The city council of Everett, Washington, has found itself dealing with problems related to the illegal use and sale of OxyContin, a strong narcotic painkiller. According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, Everett has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, a manufacturer of OxyContin. In the lawsuit, the city of Everette claims that Purdue Pharma is ignoring the fact that the drug, and its illegal use, is spiraling out of control because it allows Purdue to “reap large and obscene profits.” The mayor of Everett, Ray Stephanson, commented on the OxyContin problem in his city.
“There is clear evidence that Purdue ignored their responsibility to stop the diversion of OxyContin into the black market, directly leading to the heroin crisis on our streets today. Their drive for profit caused this epidemic, which has overwhelmed our treatment and emergency systems. We are taking a stand, and holding Purdue accountable for their actions.”
Hil Kaman, a public health and safety director in Everett, also commented on the OxyContin and opioid problem facing the city.
“Our systems have been overwhelmed by this crisis, and our community lacks the capacity to respond to and treat the individuals who are suffering from addiction in Everett. Every City department is dealing with the effects of rampant drug use on our streets, and our neighborhoods and business owners feel the impact as well. Purdue must take responsibility for the devastating consequences of their negligence.”
The entire statement that has been released by the city council of Everett can be found here.
This is not the first time that Purdue Pharma has been sued. In fact, the OxyContin manufacturer has had a lawsuit pressed against it over 100 times in the 20-year span that Purdue has been in business. This lawsuit is unique, though. It is the only one against Purdue that labels them as responsible for the criminality of OxyContin. Purdue elected not to comment directly about the lawsuit but they did speak about the illegal use of OxyContin.
“We share public officials’ concerns about the opioid crisis and we are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions.”
Last July, the Los Angeles Times investigated the illegal prescribing of OxyContin in Los Angeles. The investigation discovered that in the past a “clinic” was established as a front for dispensing the narcotic painkiller. At Purdue, an investigation of their own was started due to the large amount of pills going out of the makeshift clinic. The member of Purdue discovered a building that was clearly not a medical facility. She told the higher ups at Purdue about what she discovered and that the DEA should be called. Her concerns were ignored and over 1 million pills had been funneled out of the building.
Trying to figure out a way to curtail the illegal use of OxyContin, Purdue reformulated the painkiller in 2010. The new manufacturing process made it much harder to abuse the drug. Since the drug was not getting the illegal drug users high like it did in the past, the drug users turned to using heroin. Everett lawyers that filed suit against Purdue made sure to include in their lawsuit that the current heroin problem “is directly attributable to Purdue’s wrongful and tortious conduct.”
In order to help with the illegal drug problem in Everett, social workers have been assigned to work in conjunction with police. One of these social workers, Staci McCole, commented on the drug crisis.
“A lot of individuals we are coming across have worked, have had a job, and somehow they were introduced to prescription drugs.”
Everett is one of many cities in the United States that is trying to figure out how to deal with an increase in the illegal use of OxyContin and the eventual use of heroin by former OxyContin addicts.
Do you think the city of Everett will prevail in their lawsuit against Purdue Pharma?
[Featured Image by Toby Talbot/AP Images]