OxyContin maker stops marketing to doctors; DeWine: ‘Too little, too late’

Published: Sunday, February 11, 2018 @ 2:57 PM


Ohio Attorney Gen. Mike DeWine called OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s announcement it no longer will market opioids to doctors “too little, too late.”

The maker of the world’s top-selling powerful painkiller on Saturday said it cut more than half its sales staff and that representatives would no longer discuss opioid drugs when making sales calls to physician offices.

>> OxyContin maker will stop promoting opioids to doctors

“Purdue Pharma’s announcement that they will no longer send out sales reps to promote OxyContin to doctors is a victory for everyone. But, it’s too little, too late. It is a decision that should have been made years ago and should be now made by all other makers of opioid pain medications,” DeWine said in a release issued Sunday.

“Purdue Pharma and other makers of opioid pain medications fundamentally changed the prescribing culture of doctors in this country, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in economic costs. They have an obligation to now re-educate the American public and the medical community about the real dangers of these drugs. And, while we are happy they are stopping the lies, it is simply not enough to stop what they were doing. Purdue Pharma needs to actively work to undo the damage they have done.

>> New program provides drug treatment, job training for youth

“If they are truly serious about this, they could lead the way in cleaning up the mess they created and pay their fair share to fund desperately needed treatment, prevention education, naloxone (overdose reversal medication) and expansion of the foster care system,” he said.

Purdue and other opioid drugmakers and pharmaceutical distributors continue to defend themselves against hundreds of local and state lawsuits seeking to hold the industry accountable for the drug overdose epidemic. The lawsuits say drugmakers misled doctors and patients about the risks of opioids by enlisting “front groups” and “key opinion leaders” who oversold the drugs’ benefits and encouraged overprescribing, the Associated Press reported.

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Ohio lawmaker seeks change: In some cases ‘it’s legal to rape your spouse’

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 2:14 PM

The Ohio Statehouse. FILE
The Ohio Statehouse. FILE

Eliminating Ohio’s spousal rape exemption is under consideration again, this time with bipartisan support as some lawmakers say the state still has an “appalling and disgusting” law on the books.

“In Ohio, in some circumstances, it’s legal to rape your spouse,” said state Rep. Kristin Boggs. “It’s appalling and disgusting that there is any circumstance where a woman can be forced into non-consensual sex. There is no legitimate basis whatsoever for any laws in Ohio to condone such horrific activity.”

Boggs, D-Columbus, and state Rep. Laura Lanese, R-Grove City, introduced the legislation Monday.

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Forcible rape of a spouse became illegal in Ohio in 1986. But sections of the state’s rape law apply only when the spouse is not living with the offender.

Marital rape as defined in the Ohio Revised Code is illegal and punishable as a felony. Under that definition, rape occurs when a defendant compels a spouse to engage in sexual intercourse against the victim’s will by “force, threat of force, or deception.”

But Ohio has an exemption that treats certain encounters between spouses differently than if two people were unmarried. For example, if a husband drugs his wife and then rapes her, it would not fall under the state’s marital rape statute.

RELATED: Change sought for Ohio’s ‘archaic’ rape law

House Bill 561 would eliminate the spousal exemptions for offenses of rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, gross sexual imposition, sexual imposition, and importuning.

“I think across the board there are a lot of archaic laws on the books, and sometimes it just takes someone opening up the books to say, ‘holy cow,’” Lanese said. “It bothers me that Ohio is not where we should be on this.”

Similar legislation has been introduced without success in 2015 and 2017. But this week’s legislation marks the first time a Republican has affixed her sponsorship to the bill.

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In the past, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association has expressed concern that removing the exemption could open the door to false claims made in an attempt to gain leverage in custody and divorce cases. The group has not yet examined the latest version of the legislation.

“Prosecutors take all allegations of rape with the utmost seriousness, but these cases present particular problems regarding proof because it happens between a husband and wife in private and there is often little or no evidence,” Louis Tobin, the group’s executive director, said in an email to this news organization.

Lanese said she believes such fears of he-said/she-said are “poppycock.”

“Anyone can say anything they want against another person,” she said. “That’s what juries are for.”

Marital exceptions to rape laws were the norm in the United States until the mid-1970s. But marital rape has been illegal in every state and the District of Columbia since 1993, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network.

Before 1986, marital rape was not illegal in Ohio unless the couple had a separation agreement or court filing to dissolve the marriage, according to a 1995 Cleveland Law Review article.

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Staff Writers Laura Bischoff and Lynn Hulsey contributed reporting.

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BODY CAM: Ohio police help save choking baby

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Police body cam video captured the moments Shaker Heights police officers saved a choking baby from a car parked in the middle of a busy intersection.

Incredible police body cam video captured the moments Shaker Heights police officers saved a choking baby from a car parked in the middle of a busy intersection.

 "Save my baby. That's all I was thinking about, save my baby," Tamica Pruitte said.

