The U.S. Department of Justice is targeting opioid manufacturers and distributors who use false, deceptive, or unfair marketing to promote dangerously addictive drugs. The DOJ intends to recover the costs of treatment and providing for the public’s safety. The Justice Department will also be filing a Statement of Interest in a lawsuit that includes hundreds of plaintiffs against the drug’s manufacturers and distributors.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the database at the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that there have been more than 64,000 overdoses in 2016. The sharpest increase in drug overdose deaths in America has been caused by fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids).
The rate of drug overdose deaths in teenagers aged 15 to 19 have jumped from 3.1 to 3.7 per 100,000 between 2014 and 2015, CNN reported in August of 2017 from numbers released by the National Center for Health Statistics. The jump represented a 19 percent increase and was largely attributed to unintentional death by opioids, including prescription oxycodone and street heroin and fentanyl.
A statement issued by the DOJ on Tuesday says that the department will argue that federal health programs as well as law enforcement, has had to cover the costs associated with the drug’s epidemic.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions charged that “Opioid abuse is driving the deadliest drug crisis in American history. It has cost this nation hundreds of thousands of precious lives.”
The nation’s top lawyer added, “It has strained our public health and law enforcement resources and bankrupted countless families across this country.”
“President Trump and his administration have made ending this unprecedented crisis a priority, and the Department of Justice is committed to using every lawful tool at our disposal to turn the tide.”
Sessions promised, “We will seek to hold accountable those whose illegality has cost us billions of taxpayer dollars.”
In addition to the litigation, Sessions also announced a new task force that will be a coordinated governmental effort to fight the opioid crisis. The goal is to “reverse the tide of opioid overdoses in the United States.”
The new DOJ operation is called the Prescription Interdiction and Litigation (PIL) Task Force. The department says it “will aggressively deploy and coordinate all available criminal and civil law enforcement tools.” It will crack down on pill mills, and diversion and improper describing.
Sessions says that the DOJ has been “vigorously” fighting this societal cancer but is “opening a new front in the war on the opioid crisis by bringing all of our anti-opioid efforts under one banner.”
He said that 180 Americans die from drug overdoses every day and it is the leading cause of death for Americans who are under the age of 50.
In the crosshairs of his target are pain management clinics, physicians, drug testing facilities, and pharmacies who engage in unlawful actions.
The PIL Task Force will work to improve coordination and data sharing among federal agencies and look at changes in regulations or the law.
Eric Bolling, a former Fox News Channel host, tweeted that he is headed to the White House fror President Trump’s “Opioid Summit.”
I’m headed back to White House Thursday to participate in @realDonaldTrump “Opioid Summit”
President Trump, his cabinet, AG Sessions will outline the Administration’s efforts to eradicate opioid deaths.
— Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) February 27, 2018
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and attorneys general from six other states were with Sessions when he made his announcements.
Last year, Texas and 40 other states served subpoenas and other requests on eight companies that manufacture or distribute these painkillers. Paxton issued a statement on Tuesday saying, “The opioid crisis demands the attention of federal, state, local and private sector leaders. My office will continue to do everything it can to protect Texans from the opioid crisis.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.