Almost exactly a year ago, the company behind the most widely prescribed opioid painkiller pleaded guilty in federal court to an illegal marketing scheme and agreed to pay a record $634 million in fines and forfeiture.
But for some of the people who survived addiction to painkillers such as OxyContin and are struggling to recover, that was about all the few victims of Purdue Pharma got.
“If there’s any hope of us ever getting the money that’s not going to matter,” said a 24-year-old woman named Hope, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she is a former OxyContin user. “But if there’s some amount of money to change the system — it’s good. If it doesn’t help, it’s still too little, too late.”
Hope was drawn to prescription opioids because she used them for her medical issues. But in her case, Purdue Pharma’s marketing triggered what she called a cycle of dependency, leading to criminal charges.
Today, Hope is a recovering opioid addict, grappling with a chronic back injury, which she said she was misdiagnosed with but with which she can’t live without.
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