Newly Released Federal Database Shows The Extent Of The Opioid Epidemic

Stunning new data was released this week as part of an ongoing series of lawsuits that have been brought against opioid makers. As reported in the Washington Post, detailed information from a previously unreleased Drug Enforcement Administration database shows the scale of this addictive drug crisis in ways we have not previously seen.

The database was compiled from sales and distribution data provided to the DEA by the opioid makers themselves. It contains detailed info on where opioid pills were shipped and purchased down to a town by town level. Opioid manufacturers fought for over a year to keep this database secret, but a ruling by an Ohio federal court saw the information released to the public this week.

This newly released data shines a spotlight on just how enormous the opioid epidemic has become. Some key facts and figures that researchers have uncovered so far show:

  • Yearly opioid shipments increased around 50% from 2006 to 2012.
  • The total number of pills shipped, over 76 billion, would have been enough to supply every person living in the United States with 36 pills each year.
  • In some states, such as West Virginia, the number of pills distributed each year per person was even higher. Each year, every West Virginian could have been supplied with over 60 opioid pills because of the high number of opioids sold in the state.
  • Focusing down to the city level, the numbers look even more outrageous in some rural locations. In Norton, Virginia, a town with a population of roughly 4,000 people, enough opioids were sold to supply each person with 306 pills each year!

Over the last two decades, the questionable sales and prescriptions of opioids like oxycodone have generated massive profits for the companies producing them. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives after becoming addicted to those same drugs. This latest release of disturbing information just further illustrates how large a crisis the opioid epidemic has become.

Martin Walker Earns Texas’ Largest Medical Malpractice Verdict in 2018

Martin Walker Earns Texas’ Largest Medical Malpractice Verdict in 2018


$43M gross negligence verdict named to Texas Lawyer list of top verdicts

TYLER, Texas – Trial law firm Martin Walker has earned honors for winning the largest medical malpractice verdict in Texas in 2018 for the $43.32 million jury award against Tyler-based East Texas Medical Center and one of its doctors. The editors of Texas Lawyerincluded the verdict in the magazine’s listing of Top Verdicts and Settlements, 10thEdition, based on research gathered by VerdictSearch.


A jury found ETMC grossly negligent for allowing Dr. Gary Boyd to treat 61-year-old Billy Pierce, despite having been placed on probation by the Texas Medical Board. Mr. Pierce was admitted in April 2014 with stomach pain and vomiting.


During the trial, Martin Walker attorneys argued the hospital bylaws should have prevented Dr. Boyd from practicing at the facility. Testimony showed that Dr. Boyd diagnosed Mr. Pierce with an abnormality he said would make surgery to remove bile duct stones impossible. For more than a month, Mr. Pierce was in a medically induced coma during which time Dr. Boyd and the hospital abandoned him, according to testimony. Once the hospital sought a second opinion, a new doctor rejected Dr. Boyd’s diagnosis and operated without complication.


Jurors agreed that Dr. Boyd’s improper care led to the loss of Mr. Pierce’s quality of life and his ability to provide for his family. The $43 million verdict included $18.57 million for past and future pain, anguish, loss of earning capacity, and medical care and expenses. The jury also awarded $25 million in punitive damages, after concluding the hospital’s conduct involved an extreme risk of potential harm to others.


Mr. Pierce was represented by Martin Walker name partners Reid Martin and Jack Walker and attorney Marisa Schouten. The case is Billy Pierce v. East Texas Medical Center and Dr. Gary Boyd and the ETMC Digestive Disease Center, Cause No. 16-0853-C in the 241stDistrict Court in Smith County.


Each year, VerdictSearch conducts a comprehensive review to produce the list of top verdicts in Texas. The full list is published in the July 2019 issue of Texas Lawyer.


Martin Walker PC is a Tyler-based law firm with significant trial expertise representing individuals and businesses in high-stakes litigation, including medical malpractice, catastrophic injuries involving 18-wheeler accidents, oilfield injuries, wrongful death, and product liability. For more information visit:


Media Contact:

Mark Annick