2020’s all-time overdose death peak in New Mexico included a nearly 129% year-on-year growth in fentanyl-related deaths. Meanwhile, California shelved a bill that had proposed decriminalizing some psychedelic drugs. Philadelphia’s injection site and the Sackler family are also in the news.
The Hill: Overdose Deaths In New Mexico Reached All-Time High In 2020
Overdose deaths from alcohol, fentanyl and methamphetamine reached an all-time high in New Mexico in 2020, according to a new report presented to state lawmakers on Thursday. The report revealed that Fentanyl-related deaths saw a near 129 percent increase from 2019 to 2020 in preliminary figures, with numbers expected to increase. (Jenkins, 8/26)
San Francisco Chronicle: Bill To Decriminalize Psychedelics Shelved In California Legislature
A bill that would have decriminalized the use of some psychedelic drugs has stalled in the California Legislature — at least for this year — after its author pulled the proposal. The measure, SB519 by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would have allowed the possession and personal use of hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD, MDMA and other psychedelics, which supporters argue have therapeutic mental-health benefits. (Gardiner and Koseff, 8/26)
Philadelphia Inquirer: Safehouse Takes Its Battle Over A Philly Supervised Drug Injection Site To The U.S. Supreme Court
Seven months after a federal appellate court delivered a major setback to plans to open the nation’s first supervised injection site in Philadelphia, the nonprofit behind the endeavor is returning to court seeking new audiences and advancing new legal arguments. Safehouse attorneys announced Thursday they had filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to weigh in on whether plans to open a site designed to prevent overdose deaths by allowing people to take drugs under medical supervision run afoul of federal law. (Roebuck and Whelan, 8/26)
In updates on the opioid crisis —
NPR: Judge Challenges Sacklers’ Immunity In Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy
A federal bankruptcy judge says he’ll rule Friday on the fate of Purdue Pharma and its owners, members of the Sackler family, who are at the center of a national reckoning over the deadly opioid epidemic. Judge Robert Drain signaled he is likely to approve the reorganization plan for the makers of OxyContin. But he also demanded last-minute changes limiting legal immunities granted under the deal to the Sacklers and their associates. (Mann, 8/26)
Bloomberg: Sackler Immunity and a Texas Two-Step Could Tilt Bankruptcy Scales Away From Victims
The billionaire owners of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and lumber giant Georgia-Pacific are in high-stakes legal battles to shed billions of dollars of liabilities in bankruptcy — the first over their company’s alleged role in America’s opioid crisis and the second for 64,000 asbestos claims. If they are successful, it threatens to reduce the bargaining power of alleged victims of corporate abuse for years to come. The outcome could also benefit, Johnson & Johnson, which is fighting tens of thousands of health-related lawsuits. (Church and Hill, 8/25)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.