“There are 5.7 million children under the age of 11 who live in a house with a parent who has a substance abuse disorder,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop. “For children, we particularly want them to know what parental addiction is, but also provide a sense of hope and help them feel they’re not alone.” Other news on the opioid crisis focuses on lawsuits against the drug companies, closing treatment centers, and more.
Stat: ‘Sesame Street’ Launches Initiative To Help Explain Parental Addiction To Kids
Parents and kids who are fans of “Sesame Street” will now see a new storyline for one the show’s muppets: one of parental addiction. Videos launched Wednesday feature the muppet Karli, whose mother is struggling with addiction, and show how she copes with the situation with support from Elmo and other friends. (Chakradhar, 10/10)
The Associated Press: Opioid Makers’ Latest Legal Woe: West Virginia Handyman
A small home-improvement company in West Virginia is taking on the nation’s opioid giants in a lawsuit blaming the drugmakers for a rise in insurance costs. The handymen at Al Marino Inc. filed the federal class-action suit last week in U.S. District Court against Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and a host of other companies. The case claims the drug businesses created a public health crisis that increased the need for expensive medical treatments, leading to skyrocketing health insurance costs in West Virginia. It seeks unspecified damages. (10/9)
Bloomberg: Purdue’s Sacklers Get Closer To An Opioid Trial In Massachusetts
Purdue Pharma LP’s billionaire owners, the Sackler family, are a step closer to a trial in Massachusetts over their role in the opioid epidemic, after a judge said the state had made credible allegations of misconduct in marketing of the company’s addictive painkiller, OxyContin. A judge in Boston on Tuesday denied the family’s request to toss out the state’s first-of-its-kind lawsuit. The ruling is significant because it means the Sacklers will have to defend their actions in court unless Purdue is able to shield its owners from pending cases through its bankruptcy process, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said. (Larson, 10/9)
The Baltimore Sun: Last Drug Treatment Center For Maryland Youths Closes, Narrowing Options Statewide
The last public residential drug treatment program for Maryland youths has closed, ending access to a variety of long-term treatment that has been used less frequently in recent years. People of all ages with substance use disorders are now more often steered to clinic-based programs near home. And while many treatment experts support the move, shuttering the Catoctin Summit Adolescent Program has raised concerns. (Cohn, 10/9)
The Associated Press: Alaska Doctor, Nurse Charged With Vast Opioid Distribution
An Alaska doctor and nurse practitioner face federal charges of illegally distributing millions of opioid doses to patients that resulted in addiction, overdoses and deaths, officials said. The Alaska U.S. attorney announced Wednesday that 48-year-old Jessica Joyce Spayd and 74-year-old Lavern Davidhizar were arrested and charge separately with providing opioids to patients who did not medically require them. (10/9)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.