Fortunes are at stake? –
Sept. 8, 2020 – The opioid epidemic is not over. Even as Covid-19 rages, opioid-related deaths continue to devastate communities across our states. In New Hampshire, overdose deaths rose in April and May over last year’s levels. In the first four months of 2020, Rhode Island overdose deaths jumped 29% from the same period last year and 38% from the same period in 2018. Opioid addiction remains a persistent, lethal menace. We just learned a big reason why the opioid crisis was allowed to get so bad. The Guardian recently unearthed new details in the origin story of the opioid crisis. In 2006, career prosecutors at the US Department of Justice drafted a memo summarizing alleged criminal behavior by the major opioid maker Purdue Pharma. The memo, the culmination of a four-year investigation of Purdue’s opioid marketing and other business practices, was based on a review of millions of internal documents. The memo concluded that Purdue and its executives participated in mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy in pushing opioids, and recommended indictment.
But we still don’t know the whole story, and we need to in order to avoid a repeat of the deceptive marketing practices and corporate greed that’s cost the United States hundreds of thousands of lives.
Action in 2006 could have made an enormous difference. Bringing felony charges could have brought real accountability to executives who ran the scheme. More importantly, it might have forced the company to end its deceptive marketing practices, which contributed to millions of people becoming addicted to opioids. It could have saved the lives of an untold number of Americans.