The Opioid Crisis is Serious. So Are We.

December 10, 2018

In 2016, Barnes County, North Dakota had a population of roughly 11,000 residents. And over a year period, it’s estimated that for each of those people, 528.40 Morphine milligram equivalents were being dispensed. That’s as many as 35 OxyContin pills per person.

Even more troubling, compared to the rest of the country, those numbers are low. Every day, 650,000 more opioid prescriptions are being written. It’s happening across the county. Communities are being flooded.

How did this all happen? For years, drug companies misled the public about the effects of opioids. Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1996. Dr. Paul D. Goldenheim, Purdue’s Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Worldwide Research and Development, claimed that instances of addiction resulting from opioid use were rare. This was a lie. The CDC has found that after taking opioids for 10 days, the odds of someone continuing to take the drug a year later are 20%. If they take opioids for 30 days, those odds rise to over 35%.

Goldenheim and other Perdue executives were eventually prosecuted and fined for their statements. But by and large, it’s our communities that have been paying the real price. They’re paying for medical care for those suffering from addiction and those who have overdosed; rehabilitation services for those who are trying to overcome their addiction; social services and medical care for children whose parents are addicted to opioids, and the costs resulting from legal services, law enforcement, and litigation. In recent years, the total economic cost as a result of the opioid epidemic has been estimated at $78.5 billion.

Fears Nachawati is fighting back and taking action to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable for the destruction they have caused. Our team represents more than 200,000 individuals across three dozen counties, cities, and Indian tribes. Our model is simple: we advance the costs. And if we lose, we pay, not you.

Together, we can make Big Pharma pay and ensure this never happens again.

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