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This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont. (AP Photo / Toby Talbot, File)

A federal judge overseeing litigation related to the nation’s opioid epidemic ruled Tuesday that lawsuits targeting Purdue Pharma and other drug companies can move to trial even as the OxyContin maker tries to reach a settlement.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hailey R. Staker)

A newly launched website seeks to convey the seriousness of the opioid epidemic locally while providing resources and honoring those who have died, says Dr. Kiran Joshi of the Cook County Department of Public Health.

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This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont. (AP Photo / Toby Talbot, File)

The multibillion-dollar settlement that the maker of OxyContin is negotiating to resolve a crush of lawsuits over the nation’s opioid crisis contains formulas for dividing up the money among state and local governments across the country, The Associated Press has learned.

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This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont. (AP Photo / Toby Talbot, File)

State attorneys general and lawyers representing local governments said Tuesday they are in active settlement talks with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin that is facing billions of dollars in potential liability for its role in the nation’s opioid crisis.

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In this March 13, 2019 file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the goal is to make it easier to share a patient’s drug treatment history with doctors treating that person for other problems. 

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hailey R. Staker)

For years, OxyContin maker Purdue engaged in deceptive marketing practices, according to a lawsuit filed in April by Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Now, Raoul’s office is seeking to add members of the company’s founding family as defendants.

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(Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker / Flickr)

A new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker legalizes syringe exchange programs in Illinois, opening the door to an increase in operations aiming to serve a community at risk of overdoses and infection from unsafe supplies.

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(valelopardo / Pixabay)

More than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, a task force is recommending clinicians ask adult patients about illicit drug use.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hailey R. Staker)

A yearslong investigation by the Washington Post offers a state-by-state snapshot of the opioid crisis. What the data says about Illinois – and what the state is doing to fight back.

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(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Hundreds of researchers, community organizations, policymakers, health care professionals and students gathered Monday at Malcom X College to discuss mental health, gun violence, the opioid epidemic and other topics.

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In this April 5, 2019, file photo, containers depicting OxyContin prescription pill bottles lie on the ground in front of the Department of Health and Human Services’ headquarters in Washington as protesters demonstrate against the FDA’s opioid prescription drug approval practices. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, File)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday posted data showing nearly 68,000 drug overdose deaths were reported last year. Overdose deaths had been climbing each year since 1990, topping 70,000 in 2017.

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“I need help with direct stuff like free maintenance programs, a stable home, legal help so I can sit and get grounded, and relax. I need a place to sit down.” (Photo by Chicago Recovery Alliance participant.)

People who inject drugs typically aren’t part of traditional advocacy because of risks associated with going public. But a local research project allows them to share their experiences without the fear of potential repercussions.

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A new study shoots down the notion that medical marijuana laws can prevent opioid overdose deaths, challenging a favorite talking point of legal pot advocates.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hailey R. Staker)

Prosecutors say Mohammed Shariff, who illegally dispensed hundreds of thousands of opioid pills, “showed an abject disregard of patients and perverted his companies into engines of unlawful profit.”

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(Eric Molina / Flickr)

A new bill aims to fix the state’s “ambiguous” law over syringe exchange programs. Public support for such programs remains low, but advocates say they can offer critical help to those in need.

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Last year, about 5,400 detainees at Cook County Jail received treatment for opioid use – an average of 375-400 each month. The county will be able to expand its services for opioid use disorder, thanks to a new grant.