Thanksgiving is now behind us, and we hope you made it through the holiday drug and alcohol-free. At Celebrate Hope, we understand how challenging it is to navigate holidays in recovery. Every holiday celebrated clean and sober is a remarkable accomplishment worth acknowledging.
We wanted to take a moment to follow up on a previous story covered recently on our blog regarding Purdue Pharma—the maker of OxyContin. As we shared in an article last month, Purdue agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges regarding its role in the American opioid addiction epidemic. As part of the settlement with the Justice Department, the pharmaceutical giant also agreed to face penalties of about $8.3 billion.
Purdue pleaded guilty to the criminal charges two days before Thanksgiving, The New York Times reports. During the November 24th hearing, Purdue admitted to misleading the federal government about OxyContin sales.
Purdue’s chairman, Steve Miller, conceded that the company was marketing the potent narcotic to over 100 physicians suspected of illegally prescribing the drug. What’s more, Purdue pleaded guilty to paying doctors illegal kickbacks for prescribing OxyContin. Thus concludes the federal government’s case against the pharmaceutical company.
“The abuse and diversion of prescription opioids has contributed to a national tragedy of addiction and deaths,” said Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy attorney general. “Today’s convictions underscore the department’s commitment to its multipronged strategy for defeating the opioid crisis.”
We want to remind our readers that there are thousands of pending lawsuits against Purdue. Purdue’s guilty plea does not shield the company from the suits brought by state and local governments. Moreover, Purdue is just one company that contributed to the opioid epidemic; many companies had a hand in the more than 450,000 American deaths since 1999.
Many Players Involved in the Opioid Addiction Epidemic
Just as Purdue turned a blind eye to the devastation caused by OxyContin, so too did other narcotic makers and the companies that distribute such drugs. Pharmacies and the companies that distribute to them are also facing thousands of lawsuits.
Johnson & Johnson and three drug distributors are hashing out a $26 billion deal with state and local governments for their hand in the opioid addiction epidemic, according to The New York Times. The distributors involved in the negotiations are McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen. If an agreement is reached, it will shield the four companies from future lawsuits by these governments.
Prescription opioids had a hand in more than 232,000 American deaths from 1999 to 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than three-quarters of the nation’s opioids shipped to pharmacies came from the three distributors listed above, the article reports. If approved by the governments involved in the lawsuits, most of the $26 billion would go towards treatment and prevention in areas severely impacted by opioids.
“The deal gets money to all of the communities in the United States that are suffering from insult upon injury, first from the opioid epidemic and now with COVID as well,” said Paul J. Hanly Jr., an attorney who represents numerous small governments. “We believe it’s in the best interest of these communities to begin receiving a payment stream. We looked at the finances of these companies and believe the numbers are now appropriate.”
California Faith-Based Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one struggles with opioid use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope to learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment program. Our team helps men and women break the cycle of addiction and begin anew. We rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with evidence-based therapies to get individuals on the path of recovery.