opioids (copy)

Testifying in defense of Johnson & Johnson, University of Miami Professor Bruce Bagley said counterfeit opioids and other drugs laced with fentanyl have increasingly been smuggled into the United States. Tulsa World file

NORMAN — An expert witness on illicit drug trafficking testified Thursday that he believes illegal drugs smuggled in from Mexico and China and diverted prescription drugs are among the “primary drivers” of the opioid crisis in Oklahoma and the United States.

Testifying in defense of Johnson & Johnson, University of Miami Professor Bruce Bagley said counterfeit opioids and other drugs laced with fentanyl have increasingly been smuggled into the United States in recent years and that the purity of the drugs and addition of fentanyl has made them more deadly than illegal drugs Americans normally saw in the past.

Many of the counterfeit opioids entering the United States appear indistinguishable from the prescription drugs they are manufactured to look like, Bagley said.

Thursday was day 31 of a trial in which the state of Oklahoma has accused Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries of contributing to the state’s opioid epidemic through false and deceptive marketing that understated the addiction and overdose risks of opioids while overstating their therapeutic benefits.

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