With an eye on combating the opioid crisis, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has declared that the Department of Justice will provide full support to the hundreds of lawsuits filed by various cities and counties across the country against drug makers for their alleged role in fueling the epidemic. On Feb. 27, 2018, Sessions announced that the Department of Justice intends to file a statement of interest in this sprawling consolidation of “high-stakes lawsuit,” which is being overseen by a federal judge in Ohio.
The latest announcement comes at a time when the Trump administration is busy intensifying the war against addictive drugs, which have claimed millions of lives in recent years. Legally, the statement of interest is an option reserved for cases that directly impact the federal government’s interests, such as national security and diplomacy.
Through opioid lawsuits, complainants are seeking billions of dollars in compensation from big names in the industry that include Teva Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, McKesson, Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson and Walgreens. The lawsuits have alleged that pharma majors are downplaying the addictive nature of opioids by resorting to deceptive and aggressive marketing tactics. Expressing concern over the huge financial burden on the federal government due to the opioid menace, Sessions said that in the next three years the tax payers would have to shell out an additional sum of $500 billion.
Addressing a press conference, Sessions pledged to bring the guilty to book and announced the creation of a task force to pursue opioid makers. He assured people that his department would use criminal penalties to hold law breakers responsible for their ruthless actions. The attorney general said the government would take a hard look at doctors who overprescribe opioid painkillers, which can lead to addiction and abuse of illegal drugs like heroin.
In a separate remark at the National Association of Attorneys General, Sessions called the opioid epidemic “beyond imagining.” Attorneys general from seven states, including Mike DeWine of Ohio, participated in the conference. They believe that the recent move of the Justice Department will be a “game-changer,” considering the way things have been functioning currently.
Kicking menace of opioid addiction
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600,000 people died from drug overdoses between 2000 and 2016. In fact, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. With countless prescriptions for all kinds of addictive pain relievers written by physicians nationwide, more than 2.1 million Americans had opioid use disorder in 2016. Representing 5 percent of the world’s population, Americans end up popping a whopping 80 percent of pills worldwide. The commonly abused opioids include oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and hydromorphone (Diludid).
With millions of Americans finding themselves trapped in the clutches of opioids, experts attribute compulsive drug-seeking urges to complete emotional dependence on the addictive drugs. The chemical structures in opioids have a tendency to bind to the receptors in the brain, temporarily numbing the way it responds to painful stimuli. In reality, what actually happens is that the pain doesn’t vanish completely, but it simply doesn’t bother the opioid user for a while. This prompt yet short-term relief, along with pleasurable sensations, leads to a greater tolerance to the drug with every consecutive dose. This, in turn, increases the need for larger doses to get the same level of relief, resulting in complete drug dependence.
The only way to break free from the clutches of deadly prescription pills is to seek professional detox at a renowned drug addiction treatment center to reverse the devastating effects. Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of harmful substances despite the negative impact on his or her life. Customized treatment for drug addiction at Sovereign Health of San Clemente is designed to treat a person holistically. If you or your loved one is battling addiction to any prescription drug, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online to know more about our effective treatment programs.