CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Charleston courtroom morphed into a chemistry class Tuesday as a witness in a landmark opioid crisis trial broke down opioids to their molecules and explained how opioid use disorder takes hold of drug users.
Dr. Corey Waller, a doctor who specializes in addiction medicine, said opioids work by activating opioid receptors within a nerve. He said when taking heroin, hydro- or oxycodone, dopamine levels in a body increase 2,150%, which permanently harms the body and leads to substance use disorder and disruptive behavior that comes with it.
The trial is the result of a civil lawsuit filed by Huntington and Cabell County in 2017 accusing three opioid distributors of fueling the opioid crisis in the area after shipping more than 80 million opioid pills to the area over an eight-year period.
The “Big Three” defendants — AmerisourceBergen Drug Co., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. — defended themselves Tuesday by pointing at flaws in their relationship with the Drug Enforcement Administration, arguing they did not set supply quotas or prescribe the pills and once the pills were delivered, they were out of their control. Beyond that, they had no control or involvement with illicit street drugs, which are the current cause of the crisis…