Oklahoma AG Sues Pharmaceutical Companies Over Opioid Addiction

Friday, June 30th 2017, 5:08 pm
By: News On 6

The fight against opioid addiction is intensifying.

Friday, the Oklahoma Attorney General filed suit against four opioid companies. The suit blames false advertisements for thousands of deaths.

Every week, experts say at least 18 Oklahomans die either from their body shutting down from withdrawal or overdose.

While experts support the suit, they say even more needs to be done to help save lives.

"We just can't let companies dehumanize the population in the way these pharmaceuticals that we're suing have,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. “You almost feel like these deaths are statistics on a spreadsheet."

Hunter filed suit against four opioid companies: Purdue Pharm, Allergen, Cephalon, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

"Today, we begin a fight to hold these companies accountable and slow the opioid crisis gripping the state and build a healthier Oklahoma,” he stated.

The lawsuit claims the companies' fraudulent marketing of the products has led to a generation of addicts, convicts and deaths.

Hunter says the problem keeps getting worse.

"Most people can no longer get their medicines form a doctor so they are going to the streets, and that includes heroin and things that are coming from other places,” explained Beverly Moore of Counseling and Recovery Services of Oklahoma.

Counseling and Recovery Services of Oklahoma helps people through their opioid addictions. Moore sees how hard it is to kick the habit.

"For some people, that first pill becomes the addictions,” she said. “So, it's important to not take those medications."

Moore is thankful the attorney general took this step but says so much more needs to be done. She also cautions other people to take charge.

"As a patient, and say, ‘I don't want an opioid is there something else you can give me?’" she advised.

The state is asking that the companies pay out damages and penalties to the tune of several billions of dollars.

Oklahoma is the fourth state to file such a suit.