News on efforts to combat the drug epidemic is reported from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona, New Hampshire and Ohio.
Federal prosecutors have warned 180 Wisconsin doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners that they have been prescribing more painkillers than their peers. In a news release, Matt Krueger and Scott Blader, the U.S. attorneys for Wisconsin’s eastern and western districts, said letters warned the prescribers they might be putting the deadly opioids into illegal markets and fueling addictions. (Vielmetti, 2/5)
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz expects to sign “meaningful legislation” this year to address the growing opioid epidemic that will include new money from drug makers for treatment and prevention. Bills have already been introduced in both chambers of the state Legislature and one proposal in the House cleared its first committee hearing last week. Walz reiterated his support for the proposals Tuesday after a conference call with undisclosed drug company executives. (Magan, 2/5)
People desperate to give up opioids are flocking to a bursting-at-the-seams methadone clinic in north Phoenix in such large numbers that clinic leaders are adding locations to handle the demand. But the soaring client numbers have the clinic’s neighbors pushing back over the crowds of people and cars at the facility. (Innes, 2/5)
Over four hours, dozens implored the House of Representatives’ public safety committee to either join, or stand apart from, the state’s neighbors on all sides — Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and Canada — which have legalized pot. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Democratic state Representative Renny Cushing and cosponsored by 11 others in the House and Senate, would legalize, tax, and regulate pot sales. Currently, possession of marijuana up to three-quarters of an ounce is decriminalized. (Martin, 2/6)
A wrongful-death lawsuit against an Ohio doctor accused of ordering potentially fatal doses of pain medication for hospital patients alleges a nurse now married to him administered one of the excessive doses he ordered in 2015. It’s among the growing list of at least a dozen cases brought since the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System found intensive care doctor William Husel ordered potentially fatal doses for at least 28 patients over several years, mostly at Mount Carmel West hospital. (2/5)
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