BLACK RIVER, Australia (AP) — Half a world away from the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, Australia is facing a crisis of its own, with skyrocketing rates of opioid prescriptions and related deaths. The country has failed to heed the lessons of the U.S., and has been slow to respond to years of warnings from worried health experts. The crisis comes as drug companies — facing scrutiny for their aggressive marketing of opioids in America — have turned their focus abroad, working around marketing regulations to push the painkillers in other countries. In dozens of interviews, doctors, researchers and Australians whose lives have been upended by opioids described a plight that now stretches from coast to coast. Australia’s death rate from opioids has more than doubled in just over a decade. And health experts worry that without urgent action, Australia is on track for an even steeper spike […]