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Judge Orders DEA To Turn Over More Drug Sale Data In Opioid Lawsuit

A drug disposal box in the Trumbull County Jail in Warren. Trumbull is one of many counties suing drug companies over the opioid crisis. [Nick Castele / ideastream]

A federal judge is telling the Drug Enforcement Administration to turn over nationwide opioid sales data in a massive lawsuit over the addiction crisis.

The DEA has already provided data on six states, including Ohio, covering the years 2006 to 2014.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster wrote this week that the information has helped local government plaintiffs find additional drug companies to sue.

Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and others amended their lawsuits last month to incorporate the new data. Those complaints are sealed because a protective order bars release of the information to the public.

Polster now wants the DEA to provide detailed drug sale data for every U.S. state and territory. He wrote that the disclosure is providing “meaningful, objective data” for litigation and settlement talks, which he described as “fruitful (if nascent).”

Polster is overseeing hundreds of opioid lawsuits filed by state and local governments that have been consolidated in his court. As with the previous release of sales data, none of the information is supposed to get out into the public.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.