Cherokee Nation flooded with more than 180M opioid pills in two years

About 184 million opioid painkillers were distributed across the Cherokee Nation's 14 counties in northeast Oklahoma from 2015 through 2016, according to data compiled by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

The large quantity of pills amounts to 153 doses of opioids for every man, woman and child in the region. OBNDD's data suggest this rate of opioid dissemination has continued in the first quarter of 2017.

"While the opioid industry has made billions, the Cherokee Nation has been ravaged by the opioid crisis," said Bill John Baker, Cherokee Nation chief, according to an emailed press release. "It is unconscionable to pump these massive quantities of dangerous drugs into our community. As principal chief, I condemn these companies for their greed and the irreparable damage they have inflicted upon our nation."

The Cherokee Nation filed a landmark lawsuit in April implicating three drug wholesalers — AmerisourceBergen Drug Co., Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp. — and three pharmacy retailers — CVS, Walgreens and Walmart — in the rise of opioid-related overdose deaths across the tribe's 14 counties.

More articles on opioids: 
Premier to launch pain management, opioid reduction program at 30 hospitals 
Study: Fear of arrest stops some who administer opioid overdose drug from calling 911 
CVS Health commits $250k to open opioid abuse treatment center

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