Attorney General Herring Seeks Documents Related to Opioid Crisis

Frederick Owens
September 20, 2017

As Schneiderman noted, millions of opioid users became addicted to opioids, or heroin, after being prescribed the medication by doctors.

The coalition, which formed in June to combat the growing opioid crisis, is spearheaded by Tennessee State Attorney General Herbert Slatery.

Herring today announced that a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general is seeking documents and information from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids as part of multistate investigations into the opioid epidemic.

"The goal of this phase of our investigation is to collect enough information so that the multi-state coalition can effectively evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids", Paxton said. They also demanded information from opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson requesting documents about their opioid distribution business.

Many doctors, in turn, said they were assured by the drug makers that the opioids were less addictive, or not addictive. Some are trying to recoup the costs incurred from the surge in emergency response from spikes in opioid-related overdoses. The officials are also investigating the potential role of drugmakers and drug wholesalers in facilitating the public health crisis.

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Nationwide and in Tennessee, opioids - prescription and illicit - are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 Tennessee had the third-highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the country, behind only Alabama and Arkansas. Did they mislead patients into thinking these drugs were safe?

Opioid distributors alone make almost $500 billion a year in revenue, the attorneys general said.

"We're committed to getting to the bottom of a broken system that has fueled the epidemic and taken far too many lives", he said.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, co-leader with Morrisey on the initiative, said attorneys general want to join others to find a solution to the opioid epidemic. In Vermont, there were 106 opioid related deaths past year, a record high.

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