The opioid crisis began with pharmaceutical companies falsely marketing highly addictive pain medications as safe, leading to widespread addiction among Americans who first used narcotics on their doctors’ recommendations. As addiction proliferated, communities across the country tried to respond without adequate resources or understanding. Now, with opioid addiction having devastating effects, municipal, county, and state governments are left to deal with the crisis.
There is a thin silver lining. As outlined in this blog focusing on a recent settlement in New York State, the money being recovered from pharmaceutical companies through litigation will support those governments’ efforts to respond. Of the $1.1B settlement announced by New York Attorney General Leticia James, 11% will be provided to local governments through unrestricted grants to be spent on curbing opioid addiction, while the rest will be distributed by New York’s state government to support programs aimed at preventing addiction and supporting addicts in recovery.
The lawsuits have the further benefit of showing that the egregious behaviors engaged in by pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors have consequences. Penalizing companies for taking advantage of consumers is one of the best ways to protect the public in the long term, since bending the rules for short-term profits is less alluring if the profits are going to be taken away.
As litigation related to the opioid crisis moves forward in numerous states, those who have been affected will have some path to compensation, either through direct payments or by benefiting from programs funded by settlement money. If you believe you have a case, contact an experienced Napoli Shkolnik attorney to learn your legal options.