Indian Country 52 #2 – Pharma Drug Dealers
“Three American Indian tribes in South Dakota have sued the country’s top opioid manufacturers and distributors, accusing them of concealing and minimizing the addiction risk in tribal communities that have been devastated by such drugs.
While 200,000 Americans died from prescription opioid overdoses from 2000 to 2016, the national epidemic has hit Indian reservations particularly hard. Native Americans suffer the highest per capita rate of opioid overdoses, and one in 10 American Indian youths age 12 or older used prescription opioids for nonmedical purposes in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s double the rate for white youths.
“The effect of opioids on South Dakota Tribes has been horrific,” said Brendan Johnson, the former U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, who filed the lawsuit along with Tim Purdon, the former U.S. attorney for North Dakota. “This epidemic has overwhelmed our public health and law enforcement services, drained resources for addiction therapy and sent the cost of caring for children of opioid-addicted parents skyrocketing.””
– The Washington Post, 3 S.D. Indian tribes sue drugmakers over opioid addiction.
“The lawsuit follows more than 70 cases filed across the country, including in Mississippi, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio. It is one of the first to tie claims to the drugs’ impact on Native Americans.
The Cherokee Nation launched a similar suit in April.
The tribes are being represented by former North Dakota U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon and former South Dakota U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson.
“The prescription opioid crisis has hit Indian Country hard,” said Purdon. He added he is “hopeful” that other North Dakota tribes will also file suit.
The complaint noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 10 Native Americans used prescription opioids for non-medical purposes in 2012, which is double the rate of whites.
Between 2015 and 2016, Native Americans represented almost 18 percent of opioid-related deaths and 28 percent of patients treated for opioid use in South Dakota. At the time, Native Americans made up 9 percent of the state’s population.”
– Star Tribune, 3 Native American tribes sue opioid industry groups.
Download the 18″x24″ poster (.pdf), Indian Country 52 #2 – Pharma Drug Dealers (Opioids).
Indian Country 52
Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country. Follow the series: Indian Country 52
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