New York State joined a growing list of states this month when it sued Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, for the company’s role in creating the current opioid crisis. According to New York State, Purdue marketed the prescription pain medication as a more effective and less addictive solution to chronic pain – despite possessing evidence suggesting the opposite. The resulting crisis resulted in the death of 3,000 New Yorkers just last year. Overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that opioids caused 49,000 Americans deaths nationwide.
According to the lawsuit filed by the New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, a statewide investigation found that Purdue’s deceptive marketing played an “important role” in the overprescribing of opioids. According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 75 percent of opioid-related deaths in New York were caused by prescription pain medication, including OxyContin. In other instances, many patients become addicted to opioids through a legitimate prescription and then “graduate” to heroin for its cheaper and stronger high. New York is suing for an unspecified amount and states the money will go towards funding rehabilitation and prevention programs, with Attorney General Underwood saying, “Our work won’t stop with this lawsuit.”