Brian Mann

The Trump administration introduced new addiction treatment guidelines Thursday that give physicians more flexibility to prescribe a drug to patients struggling with opioid addiction.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

When Ashwani Sheoran showed up for early morning shifts at pharmacies in rural Michigan wearing his white Walmart smock, he often found customers waiting, desperate for bottles of pain pills.

"I see my patients, 15 to 20, already lined up to get prescriptions filled for morphine sulfate, oxycodone and other straight narcotics," he said.

This was in 2012 when the prescription opioid epidemic was exploding, killing tens of thousands of Americans every year.

Updated at 1:22 p.m. ET

Members of the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma's CEO say they did nothing wrong during the years their company illegally marketed Oxycontin and other opioids.

"There's nothing I can find that I would have done differently," said Dr. Kathe Sackler who served on Purdue's board for nearly 20 years.

One of the world's most influential corporate consulting firms, McKinsey & Company, says it regrets efforts to boost sales of OxyContin and other highly addictive opioids.

The rare apology follows revelations in documents made public last month for the first time that showed McKinsey working closely with Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family who sat on Purdue's board.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A new rule that took effect this year in New York state is designed to stop the illegal sale of black bear parts for use in Asian medicine and cooking. While the sale of parts is still allowed, hunters will now have to document that they were taken legally.

The tiny village of Keene, N.Y., in the Adirondack Mountains is part of a trade network that supplies Asian apothecaries and restaurants from New York City to Seoul, South Korea.