility of accomplishing much if members from both chambers and parties roll up their sleeves and commit to getting the job done. He was spot on. Delay means more lives lost.

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