On average, nine New York City residents die every day from opioid-related deaths. Thanks to a mounting opioid crisis, this statistic seems to be a mere drop in the bucket. In fact, by current estimates, approximately 200,000 Americans have died over the last two decades from opioid-related deaths.
New York Attorney General Fighting Back
OxyContin is a pain-control drug manufactured by Purdue Pharma. New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, strongly believes the number of lives lost could have been significantly less had Purdue Pharma been honest with physicians and patients about the addictive nature of OxyContin.
There is also a belief that the family behind OxyContin, the Sackler family, not only were aware of the addictive nature, but in fact went out of their way to encourage physicians to prescribe OxyContin when it may have been unnecessary.
Tying OxyContin to the Opioid Crisis
Since the mid-90s, doctors have been prescribing opioids for pain management. In many cases, these drugs are prescribed after a surgical procedure. Unfortunately, thanks to their addictive nature, people who once used the drugs, as prescribed, became addicted. When their physicians were no longer willing to provide prescriptions for OxyContin, their patients turned to more readily- available, and often less expensive alternatives including heroin and fentanyl.
While the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit is a civil suit, they accuse the Sackler family of profiting from the suffering and death of others. The purpose of the suit, like others around the country, is to help states defray the cost of treatment for addiction. While it may be too late to help those who have lost their lives, it may still be possible to reach the more than 130 lives per day who may be lost if they do not obtain treatment.
The opioid crisis has impacted families and friends in nearly every community. Holding the parties responsible for the current drain on our system, and the unnecessary loss of so many lives is a first-step towards getting this issue under control and raising awareness across the United States.