Termed as the new American plague, opioid overdoses have claimed more American lives than car crashes, homicides and critical illnesses combined. One of the major contributors to the opioid epidemic is pharmaceutical companies that have played an active role in getting the consumers habituated to these drugs, often through unethical means. According to a report published by the New York Times, one such pharma company is Purdue Pharma that knowingly pushing its opioid OxyContin despite of being aware of its widespread abuse.
The Times report said the pharmaceutical giant knew about significant abuse of “OxyContin”, including stealing and snorting of the drug, much before it claimed publicly. According to a confidential report by the Justice Department, the company executives knew early on about the abuse of its popular drug OxyContin soon after its release in 1996. By 1997, the company was aware that OxyContin occupied a prominent search on the internet and that it was especially popular on the underground drug scene.
At that time, the company had also started receiving reports about its abuse and the crimes associated with its use. The report also highlighted that despite knowing the facts, the company had concealed all the information. As per a dozen undisclosed documents, the company officials had received reports that the pills were being stolen from pharmacies and sold by doctors. Despite the warnings and the complaints, the company continued to market OxyContin as less addictive than other opioids.
The revelation came after repeated decline by the pharma company to be aware of OxyContin’s growing abuse years after it was released. In 2006, Purdue had branded the drug OxyContin to be less prone to abuse and addiction compared to other prescription opioids. However, in 2007, after a four-year federal probe recommended felony charges against its senior officials, the Justice Department did not back the decision and opted to settle the case instead, for which the company paid a fine of $634.5 million with the accused senior company officials performing community service.
According to the alleged Times report, the pharma company had admitted to have trained less officials to tell health practitioners that the drug was less addictive and prone to abuse.
Powerful pain-reducing medications, prescription opioids have both benefits as well as potential risks with prescription opioid overdose responsible for reduced life expectancy in the U.S. In addition to negative health outcomes, some of the other negative outcomes resulting from prescription drug abuse include increasing risk to infections such as hepatitis C and HIV, accidental falls, and overdose and deaths.
Overdose deaths are a growing health concern in the U.S. Overdose deaths from prescription drugs were responsible for claiming 200,000 lives from 2016 to 1999. Misuse and addiction to opioids (prescription and illicit drugs) have been responsible for nearly 66 percent of drug overdose cases.
When used as prescribed, prescription medications can prove to be efficient; however, when taken without prescription or used for unintended purposes, prescription drugs can be addictive and deadly. If you know someone battling an addiction to prescription opioids and looking for drug rehab help, look no further.
At the 24/7 Recovery Helpline, we have licensed health professionals who can help you or your loved ones learn more about drug addiction, identify its symptoms and explore the best treatment options basis your needs. Whether you want to learn about drug addiction or are trying to locate a treatment center best suited to your needs, we are here for you. For those seeking quality treatment for drug addiction, call us at our 24 hour drug helpline number (855) 441-4405 or chat online with a specialist.