The Ulster County executive has declared a public health emergency due to recent spikes in fentanyl-related deaths. The declaration came the day before county officials arrested a Kingston man on narcotics charges and recovered 10,000 bags of fentanyl and heroin.
Stephen Murray has worked as a first responder in Berkshire County for the past seven years. Today, he’s a paramedic supervisor at Northern Berkshire EMS, which covers 265 square miles of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. A bill introduced in 2019 calling for supervised consumption sites is working its way through the the Massachusetts statehouse with a reporting date now set for April 15th. Back in western Massachusetts, Murray is drawing on his experiences both as a professional on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and his own past struggles with addiction to endorse the bill as a valuable new approach to confronting the disease. He sat down with WAMC to explain why he believes that the model already used in places like Portugal and Canada could save lives in Berkshire County.
Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy was at the Burlington offices of the state Health Department Tuesday morning to announce a federal grant to help the state respond to opioid overdoses and strengthen prevention efforts.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed what the Democrat calls the country’s most extensive lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic.
Last September, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan stood in front of the Chittenden County Superior Court to announce that the state was suing Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin and other opioids. Today, he was back to announce new lawsuits against two drug distributors.
Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney was in Orange County, New York Monday to announce legislation to combat online opioid sales. He spoke at the Middletown Police Department, alongside a woman whose son died from an overdose two years ago.
The fight against the opioid epidemic has seen a variety of approaches, including changes to law enforcement policies and an increased focus on prevention. Now, a few counties in the Hudson Valley have filed suit against pharmaceutical companies. Dutchess County is the latest to allege the companies have used deceptive practices, leading to the crisis. And at least one other Hudson Valley county is considering filing suit.