Though the coronavirus pandemic remains top of mind this year, another health crisis rages on in the shadows, the opioid epidemic.
This week, Purdue Pharma, which manufactures the pain killer OxyContin, agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges for its role in the crisis. The company will face an $8 billion penalty, and the company's owners will pay another $225 million in civil penalties. It's unlikely the company will end up paying $8 billion because it is in bankruptcy court, so this is far from finished.
There are more lawsuits that could be coming down the pike to address the public health crisis that has resulted in more than 450 thousand deaths in this country since 1999.
But despite the attention and the intervention, Ohio is on track to have one of its deadliest years of opioid drug overdoses.
So the need to combat opioid addiction remains.
This Saturday, the Cleveland Clinic is participating in a national event called Drug Take Back Day, where staffers will be collecting the community's unused medications, to dispose of them properly.
But the Clinic offers drug take-backs all year round at 14 of its locations.
On The Sound of Ideas, the Clinic's Dr. Ellen Rome tells us why you shouldn't leave unused medication lying around the house. She is head of the Opioid Education and Prevention Committee for the Cleveland Clinic and head of the Center for Adolescent Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.
Dr. Ellen Rome, MD, Head, Opioid Education and Prevention Committee, Cleveland Clinic and Head, Center for Adolescent Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital