On Thursday January 19, 2017 the city of Everett, WA filed a lawsuit against the makers of the prescription painkiller OxyContin. The city is accusing Purdue Pharma of playing a major role in fueling the opioid epidemic that has claimed the lives of countless residents.
“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,” Everett mayor Ray Stephanson said in the lawsuit. “Their drive for profit caused this epidemic, which has overwhelmed our treatment and emergency systems.”
This civil, the first of its kind, is asking for the company to cover the costs necessary to handle the current crisis in addition to additional punitive damages. It accuses Purdue Pharma of allowing their product to flow into the city without any regard for the wellbeing of its community.
“Purdue placed profit over the health and safety of our community, and we can see the tragic results of that decision throughout Everett,” Stephanson said. “We’ve already invested significant taxpayer dollars to deal with impacts of opioid addiction in our city, and we know that substantial additional resources will be needed to deal with this crisis in the coming years.”
Everett officials have stated that the drug is affecting citizens of all kinds, regardless of their background.
“We only have a 16-bed detox center in our county right now… but on any given day we have 10 times that many people detoxing in our jail,” said Meghan Pembroke, a spokesman for the city. “The scope of the problem is so big that without additional resources, we don’t feel like we’re going to make significant progress.”
Back in 2007, Purdue Pharma agreed to pay over $600 million in fines to minimize the risks of OxyContin, the drug that has generated billions of dollars in profits since it was first introduced to the market in May of 1996. In 2010, they released a new version of the pill that is more difficult to crush, something drug abuses do in order to snort or inject the product.
Drug addiction has claimed the lives of far too many people. At Schick Shadel Hospital, we have worked for more than 80 years to provide people struggling with addiction a way to fight back, and have helped more than 80,000 people reclaim control of their lives. Call us at (800) 272-8464 if you would like to learn more about the services we offer, or fill out our online form to send us a confidential message.