Within the past 20 years, the opioid addiction crisis has escalated to unfathomable proportions. Overdose death rates and addiction rates increase with each year’s passing. Experts credit a majority of this epidemic’s growth to the creation of addictive opioid prescriptions, Big Pharma’s lack of transparency, and physician’s eagerness to overprescribe these drugs.
One of the major culprits behind the opioid crisis will finally put a halt to their sales and marketing of powerful addictive opioids. Perdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, announced that they will ultimately stop the sales of their very profitable, yet very deadly medications.
Although 8 out of 10 opioid users initiate use with prescription opioids, such as OxyContin, most move on to use heavier substances. We now know of heroin and fentanyl to be a leading cause for opioid overdoses throughout the country. With that said, could Perdue’s move be a little too late?
Perdue Pharma Will Stop Making Powerful Addictive Opioids
Answering to one of the key demands of several lawsuits, Perdue will no longer market or sell opioid prescriptions. In a statement Perdue said, “We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers.”
Along with many other pharmaceutical companies, Perdue Pharma continues to defend itself against countless state and local lawsuits, holding them responsible for the rise in addiction and overdose numbers. These lawsuits imply that companies, such as Perdue, misled doctors, patients, and the general public about the addictiveness and dangers associated with drugs, such as OxyContin. Furthermore, they are being held accountable for overselling said prescriptions and encouraging overprescribing.
As a result, Perdue has announced that they have eliminated more than half of its sales staff and will no longer have representatives visit doctor’s offices to promote narcotic opioids.
While this is certainly a necessary step, the company’s actions are a little too late.
OxyContin & The Worst Health Crisis Of Our Time
Perdue Pharma’s impact on the opioid crisis has been monumental. While the company’s intentions may have simply been to make money, they ultimately created an addicted society and the worst health crisis of our time.
Originally, medications like OxyContin were formulated to treat pain for end-of-life patients, such as individuals with late-stage cancer. Nevertheless, in 1996, Perdue began manufacturing and aggressively marketing OxyContin, as a grander, enhanced form of pain-management.
The company claimed that the medication was not only less dangerous and had no addictive qualities, but that the drug’s time-release would reduce the likelihood of abuse for patients. They also sold physicians on the idea that patients could avoid major surgery, with this “less invasive” approach. As a result, physicians began prescribing the drug more often, and in greater quantities, causing millions to become addicted and many to eventually turn to heavier drugs, such as heroin.
Soon, addiction rates soared and overdose death rates weren’t far behind. 20 years later, our country hit an all-time high for drug overdoses, reaching an outstanding 64,000 deaths. At least two-thirds were directly related to opioids in one form or another.
A Little Too Late
Perdue’s decision to stop selling OxyContin is not a “win” for our society, nor is it an effort by the company to finally do the right thing.
It is clearly obvious that the company’s decision comes at a convenient time for them. As stated earlier, along with several other pharmaceutical companies, Perdue finds themselves in dozens of lawsuits. In November, they confirmed that they are in settlement talks with a group of state attorneys general, attempting to create a global resolution.
Additionally, although drug overdoses are still rising, written prescriptions have tapered off in the last few years. As a result, companies, such as Perdue, have suffered a decline in sales and profits. According to Bloomberg, Perdue has seen a financial drop within the last 5 years. In 2017, the company generated $1.8 billion in sales, down from $2.8 billion in 2012.
You may be wondering, if prescriptions are down, why are addiction rates still mounting? It is largely due to the fact that many OxyContin addicts moved on to more illicit substances, such as heroin. One reason being that users are able to achieve a stronger high, due to heroin’s potency, and the other is due to the drug’s accessibility and black market price. Simply, opioid users can get a stronger, and cheaper high.
Unfortunately, what we know now is that much of the heroin that is being brought into our country is being laced with fentanyl, or fentanyl analogues. Fentanyl, which is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, is responsible for many of the recorded overdoses over the last few years.
So, in the end, is too far-fetched to hold companies like Perdue responsible for the current opioid crisis? After all, without their misleading, aggressive marketing strategies and creation of such a powerful, legal drug, many would have never become addicted in the first place.
Contact Clearbrook Today
If you or someone you know and love is currently struggling with opiate or heroin addiction, we can help.
For 45 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing the highest quality of addiction treatment services to the chemically dependent person. With customized detoxification protocols and individualized treatment planning, we can offer you a treatment experience like no other. By the time you leave us, you will have all of the necessary tools for lasting sobriety.
If you are ready to take the first step and change your life, please contact our Admissions Specialists today.