MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN THE NEWS: County Sues Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors

Montgomery County recently filed a lawsuit against more than a dozen opioid manufacturers and distributors, joining a long list of municipalities nationwide amid the country’s growing opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, alleges that companies deceptively marketed opioids as non-addictive and refused to report suspicious sales of the drugs, leading to “unprecedented opioid addiction.”

The companies named in the lawsuit include: Purdue Pharma, Cephalon, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Endo International, Endo Health Solutions and Endo Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Insys Therapeutics, Mallinckrodt and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp.

Several of the companies either denied the allegations or said they were working to stop suspicious drug orders and to ensure that the drugs they manufactured and distributed were used appropriately.

County Extends School Year Due to Weather

June 12 was scheduled to be the final day of the school year for Montgomery County students, but a rough winter has forced schools officials to move the date back a day.

The move to extend the year came after a recent letter from the school system’s superintendent Jack Smith, who said that the calendar hit a tipping point after icy weather conditions on Feb. 7 closed school for the day.

Smith said June 14 and 15 are available as makeup days if there are more weather cancellations. If even more days are needed, schools are also able to use Mar. 26 and 27.

However, under state law, the county is not able to extend the year into late June due to Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order instructing schools to start their calendars after Labor Day and end by June 15.

Citing Hogan’s order, county education officials adopted a new academic calendar that could potentially give students a shorter spring break next year, shortening the vacation from 10 days to six.

Teachers Look to Extend P.E. Curriculum

Montgomery County Public Schools rank near the bottom statewide when it comes to physical education time for elementary-age students, according to the Maryland State Department of Education.

In an attempt to rectify this, Matt Slatkin and Shannon Spencer, two physical education teachers at Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington, are lobbying for more student exercise.

Slatkin and Spencer are pushing for a statewide bill that would require state school districts to set aside 150 minutes per week for elementary-age students to exercise. Recess could account for 60 minutes of this total, but physical education classes would make up the remaining 90 minutes.

As it stands, data collected by the department in January showed that the county’s elementary school students were getting between 30 and 60 minutes of weekly physical education time; however, no other jurisdiction in the state had schools providing less than 40 minutes of P.E. per week.

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Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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