Opiod Epidemic Still Taking Its Toll
Sadly, Americans continue to die from opioids by the tens of thousands. There is no end in sight for the opioid epidemic as it devastates states and communities across the country.
According to a recent article in the Connecticut Post, in July of this year, a Columbus, Ohio area coroner reported nine overdose deaths in just 48 hours. Over six days in August and September, Norwalk, Connecticut police responded to eight overdoses, five of which were fatal. In August in Pennsylvania’s York County, there were eight suspected overdose deaths over one week and four in 24 hours.
Earlier this month, Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, the company that made billions selling the painkiller OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy after reaching a tentative settlement with many of the state governments suing it over the toll of opioids. The drugmaker has begun a multibillion-dollar plan to settle thousands of lawsuits over the opioid epidemic by transforming itself in bankruptcy court into a business and charitable organization hybrid.
It remains to be seen as to whether Purdue can pull it off, especially since about half of states are opposed to the deal. Several states plan to object to the settlement in bankruptcy court and to continue litigation in other courts against members of the Sackler family who own the company. Filing for bankruptcy was the first step of a plan to provide about $10 billion to state and local governments in helping them clean up the damage done by prescription painkillers and illegal opioids.
The Sackler family had been in talks to settle cases brought by about 2,600 state and local governments against Purdue and other opioid companies. The billionaire family issued a statement saying they hope the bankruptcy reorganization process will end their ownership of Purdue and “ensure its assets are dedicated for the public benefit.”
However, state and local governments are not waiting on potential Purdue settlement money before taking action as they promote policies that connect overdose survivors to drug treatment, significantly expanding distribution of the life-saving overdose-reversal drug naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) and improving oversight of opioid prescribing.
Over the last two decades, opioids have killed about 400,000 Americans. Drug overdose deaths in the United States have increased year after year for decades, reaching a peak of 70,000 in 2017. The number of deaths fell slightly last year.
Representing The Injured in Connecticut
While awareness about the opioid epidemic has reached a national audience, it’s important to remember that the suffering affects individuals and communities close to home. Those responsible for pushing these harmful drugs, including negligent healthcare professionals and others, should be held accountable if they failed to adhere to an acceptable standard of care when prescribing and administering them. If this applies to you or a loved one, the team at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers want to hear from you. Call us at (203) 397-1283 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.