Use of prescription opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin fell at a record rate last year as the U.S. government continues to crackdown on the pharmacists and drugmakers that dispense the sometimes lethal painkillers, according to a new report published Thursday.
a new study provided troubling news that the opioid crisis has led to a sharp increase in the death rate for overdoses by teens and young adults.
The Justice Department as well as U.S. lawmakers have been working to combat the epidemic, such as limiting painkiller prescriptions and punishing those seen as responsible for the epidemic.
On Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., unveiled a $ 100 billion proposal that would fund prevention services and provide resources to programs for those battling addiction and in recovery.
Last month, a former CEO of Rochester Drug Cooperative, one of the nation’s largest drug distributors, was indicted on what prosecutors say are the first criminal charges against an executive of a drug company to stem from the opioid epidemic. In addition the federal government reached a $ 20 million settlement with the company over its alleged role in the crisis.
Separately, federal prosecutors charged 60 doctors, pharmacists and other licensed medical professionals across five states in connection with illegally prescribing more than 32 million pain pills.
The indictments came as some 1,600 cases against OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma and other opioid manufacturers are being consolidated and transferred before a judge in the Northern District of Ohio, and New York and other states begin their own massive legal fights.
The report Thursday showed prescriptions for lower dose opioids remained stable, possibly low dose painkillers are still perceived by physicians and patients as relatively safe, IQVIA said.
–CNBC’s Meg Tirrell contributed to this report.
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