Two California counties and the city of Chicago, hard hit by OxyContin addiction, are suing the drug’s manufacturers, NPR reports. They’re charging that the drug-makers have contributed to an epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Addiction to painkillers is a national epidemic, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Santa Clara County, just outside of San Francisco, the number of opioid-related deaths tripled from 2003 to 2013, says assistant County Counsel Danny Chou. “The reason that this crisis has occurred is based on the decades-long marketing plan by these drug companies to create a market for these drugs that never should have existed,” Chou tells NPR. “And this has spawned a new generation of addicts and abusers.” Asks NPR: “As the lawsuits against the drugmakers advance, a key question will be who’s to blame – the patients who ask for it, the doctors who prescribe it, or the companies that create and market it?”