So in my attempts at procrastination I came across this little clip about Heroin in Huntingdon, and how they're combating it.
[Warning, footage of a guy OD'ing at one point, though thankfully he recovers]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-us-canada-39343289/the-heroin-ravaged-city-fighting-back
Now the lawsuits began sometime in January this year
, so this isn't "new" news, however it's interesting how they're tackling it. Similar stories were heard coming out of other towns in West Virginia afterwards.
As quoted by the Mayor of Huntingdon;
Rather than going to the taxpayers of the community and saying 'We need to raise your taxes to fight this epidemic', we need to go to those who are complicit in causing the epidemic.
The citizens in our city, our region and our state are living a nightmare that was avoidable.Profits have been pocketed while our community has been left with the fallout and stigma of the opioid epidemic.
A majority of heroin/opiate abusers started out just taking prescribed pain relief medications for injuries, which then went to taking larger doses, bribing for forged prescriptions, and some eventually moved on to straight-up heroin. Rather than only targeting the dealers and junkies, the city (and others) have decided to take on the companies that are shipping the drugs that are being abused and oil up the slopes in the first place. Judging by what facts the Mayor shoots out, I'm inclined to agree with him:
- Huntingdon is a county of <50,000 people
-The County (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) is just around ~96,000
- In an (undisclosed) 5-year timeframe, 40 million doses
of opiates were legally distributed (and assumedly, prescribed) in the County.
Then in the article linked above, there's some other distressing facts were released from the neighbouring state;
Current West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a lawsuit against San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. a year ago, saying at the time that an investigation by his office found that McKesson delivered about 99.5 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone to West Virginia between 2007 and 2012.
A medical practitioner in Barboursville admitted in federal court that he wrote a fraudulent prescription to illegally obtain more than 100 oxycodone pills from an employee.
Where those went exactly, you can only guess. But then it raises several difficult questions, most of which will have to be decided in the courts.
Is "Big Pharma" primarily at fault for distributing these pain relief medications and turning over massive profits without raising questions as to why such large orders are being requested, or is it the shady practitioners, GP's, pharmacists and what-have-you who are truly at fault for forging prescriptions for large doses for their "patients", or is the population under such addictions the main cause for such over-indulgence and abuse of the drugs available in the system in the first place?
I hope the news reports on the outcome of this, I want to see what happens and if the problem is ever truly resolved. Personally I think the corrupt practitioners and distribution companies are at fault for this. Not to reduce the responsibility of the people abusing the drugs themselves, but the system for acquiring such drugs so readily is what has started the problem in the first place which has since snowballed into something out of proportion and made those dose distributions so high.