Multiple States File Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers
Recently, Amy Goodman with Democracy Now, conducted an interview with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding a recent lawsuit being filed by multiple states against opioid manufacturers and Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.1 Many authorities are referring to the current level of opioid use, abuse, and addiction as an epidemic. Drug overdose, much related to opioid use, is the number one cause of death of individuals under 50 years old in America, according to the Deputy Attorney General. Conservative estimates say that 62,000 people died in 2016 of drug overdose, which has been rapidly increasing over the last several years.
Opioid Drug Epidemic
This drug epidemic is finally being acknowledged aside, and without a criminal judgement. Many of those suffering drug addiction and subsequent drug overdose are individuals “appropriately” prescribed opiates. This accounts for many of the elderly individuals, who make up one of the fastest growing groups of drug addicts, for just this reason. Younger individuals are commonly becoming addicted to their opioid pain prescriptions and then switching to heroin as a cheaper and more accessible alternative once they are no longer able to obtain prescriptions.
More and More States Filing Suits
Ohio, Mississippi, Washington, Illinois, New York, California, and the city of Chicago have all filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, and there are likely more suits coming soon. The lawsuits are very similar in type and rationale to the tobacco suits of the 1990’s, which settled $206 billion within 46 in 1998. The accusation of the suits claim that millions have been spent on campaigns that “trivialize the risks of opioids while overstating the benefits of using them for chronic pain.”
The lawsuit is coming out of a desperate need to curb opioid prescribing, as well as limited support from the federal government for a solution to this growing epidemic. The concerns for the plaintiffs moving forward is that unlike the tobacco industry, the opioid manufacturers are ultimately regulated by the FDA, which may heavily impact the court rulings. However, the lawsuits are likely to increase awareness of the need to further limit opioid prescribing and support drug addiction rehabilitation services.
Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.