MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Two WVU Law professors helped secure the recent release of data that is shedding light on the national distribution of opioids.
Patrick McGinley and Suzanne Weise represented pro bono the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail and its parent company, HD Media, in a year-long federal court legal battle to force the public release of government information identifying the volume of prescription opioid pills that flooded the United States and fueled a national health crisis.
An Ohio federal judge overseeing more than 2000 cases brought by states, counties, and cities, including many in West Virginia, had barred public disclosure of the data, which was also sought by The Washington Post. However, that ruling was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
The data, gathered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, tracks every pain pill sold in the country, from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies. On average, 46 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control.