According to statistics recently published by the National Safety Council, Americans are now more likely to die via an accidental opioid overdose than in a car accident. Their examination found that the odds of dying from an accidental overdose during a lifetime are now 1 in 96. For motor vehicle accidents, the odds are 1 in 103.
While these startling findings sent many politicians and healthcare analysts scrambling to find reasons for this uptick in opioid-related deaths, the leadership team at Purdue Pharma (the manufacturer of OxyContin) was confident that they already had the answer. That's because, in February 2001, Dr. Richard Sackler, then president of the company, sent an email to his employees which addressed the burgeoning opioid epidemic. "We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible," he wrote. "They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals." That was Purdue Pharma's story, and they were sticking to it.
Of course, as much as victim-blaming may have helped to increase the pharmaceutical industry's bottom line, it did little to address the problem at hand. In fact, the opioid crisis only got worse. A quick glance at the figures makes this incredibly clear. In 2001, the year that Dr. Sackler wrote his email, the number of opioid-related deaths in the United States was 9,489. By 2017, the year studied by the National Safety Council, that number had jumped to 47,600.
Clearly then, the approach of blaming and shaming people who are addicted to opioids has not been particularly effective. It is for this very reason that the team here at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake makes a conscious effort to assist and support the victims of the opioid crisis. This support comes not only in the shape of legal advice or counsel from our experienced attorneys but also in the form of help with the underlying opioid addiction issue.
If your opioid addiction has caused you to suffer from legal or personal issues, contact Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake at (410) 927-5137 today. Our helpful and non-judgemental team is standing by and ready to assist in any way that we possibly can.