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New York Sues Manufacturers Blamed for the Opioid Crisis

P Photo/Kevin Hagen

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Twitter Thursday that the state is filing a large-scale lawsuit against the Sackler family and other manufactures for, “false, deceptive marketing practices about the dangers of opioids.”

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The announcement came two days after the family and their company, Purdue Pharma, agreed to pay $270 million in settlements to the state of Oklahoma over similar charges. Attorney General Mike Hunter said that he would, “hold accountable other defendants ... for their role in creating the worst public health crisis in our state and nation we've ever seen."

Purdue CEO Craig Landau said that, “Purdue is very pleased to have reached an agreement with Oklahoma that will help those who are battling addiction now and in the future. We applaud Attorney General Mike Hunter for his leadership in making such an agreement possible.” The company’s website states that many factors played a role in the crisis and that they were committed to doing their part to address it. 

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The Sacklers are blamed for starting the nationwide opioid epidemic. This year, for the first time in U.S. history, the drug has been the leading cause of death for Americans, surpassing vehicle crashes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 218,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2017.

Two days before the announcement, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for Congress to pass legislation to provide funding for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program, which is designed to provide mental health and addiction treatment services.

“This clinic works, it’s successful, and it’s needed to fight one of the greatest problems we have in America now,” Schumer said. “I will be doing everything I can so we can come back after July 1 and say we have many more years of success in fighting addiction and mental illness and mental health problems here at CCBHC.”

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