Opioid Epidemic

Our guest is the noted medical expert, Dr. Leana Wen, a visiting professor at George Washington University's School of Public Health and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She's also a contributing columnist for The Washington Post and a CNN medical analyst, and she was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we learn about the National Center for Wellness & Recovery, which is based at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. The mission for this facility, per its website, is "to inspire hope and to develop innovative, science-driven treatment interventions to improve the lives of those afflicted by pain and substance-use disorders." Our guest is Dr. Kelly Dunn, a psychiatrist who is also the Executive Director for Clinical Treatment at the National Center.

drug free.org

Oklahoma lawmakers took the first step in setting up a fund to pay for ongoing costs of abating Oklahoma’s opioid epidemic.

Senate Bill 610 would establish the Opioid Settlement and Judgement Revolving Fund. Sen. Greg McCortney (R-Ada) had his legislation passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee he chairs on Wednesday. 

Any future awards from lawsuits against companies that made, distributed or marketed the powerful, addictive painkillers would go into it.

Oklahoma will receive $8.9 million out of a multistate, $573 million total settlement with global business consulting firm McKinsey & Co. for its role in the opioid crisis.

In a deal announced Thursday with attorneys general for 47 states, the company agreed to make public documents showing communications with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and three other companies that have been in the opioid business.

Oklahoma's funding will go toward costs of responding to the opioid epidemic.

(Note: This interview first aired back in May.) Our guest is Eric Eyre, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the smallest newspaper ever to win that prize for investigative reporting. His book, based on the work that won him that prize, details his investigation into the corporate greed that pumped millions of pain pills into small Appalachian towns at the outset of America's opioid crisis. "Death in Mud Lick" tells the riveting and shameful story of a pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia, which distributed 12 million opioid pills in three years to a town of 382 people.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Families who lost loved ones to opioid drug overdoses rallied outside the Tulsa County Courthouse on Thursday.

They want drug dealers to be prosecuted in more cases. Organizer Diane Searle read more than three dozen victims’ names, including her own daughter’s. Jillian Searle developed an opioid addiction after a dental procedure and died in 2018.

The man who sold Jillian drugs, Taylor Rogers, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last October and was sentenced to 40 years in Department of Corrections custody.

Oklahoma Doctor Accused Of Deaths In Opioid Drug Case

Jun 24, 2020
Oklahoma Watch

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma City doctor has been indicted after being accused of illegally dispensing opioid drugs, leading to the deaths of three patients, prosecutors announced on Monday. 

Donald Hyungjoon Kim is accused of committing 154 separate counts of distributing opioids such as oxycodone, oxycontin, and fentanyl, as well as other prescription drugs from July 2015 to October 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oklahoma City. 

Our guest is Eric Eyre, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the smallest newspaper ever to win that prize for investigative reporting. His new book, based on the work that won him that prize, details his investigation into the corporate greed that pumped millions of pain pills into small Appalachian towns at the outset of America's opioid crisis. "Death in Mud Lick" tells the riveting and shameful story of a pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia, which distributed 12 million opioid pills in three years to a town of 382 people.

Oklahoma AG Refiles Opioid Litigation in Rural County

May 2, 2020

DURANT, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter refiled lawsuits Friday against three opioid distributors in one of the state’s counties hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.

The litigation previously filed as one case in Cleveland County was refiled as three separate cases in Bryan County in southeast Oklahoma against AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health and McKesson.

Hunter calculated the three companies were responsible for supplying nearly 70% of the pain pills distributed in Bryan County from 2006 to 2014.

Medical Monday: "OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose"

Apr 30, 2020

During the Covid-19 pandemic, it's important we don't lose sight of other epidemics that have impacted the nation's health. The opioid epidemic has contributed to lower life expectancy for non-college-educated whites in the U.S. in each of the last three years. 

Through the seven week Oklahoma opioid trial against pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson, there was only one reporter on hand for every single day of the trial, and that was State Impact Oklahoma's Jackie Fortier. She joins us on this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, to talk about the trial, and the most effective arguments made by the Attorney General's office and the company's defense team.

How did our nation's current opioid crisis come about? What steps were -- or were not -- taken as this epidemic was first being recognized? Who should ultimately be held accountable for this widespread tragedy? What policies enabled it, and who has benefitted most from those disastrous policies? On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we feature a "live onstage" interview that host John Schummann recently recorded here in Tulsa with Chris McGreal, a senior writer at The Guardian and former journalist for BBC.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak with Dr. Ruth Potee, who is both a Family Physician and an Addiction Medicine Physician based in Greenfield, Mass. She's also the Medical Director for the Franklin County House of Corrections, the Franklin Recovery and Treatment Center, and the Pioneer Valley Regional School District. As such, Dr.

On this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, a discussion about fighting opioid addiction at the individual, societal, and legal levels. Our guest is the successful OKC-based trial lawyer, Reggie Whitten. He'll be a co-lead counsel for the State of Oklahoma in an upcoming lawsuit against four different Big Pharma firms; that trial is set to begin in May of next year. Whitten's stake in the lawsuit is also quite personal; in 2002, he lost his son, Brandon, to a car accident triggered by Brandon's addiction to prescription drugs.