Oxycontin, which can be crushed and snorted, and is about as addictive as heroin, has caused hundreds of deaths and a lot of heartache, and I’m glad that someone is at long last being held accountable.
I for one was very heartened by yesterday’s successful prosecution of Purdue, the company that markets oxycontin, as well as three senior executives with the company. In addition to paying over 600 million dollars in fines, each executive has been ordered to complete 400 hours of community service, and as well sentenced to three years of probation.
Billions Made on Lies
The judge found that the company, and the three defendants, were guilty for intentionally misleading doctors and pharmacists as to the addictive potential of oxycontin, and for having made billions of dollars off of this deception. It didn’t take long for people to realize that this reportedly less addictive medication, sold as a 12 hour timed release capsule, could be broken and snorted and created a euphoric high similar to heroin.
A lot of kids especially soon found that the easiest high came out of the family medicine cabinet, and because the drug is as addictive as heroin, a lot of lives have been destroyed as a result. The company had announced that that in response to the abuse potential of the medication, that they were planning on releasing a new version of the timed release medication, but that never appeared, after years of promises.
As a recovering opiate addict, I know just how addictive and destructive a pharmaceutical addiction can become, and the makers of these drugs need to at the very least be forthright and honest about the associated risks to the medications they sell. I’m not saying that these are "bad" drugs, although I do think that they are over prescribed, but if doctors are led to believe that they are being given a safer alternative, and their prescriptions lead to the addiction, tragedy and deaths of many, then who is ultimately responsible?
It’s saddening to think that the greed of a few has caused the heartache for so many, and although I’m glad the execs got punished, I wish they had at least received jail time for their deception. I hope that the sentencing resonates through the pharmaceutical industry and that these companies stand up and take notice of what occurred today. It is wrong to mislead the public to sell more drugs, and it is wrong to under inform doctors about the abuse potential of a medication.
I wonder how many lives could have been spared if only they had been honest from the start, and I wonder how these men can sleep at night knowing the destruction they caused for so many.