Brian Mann

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And it's not just the national Capitol. State capitols across the country are also on guard this weekend. And for more on that, we turn to NPR's Brian Mann.

Good morning, Brian.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: Hi, Lulu.

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

For the first time, a medication regime has been found effective for some patients with meth addiction in a large, placebo-controlled trial.

It's welcome news for those working with the growing number of people struggling with meth addiction.

"It's progress and it's quite significant," says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Addiction, which funded the two-year clinical trial involving roughly 400 patients.

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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.

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One of the nation's top retailers Walmart faces growing legal and financial peril stemming from claims its pharmacy chain helped fuel America's opioid epidemic.

The Justice Department Tuesday filed a civil suit accusing the company of failing to stop "hundreds of thousands" of improper opioid transactions at its warehouses and pharmacies.

The DOJ is seeking penalties it says could run into the billions of dollars.

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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.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday that family gatherings over the holidays should be limited to fewer than 10 people.

Fauci made the comment while appearing via video link on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's coronavirus briefing.

Cuomo asked Fauci for his view on New York's emergency rule, implemented last month, capping private in-home gatherings at 10 participants.

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A federal bankruptcy judge approved a controversial $8.3 billion settlement late Tuesday between Purdue Pharma and the Department of Justice.

The deal first unveiled last month stems from the company's decades-long manufacture and marketing of Oxycontin and other highly addictive opioid medications.

Under terms approved by Judge Robert Drain, Purdue Pharma will plead guilty to three felony counts of criminal wrongdoing.

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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.