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Bags of heroin, some laced with fentanyl, picked up in a 2016 New York City drug bust. "Basically, [fentanyl] is so cheap to produce and it's so powerful, that drug dealers began realizing it was a way to increase their profits," Fentanyl, Inc. author Ben Westhoff says. But miscalculations of the amount used can be deadly. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fentanyl As A Dark Web Profit Center, From Chinese Labs To U.S. Streets

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State's attorney Brad Beckworth lays out one of his closing arguments in Oklahoma's case against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. in July. The judge in the case ruled Monday that J&J must pay $572 million to the state. Chris Landsberger/AP hide caption

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Chris Landsberger/AP

Oklahoma Wanted $17 Billion To Fight Its Opioid Crisis: What's The Real Cost?

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Nationally, drug overdose deaths reached record levels in 2017, when a group protested in New York City on Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. Deaths appear to have declined slightly in 2018, based on provisional numbers, but nearly 68,000 people still died. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson faces multiple lawsuits, including one over the opioid epidemic. A reputation for corporate responsibility, dating back to the Tylenol scandal, offers a measure of protection, but no guarantee, analysts say. Mike Blake/Reuters hide caption

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Mike Blake/Reuters

Johnson & Johnson, Under Fire, Has Track Record Of Weathering Trouble

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Former Rochester Drug Co-Operative CEO Laurence Doud III, who faces criminal charges stemming from the opioid crisis, leaves the federal courthouse in Manhattan on Tuesday. Kathy Willens/AP hide caption

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Kathy Willens/AP

Liu Yuejin of China's National Narcotics Control Commission speaks at a Beijing press conference on Monday. He announced that all fentanyl-related drugs will become controlled substances, effective May 1. Sam McNeil/AP hide caption

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Sam McNeil/AP

"We fully respect and support the Sackler family's decision," says a spokesperson for the National Portrait Gallery in central London, after a gift was withdrawn. Members of the Sackler family are accused of pursuing profits on OxyContin amid an opioid crisis. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Graphic facilitator Emily Jane Steinberg rendered a visual summary in real time of the conversation at an opioid summit held in Stroud, Okla., in late February. Courtesy of Chuck Tryon hide caption

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Courtesy of Chuck Tryon

A highly potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl is often mixed into other drugs sold on the street, including pills, heroin and even cocaine. Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images hide caption

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Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said the state has added CVS and Walgreens to a lawsuit because they had not stopped suspicious orders of opioids and had dispensed unreasonable quantities of the drugs. Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Join us for a webcast on life and health in rural America. From The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Courtesy of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health hide caption

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Courtesy of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, testifying before a House subcommittee in May. There are "very tight restrictions" being placed on the distribution and use of Dsuvia, Gottlieb said Friday in addressing the FDA's approval of the new opioid. But critics of the FDA decision say the drug is unnecessary. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Patrick Semansky/AP

Among at least some rural Americans, pragmatism may now be superseding traditional disdain for government and the prizing of rugged individualism. Angela Hsieh/NPR hide caption

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Angela Hsieh/NPR

Rural Americans Are OK With 'Outside' Help To Beat Opioid Crisis And Boost Economy

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Paramedic Larrecsa Cox (center) and her quick-response team, including police Officer Stephanie Coffey (left) and Pastor Virgil Johnson (right), check in at the home in Huntington, W.Va., of someone who was revived a few days before from an overdose. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

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Sarah McCammon/NPR

Knocking On Doors To Get Opioid Overdose Survivors Into Treatment

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Nine-year-old Gabriella Santamaria holds up a picture of her uncle Stephen who died from a heroin overdose during a 2017 candlelight vigil for victims of drug addiction in Staten Island. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Some sixty "Opiod Overdose Kits" have been added defibrillator boxes in Bridgewater State University dorms and academic buildings like this one. Tovia Smith / NPR hide caption

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Tovia Smith / NPR

On College Campuses, Making Overdose Medication Readily Available

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An arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, also known as Percocet, in New York. A new report finds a link between workforce participation and the prescription rate of opioids in the U.S. Patrick Sison/AP hide caption

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Patrick Sison/AP

A volunteer cleans up needles used for drug injection that were found at a homeless encampment in Everett, Wash., in November. Respondents in a Federal Reserve survey who knew someone who had been addicted to opioids were less likely to give the economy a favorable rating. Ted S. Warren/AP hide caption

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Ted S. Warren/AP