Opioid Crisis

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man stopped breathing shortly after he was handcuffed by New Orleans police officers who tried unsuccessfully to save him using CPR and an opioid-overdose antidote, authorities said Wednesday.

The man died early Wednesday at a hospital, Police Chief Michael Harrison said. Speaking at a news conference, Harrison said three officers responded to calls Tuesday night about a screaming man and a break-in at a residence.

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About 60-70% of teens say medicine cabinets at home are their source for drugs. Mary Barrios, healthy living coordinator at the Children's Coalition for Northeast Louisiana, encourages parents to be more responsible with prescription medications in the home. 

Barrios says the best way to combat prescription drug abuse is to dispose expired or unused medications. With National Prescription Take-Back Day around the corner, parents and professionals will be able to push-back against the opioid epidemic by leading by example. 

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Attorney General Jeff Landry and Governor John Bel Edwards have agreed to coordinate efforts to bring litigation against opioid manufacturers, who they feel are responsible for the epidemic that’s claiming hundreds lives every year. The A-G’s Chief Deputy Bill Stiles says the state seeks damages for costs incurred within the Medicaid program.

 

Stiles hopes to expand the scope of the lawsuit into all state services effected, including corrections and family services.

 

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The Edwards administration disputes the claim by Attorney General Jeff Landry that the expansion of the Medicaid program has helped fuel the opioid crisis. The state health department says there are fewer pain killers on the streets in the last year and more individuals are seeking lifesaving substance abuse treatment.  L-D-H Chief of Staff Andrew Tuozzollo says legislation passed this year that limits first time prescriptions for opioids has been effective

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A week after multiple Louisiana Sheriff’s Offices filed suit against several opioid manufacturers, the state Department of Health has filed its own lawsuit claiming these drug companies have helped fuel the Bayou State’s severe opioid epidemic. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says this is a very trendy lawsuit now.

Meche says it could be difficult for the suits to stick because the opioids are regulated and approved by the FDA and prescribed by doctors. He says this litigation is similar to lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

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Four sheriff’s offices in Louisiana have filed lawsuits against drug companies and physicians for allegedly helping to grow the opioid crisis. Attorney David Laborde says the defendants have misrepresented the proper use of opioids which has led to an epidemic and an uptick in crime.

Avoyelles, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis and Rapides have filed lawsuits in state courts in their respective parishes. Laborde says the sheriff’s offices are seeking to recoup the money law enforcement has spent on dealing with the opioid epidemic.