Oklahoma Takes Opioid Makers to Court

Feb 19, 2018

Oklahoma will be the first state to go to trial against opioid manufacturers next year.

The state's Attorney General Mike Hunter spoke to The Takeaway on Monday about the state’s lawsuit. He says more than 1,000 Oklahomans die each year from overdoses and the majority of those deaths are attributed to opioids.

Hunter says some drug companies have used propaganda for decades to convince prescribers that opioids were not addictive.

“When companies create this conspiracy of misinformation and pseudoscience and the result is that they are creating a generation or generations of addicts and that they are in effect causing the deaths of people in our state, they need to be held accountable.”

Hunter is also asking for the federal government to do more to combat opioid addiction.

“When more people die in the United States each year than died in the war in Vietnam, you’ve got a clear and present danger and I’m hopeful that the administration will recast their determination that this is not just a public health emergency, it’s a national emergency.”

He says a multi-focus approach, which includes creating public policy and holding prescribers and companies accountable, is crucial to fixing widespread addiction.

At the end of the lawsuit, Hunter plans to focus on getting treatment for those who need it. The trial date for the lawsuit is set to be heard in 2019.