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00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980000Day after day, week after week, the headlines in Northeast Ohio and across much of the country contain news of tragic loss: lives lost to opioids. It’s a problem that knows no bounds: geography, race, gender, level of education or income.The problem took on new urgency this summer as the powerful elephant sedative, Carfentanil, began hitting the streets. First responders armed with their only weapon, the overdose antidote Naloxone, have struggled to keep up with what’s become an overwhelming problem. It’s an issue that’s straining public and social resources. What has become clear is that business as usual is not going to fix the problem.WKSU news has been covering the unfolding crisis. Tuesdays during Morning Edition, the WKSU news team digs even deeper. WKSU reporters will examine what’s led us here and what might be done to turn the tide. Support for Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis comes from Wayne Savings Community Bank, Kent State University Office of Continuing and Distance Education, Hometown Grocery Delivery, Mercy Medical Center, AxessPointe Community Health Center, Community Support Services, Inc., Medina County District Library and Hudson Community First.00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980001

Ohio's Cardinal Health Promises More to Fight the Opioid Crisis

photo of George Barrett
CARDINAL HEALTH

Ohio’s largest company – which has been named in a number of lawsuits and exposés over the opioid drug crisis – is making changes at the top. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on Cardinal Health.

The Teamsters union is one of the largest investors in Cardinal Health. Citing the opioid crisis, it led an effort heading into this week’s annual meeting to split the top leadership roles of chairman and CEO. But that Chairman and CEO -- George Barrett -- beat them to it. He announced he’ll turn the CEO job over to the company’s long-time chief financial officer, while he remains chairman for another year. In a quarterly earnings call, Barrett addressed the opioid crisis directly, calling it “large, complicated, tragic and personal.”

But he insisted his company is doing its part to control opioids ending up on the black market.

“As a wholesale distributor, we do not manufacture, promote, market or prescribe these drugs. We do however take very seriously our responsibilities to serve our healthcare system. Our anti-diversion systems and controls are substantial, they are well-funded and they are best in class.

Barrett said the company’s plans to invest more in the education of doctors, pharmacists and students are running slightly behind, but they will be fulfilled this year.

Click here for more on Cardinal's response to the Washington Post/60 Minutes stories.