OxyContin Creators Being Sued For Causing Deadly Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic has reached huge proportions across the United States. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse believes that at least 115 people die daily as a result of opioid overdose. Many people who become addicted to opioids don’t start off shooting up heroin. Rather, people become addicted to opioids thanks to legitimate doctor’s prescriptions.

However, since opioids are so highly addictive, many people are unable to stop using the substance once their prescriptions run out. While some continue to get a hold of prescription pills to fuel their addiction, others turn to cheaper alternatives like heroin. Some of the deadlier substances include fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that is highly concentrated. Sometimes, street drugs can be tainted with fentanyl, which can lead to overdoses. In other cases, the use of prescription pills or heroin alone can cause death.

In light of the opioid epidemic, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is suing the creators of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma LP and Purdue Pharma Inc. The basis of the lawsuit is that the company knew that the pills were highly addictive, but didn’t disclose the information to doctors. Instead, the company encouraged doctors to prescribe their pills, which the lawsuit alleges has led to the company having a “significant role in causing the opioid epidemic,” according to the Independent.

Coffman elaborated on the aims of the lawsuit, focusing on those whose lives have been destroyed or taken away from them as a result of irresponsible marketing of OxyContin.

“Purdue’s habit-forming medications coupled with their reckless marketing have robbed children of their parents, families of their sons and daughters, and destroyed the lives of our friends, neighbours, and co-workers. While no amount of money can bring back loved ones, it can compensate for the enormous costs brought about by Purdue’s intentional misconduct.”

The lawsuit goes on to allege that Purdue not only failed to properly inform doctors of the addictive nature of OxyContin, but that it also “exaggerated the benefits.” Worst of all, the company is accused of “advis[ing] healthcare professionals that they were violating their Hippocratic Oath and failing their patients unless they treated pain symptoms with opioids.”

At the same time, Purdue’s former chairman and president, Richard Sackler, has come up with his own solution to the opioid epidemic that he reportedly helped to cause: a new pill. It is a form of buprenorphine, a “mild opioid” that can help with withdrawals, detailed the Washington Post. But the irony isn’t going unnoticed, as some are infuriated that Sackler first profited billions off OxyContin, and is now trying to make even more money with a “solution” to the opioid epidemic.