Cost Of U.S. Opioid Epidemic Since 2001 Is $1 Trillion And Climbing

The opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.

The report by Altarum, a nonprofit group that studies the health economy, examined CDC mortality data through June of last year. The greatest financial cost of the opioid epidemic, according to the report, is in lost earnings and productivity losses to employers. Early deaths and substance abuse disorders also take a toll on local, state and federal government through lost tax revenue.

PG&E Says Small Fire at California Nuclear Plant Didn’t Affect Safety

Pacific Gas & Electric says a small fire at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power station in California did not affect plant safety.

According to PG&E spokesman John Lindsey, the fire that occurred last week at the Central Coast plant was the result of overheating of a motorized pump that is used to clean kelp and ocean debris.

California Insurance Department reveals loss estimate on 2017 wildfires

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones revealed that insurers have received nearly 45,000 insurance claims totaling more than $11.79 billion in losses after a spell of wildfires affected California in the last three months of 2017.

Thirty-two thousand (32,000) homes, 4,300 businesses, and 8,200 vehicles, watercraft, farm vehicles and other equipment have been destroyed.

Sonoma County to Sue PG&E Over October Fires, Seeking up to $25 Million in Damages

(TNS) - Sonoma County officials said Tuesday that they will sue PG&E over the October wildfires, becoming the first government entity to take on the utility giant over its alleged role in the historic infernos.

The county is seeking in its planned lawsuit tens of millions of dollars in damages to clear debris, rebuild infrastructure and develop safety measures to prevent future disasters.

The move came about a month after the Board of Supervisors hired a group of private attorneys to represent them at a hearing to consolidate more than 100 similar suits from burned-out residents under a single San Francisco judge.

More Cameras on California Mountain Peaks to Boost Fire Protection

San Diego County, Calif. authorities say new high-definition cameras will be installed on mountain peaks to bolster fire protection, and an existing computer network that links fire stations throughout the region will be upgraded.

The Union-Tribune reports officials want to boost by five the number of cameras that use an established network that allows firefighting agencies to closely monitor remote areas.

California insurance commissioner issues formal notice to insurers on mudslide coverage for homeowners

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued a formal notice to all property and casualty insurance companies on Jan. 29 regarding homeowners’ claims from the recent mudslides and debris flows.

The notice acknowledges that homeowners’ and certain commercial property insurance policies frequently have exclusions for losses from mudflow, debris flow, mudslide, landslide or other similar events. Under California insurance law, the exclusions are not enforceable if the facts establish that the wildfire, which is a covered peril, was the “efficient proximate cause” of the subsequent flowing, mudflow, debris flow, mudslide, landslide, or other similar events.

Conflicting California Mudslide Warnings Were Issued, Report Shows

In the days before mudslides devastated California neighborhoods, officials released conflicting evacuation orders that left some hard-hit neighborhoods out of the warning zone, a newspaper reported.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office had posted on its website and on Facebook a list of voluntary and mandatory evacuation areas for the coastal town of Montecito, the Los Angeles Times reported.