 Pruitte said it's a miracle two Shaker Heights police officers were there the moment her baby stopped breathing Tuesday morning. 

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"Thank God for them, because, if it wasn't for them, I'd probably still be out there doing CPR on her," Pruitte said.

 She said her 2-month-old baby, Tyra, began choking while riding in the backseat. Pruitte knew she had to get to her daughter quickly, so she stopped in the middle of the street.

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"I noticed she was choking on her milk out of her nose, so I put the hazards on and got out of the car and the police came out of nowhere and helped me with the back thrusts for her to breathe," she said. 

 When Shaker Heights Police Officers Ryan Sidders and Alex Oklander spotted the stopped car, they had no idea what was wrong.

 "We were thinking maybe the car broke down and needed a tow truck in route or something like that," Sidders said. "Then we see the mother exit the car and run to the other side really, really quickly."

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"The mom seemed kind of frantic and didn't really know what to do,' said Oklander. 

 Thankfully, the officers did know what to do. They grabbed the baby and put their training into action. Before long, Tyra began breathing.

 "Thank God, as soon as we heard that cough we were both kind of the like, phew," Sidders said. 

 It was a sigh of relief for the officers and for Pruitte, who knows how lucky she is.

 "It could've been my life and her life too today, because I had to stop in the middle of traffic," she said.

 According to the Mayo Clinic, if a child is choking in the backseat of a car stop the car as quickly as possible.

 If you're in traffic, turn on your hazards.

 If your car is moving, pull to the shoulder immediately because time is of the essence. Dial 911 while stopping the car and provide first aid until paramedics arrive.

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Lawmakers vote to cut state funding from cities using traffic cameras

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 5:55 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 6:02 PM

            Ohio lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to put up more hurdles for cities that want to use automated cameras to enforce traffic laws
Ohio lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to put up more hurdles for cities that want to use automated cameras to enforce traffic laws

Ohio lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to put up more hurdles for cities that want to use automated cameras to enforce traffic laws

House Bill 410 is the latest effort by state Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, to staunch use of the cameras that supporters say help make roads safer and opponents call modern-day speed traps designed to rake in revenue.

RELATED: Where drivers speed and run red lights most in Dayton

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in July that a previous restriction on red light cameras conflicted with cities’ home-rule authority. The bill would require cities to file traffic cases in municipal court, instead of using an administrative process.

Seitz said the bill will bring due process back to those who receive citations and test the cities’ claim that the cameras are in use for safety, not revenue. The bill calls for reducing state funding to cities by the amount they earn from camera citations.

The issue appears to have bi-partisan support, it passed the House 65-19 and now heads to the Senate.

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ACLU warns Ohio schools: We’re watching how you handle student protests

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 11:55 AM

Students at the Dayton Regional STEM School walked out of school Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in memory of the 17 individuals who died during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. WILL GARBE / STAFF
Students at the Dayton Regional STEM School walked out of school Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in memory of the 17 individuals who died during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. WILL GARBE / STAFF

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio issued an open letter to school administrators ahead of the student protests and walkouts expected across the nation Wednesday after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

The ACLU’s message was clear: We’re watching how schools handle these protests.

The full letter appears at the bottom of this story.

“As students plan walkouts to press for changes in social policy, please bear firmly in mind: The Constitution forbids disciplining students more harshly for politically motivated conduct,” ACLU of Ohio Executive Director J. Bennett Guess wrote. “The ACLU of Ohio may intervene if a student who leaves school as an act of political protest faces more severe punishment because of their political beliefs.”


» Can students get in trouble for #NeverAgain school walkouts?

» Hundreds of local students walk out, more planned

At schools across the state — including here in southwest Ohio — students have organized walkouts with a variety of intentions, all sparked by the slaughter of 17 people at the Parlkand, Fla., high school.

Some of the walkouts are geared expressly toward more strict gun control, while others are aimed at memorializing the dead in as non-political a manner as possible.

In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines that neither students nor teachers “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” but also recognized the need to prevent substantial disruption to the educational process.

Earlier this month, the Dayton Daily News used Ohio’s public records law to reveal how area superintendents debated whether or not students should be punished for walkouts.

Troy Superintendent Eric Herman said he would not punish Troy students who participate peacefully in walkouts, instead telling school principals not to physically stop the students and “escort them out if need be — supervise them — and return them into the buildings.”

» Emails show local schools wrestling with student protests after Florida shooting

Other schools decided discipline would need to be enforced should students choose to walk out. Miami Valley Career Technology Center Superintendent Nick Weldy told the Daily News he decided the district would enforce discipline measures.

The ACLU letter encourages school officials to “choose their most appropriate response to student activism.”

“This is why we are asking that, instead of focusing on discipline and punishment, school officials should seize this as a teachable moment by nurturing students’ commitment to social action by removing barriers to their participation,” Guess wrote, later adding, “Public schools are essential in educating young people about democracy, and that includes their role in enacting it.”

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