Judge: Opioid distribution data not for public consumption

CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that local governments cannot make public federal government data about where prescription opioids were distributed.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is providing the information to state and local governments to use in their lawsuits against companies that make, distribute and sell the drugs at the center of a national overdose and addiction crisis.

News organizations are requesting the data through public records requests.

Cleveland-based Judge Dan Polster, who is overseeing more than 800 of the lawsuits, ruled Thursday the data cannot be made public.

He says it contains trade secrets for the companies and is exempt from federal Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Washington Post and HD Media, owner of The Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, asked the court to allow the information to be released.

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