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FRANKFORT, Ky. — After a 3 1/2 year legal battle, secret records about Purdue Pharma’s marketing of its potent opioid painkiller OxyContin will finally be made public. The Kentucky Supreme Court denied a request from Purdue to review lower courts’ decisions to release the documents, according to a one-page order received Monday by the lawyers in the case.

The decision is a major victory for STAT, which first filed a motion to unseal the records in March 2016. Purdue has fought to keep the documents out of view, but the Supreme Court’s refusal is final and can’t be appealed.

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  • There is likely to be more news from Reporter Joseph on related topics, but the locale for this report may have the most impact. Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia were the founding centers of a 20-year narcotic epidemic, while the evil practices of Perdue Pharma later spread into dozens of states.

    *** Andrew Joseph, Stat News, Documents reveal Purdue’s marketing of OxyContin, Boston Globe, January 15, 2019

    *** Joshua Miller, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sues opioid maker Purdue Pharma, Boston Globe, June 12, 2018

    Globe reporter Freyer recently reported some news of improvement in Massachusetts, even if it only reflects stemming the growth of a narcotics epidemic.

    *** Felice J. Freyer, Opioid-related deaths decline in Massachusetts, Boston Globe, August 21, 2019

    Reporter Freyer’s points about the death rates from narcotics could have carried more clearly if illustrated from the state report for which her article carries a link to an index page —

    *** Opioid-related overdose deaths among Massachusetts residents, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, August, 2019 [PDF, 4 pp]

    Figure 2 shows a trend, charting death rates by years from 2000 through 2018. A threefold increase occurred during the five years 2012-2016, then it stopped. As Reporter Freyer suggests, that may have resulted from growing distribution of naloxone rescue kits.

    Other states have not yet achieved comparable results. On the basis of annual deaths per million residents from narcotic overdoses, West Virginia is clearly worse off than Massachusetts and has not begun to turn around.

    *** West Virginia opioid summary, U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, March, 2019

    The disaster in West Virginia began in 2001, driven by abuses in prescription narcotics. Similar abuses began in Massachusetts around the same time, but here the impacts were smaller, and the state response was swifter and more effective.

    In Massachusetts, the annual death rate from prescription narcotics peaked at about 45 per million residents in 2006 and has declined since. In West Virginia, the corresponding rate was about 150 per million in 2006 and continued to rise, reaching about 300 in 2011.

    Starting in 2017, Massachusetts stopped the growth in the annual death rate from fentanyl and other super-strong synthetics, at about 240 per million residents. In West Virginia the corresponding rate reached about 340 per million in 2017 and is still rising rapidly.

  • Will you fight for transparency in the lead up to the 2016 ‘misapplied’ CDC guidelines that have served as the springboard for BigLaw to seek BigTobacco sized settlements not for any individual who went to a pill-mill twelve years ago but for state budget padding and huge fees for attorneys? Will you demand to find out what went on with the Federal Advisory Committee laws when the CDC assembled PROP/Kolodny/Jane Ballantyne and their conflicts of interest in consulting with said law firms? Will you be demanding transparency of the REAL numbers of suicides of people thrown off their medication and then thrown out of their doctors offices, medical refugees with no doctor and no care left to suffer and deteriorate in isolation, and the resulting costs of casting aside a large number of formerly managed patients? Will you demand the VA release the correct stats on Veteran suicides that were a direct result of pain care denial? Will you report on disability claims resulting from once functional people with managed painful diseases and conditions who can no longer work, who can no longer leave their homes, who have lost their homes, families, lost everything? Will you demand accurate overdose statistics and separate the overwhelming number of illegal street drug deaths from those who took their medications as prescribed for legitimate needs and suddenly died from their own prescriptions? Not stolen meds, not misused meds, not street bought meds but actual real patients? Will you demand that media stop using the catch-all term ‘opioids’ and indicate illegal street drugs instead of lumping all together with legal prescribed analgesic medication? Will you sue for transparency from insurance companies and pharmacy chains to learn their decision making process in denying even cancer patients legitimate life-saving pain medication? There are now 110 million citizens over age 50, moving into years of declining health, chronic disease, cancer, death. A third of our population, at a time when managing human pain is becoming increasingly illegal. And YOU, medical professionals, will be the ones caring for them. You better step up NOW, not when a family is screaming at you in the hallways of the hospice to do something, because their loved on is screaming in agony as they die.

    • Of course not! Stat just admitted to their agenda. This clears up any & all confusion over their one-sided ‘reporting ‘ of this heroin/fentanyl epidemic. The founder of stat must have either lost a loved one or has an addict in the family. Let’s blame the makers of A drug, not the addicts. Certainly let’s ignore the FACTS. Let’s also ignore the monumental human suffering that continues to chronic pain patients, not addicts. Let’s ignore & not report the statistics but repeat the lies. Over & over & over.

  • A pity the same interest is not given to deaths and addictions resulting from the Mexican/Chinese opiods peddled by the cartels. I suppose trial lawyers find it somewhat more difficult to serve papers on them.

  • Whatever you believe it was a good pain relief for true pain patients.
    Even though our daughter passed on a cocktail of heroin and fentanyl &. Coke . Let it be known she started on illicit and died on it never touching pharma except anti opiate doled out by the Gvt. Time to time.
    Now i suffer without my usual purdue product that maintained my botched surgeries. Thank you smith nephew for screws and plates non fda approved.
    I appreciate the product that let me function. Now in the dark suffering thanks cdc for the torture of living.

  • Good work from the reporters with Stat News! Blows against the empire! The destruction of journalism has consequences for our democracy. All the cries of “Fake news” denigrate how important it is to have good old-fashioned hard-working journalists shed light on the dark, greedy, corrupt actions of powerful people who feel entitled to destroy lives in the name of profit. Speaking up for the powerless is what it is about. The powerful have enough tools, all we the people have is servants of the truth and exposing it.

  • You persisted Stat. Reading this in Dublin Ireland . Hope you get coverage of this world wide.

  • “The wheels of Justice grind turn slowly, but they grind exceeding fine” – hopefully.

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