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Inside Cherokee Lawsuit to Fight Opioid Epidemic

"The distributors that we've named in this complaint, distribute close to 90 percent of the opioids in this country," says Richard Fields, one of the attorneys working with the Cherokee Nation. "The pharmacy chains have over 80 percent of the market share." The lawsuit, which was filed in April, is in some ways a last ditch effort to force the hands of companies who many see as responsible for the growing opioid epidemic.

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July 20, 2017

(Rolling Stone) The Cherokee Nation, like much of the United States, is suffering from an opioid epidemic. "For months and years, we have seen the effects of the opioid abuse in every aspect of our government and society," says Todd Hembree attorney general for the Cherokee Nation. "We see it in outright death in Cherokee citizens."

Hembree and the Cherokee Nation knew they needed to do something to curb the tide of opioids into their community in Oklahoma, home to 177,000 tribal members. The state leads the nation in opioid abuse, but they knew arresting drug users wasn't going to help and they didn't have the resources to track down every doctor who wrote a questionable prescription for oxycodone or every poor patient who sold their stash. So they decided to aim their resources where they thought it would be most effective. Read More

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