Opioids and fires- resistance on its way

August 30, 2019

Mike Wilcox Editor/Publisher

Two, what I consider major news stories, broke in the last few days.
First a judge has ruled big pharma’s Johnson and Johnson must pay $572 million to the State of Oklahoma for its part in fueling the opioid crisis.
Although $572 million is a drop in the bucket to Johnson & Johnson, the fact that a judge ruled against the company’s high priced lawyers bodes well for the many lawsuits that have been filed against big pharma.

Waiting patiently for a landmark verdict to come down against opioid manufacturers, were dozens of lawyers who will be trying a case in the fall that involves 2000 plaintiffs that are accusing several opioid drug makers of causing the opioid epidemic. The federal case which involves cities, counties, communities and tribal lands will undoubtedly have major ramifications for the defendants if they were to lose.

This certainly is a good start to ending a crisis that kills nearly 130 people a day in the United States. In 2017 alone, opioid overdoses were responsible for 7000 deaths. It is a public health crisis that America has never seen, and its origins, in my opinion, lie at the doorstep of big pharma.

Much praise is due to Oklahoma. They have been very aggressive in going after opioid makers, reaching settlements with two others previous to the big win in court this week.

Other states, some who have followed Oklahoma’s lead, will soon be in court, hoping to win big chunks of dough from big pharma.

Secondly, major media outlets have been chattering incessantly about the fires that are raging in the Amazon rainforest. I really didn’t think much of it until I read a startling statistic- that is 20% of the world’s oxygen is generated by the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon is known as the “lungs of the planet” and if it were to disappear, the world would drastically change, with impacts on everything from drinking water to farming. Simply put it would be devastating.

The BBC reported less than a week ago they counted more than 2500 active fires burning in the rainforest. So far in 2019, Brazil’s space research center INPE has counted nearly 73,000 fires in that country. Brazil since has declared a state of emergency.

Now fires in the rainforest are not unusual. At this time of year they number in the 100’s if not upward to 1500. However it is calculated that this year the sheer number of fires has risen by 83% over 2018. It is a humungous problem and all of us need to do our part to see that these fires are contained.

Leonardo DiCaprio, the actor, is doing his part. He announced earlier this week that he is contributing $5 million to efforts to extinguish the fires. I don’t suspect many of us have $5 million, $5 thousand or even $5 hundred readily available to contribute. However here are a few ways we can help:
-Donate a small amount to Rainforest Trust to help buy land in the rainforest. Since 1988 they have saved over 23 million acres.

-Explore Change.org petitions. A lawyer in Rio Branco has accumulated over 3 million signatures to mobilize an investigation into the rainforest fires.

-Explore Amazon Conservation which accepts donations and lists exactly what your money goes toward. You can help plant trees, buy a solar panel or sponsor rainforest education.

-Ecosia.org is a search engine that plants a tree for every 45 searches you run on their search engine.

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