With opioid use on the rise, and the “war on drugs” raging on, it’s not a surprise that pharmacies and other involved parties are beginning to be held responsible for the promotion of opioid prescriptions. As the research surfaces from nationwide task forces, we are beginning to get a clearer picture of the players responsible for this epidemic, be it the companies who make the pills, the doctors and medical professionals who prescribe them, or the pharmacies that fill the orders. All can agree, it is the clients who suffer.
In November of 2018, a shocking accusation was released by Former Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office that added CVS and Walgreens to the list of defendants that she argued were instrumental in the heightened promotion of opioid use in their communities. Although many are unaware of how these companies played a role in the opioid epidemic, CVS and Walgreens were both accused of having not only artificially creating a demand for opioids, but they were also found to have a supply that satisfied the unnatural demand as well, in some extreme cases having enough opioids on hand to supply an entire town’s population for six months.
Most recently, In April 2019, in what they are calling the single largest prescription opioid law enforcement operation in history, 60 individuals were charged for their role in the unlawful disbursement of 32 million opioids throughout the Appalachian region. Defendants include 31 doctors, 7 pharmacists, and 8 nurses, and indictments revealed that some individuals were exchanging the pills for sex, cash, and similar questionable practices.
The Demand for Opioids
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose, and around 68% of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid.
With the growing demand for opioids and the rising number of deaths associated with them, it is essential that companies that are caught breaking opioid laws or exhibiting suspicious behavior must be punished to prevent further abuse.
Justice for Floridians?
It is reported that Walgreens and CVS are the two largest distributors of opioids in Florida, and both companies have been repeatedly involved in illegal opioid activity throughout the years. In the past, both companies have been allowed to pay a fee as their penance, for Walgreens it was a total of $80 million to resolve allegations for ordering approximately ten times more opioids than the average for the state. This, in addition to admitting inferior record keeping methods in tracking opioid prescriptions.
Similarly, CVS has also paid millions on more than one occasion when being accused of falsifying opioid prescriptions in their pharmacies. However, the company has denied the current allegations and, along with Walgreens and other opioid distributors and manufacturers, will likely stand trial later in 2019.
The Future of Opioid Oversight
As opioid use continues to increase and companies consistently dodge legal actions by paying large sums of money, the issue continues to be a problem. All around the country, governments are cracking down on opioid prescriptions and have begun to rethink the way that opioids are distributed in pharmacies.
With at least three upcoming pharmaceutical lawsuits in 2019, there is a lot on the table when it comes to the future of opioids. The outcomes of these trials will shape the future of government policies and can either be extremely beneficial to residents of the state or work to undermine the already lenient pharmaceutical laws further. Many states are already at work to increase their oversight of opioid prescriptions, and this map provides a state-by-state glimpse into what is currently being done to combat this epidemic.
MD Home Detox supports the proper legislation of opioids and believes in a future without a dependency on addictive pharmaceuticals. Opioid use is damaging to the health of users and can create severe health problems when abused. If you or a loved one is looking for assistance with an opioid dependency, please contact us or Call us today at (888) 592-8541