Local Action on Opioids Taken by Coalition Members
Baltimore Releases Video on Preventing Overdose Deaths
On Feb 29, 2016, the Baltimore City Health Department released a short and comprehensive training video on how to administer naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of a narcotic drug overdose. Upon completing the training, individuals can take a printable certificate into any Baltimore pharmacy and purchase naloxone. In the video, Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen talks about the dangers of opioid misuse, describes the symptoms of an opioid overdose, and demonstrates a 5-step process to save the life. Additional information is available on the website http://dontdie.org/.
Capitol Hill Briefing
In September 2014, the top public health officials from Boston, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta held a briefing on Capitol Hill on behalf of the BCHC. They discussed what actions are being taken on the local level, what the current status is in combating opioid abuse, and what the federal government and federal agencies can do to support the cities, who are the front line in the battle against abuse.
Two BCHC members, Santa Clara County and the City of Chicago, have filed a lawsuit against five pharmaceutical companies. Orange County is a co-plaintiff in Santa Clara County’s lawsuit. The pharmaceutical companies they filed suit against are Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical, Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Endo Health Solutions, and Actavis PLC.
These lawsuits allege that the five pharmaceutical companies knowingly engaged in deceptive marketing campaigns that minimized the true risks of addiction to prescription painkillers and falsely characterized these drugs as appropriate for long-term use to treat chronic pain. Orange and Santa Clara Counties filed suit in May 2014, while the City of Chicago filed in June. While neither lawsuit seeks to ban the drugs in question, they request compensation for all damages and for the companies to forfeit revenue produced by their fraudulent marketing campaigns.
ASTHO held a webinar with BCHC called "Big Cities & Prescription Drugs: Health Departments in Our Nation's Largest Cities Respond to Opioid Misuse and Addiction", which focused on how BCHC public health officials are taking action to scale up programs, target interventions, and examine policies to address prescription opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose.