Secret documents reveal the seeds of the opioid crisis

It reads like a script for a Hollywood thriller.

A story of unbridled greed that allowed a killer to roam across the U.S. – all detailed in concealed documents locked away from prying eyes.

Only… this isn’t fiction. It’s the true account of how a pharmaceutical firm was willing to risk the lives of an untold number of everyday Americans in order to make as much money as possible.

The drugmaker is Purdue Pharma, and the drug that put the owners of this company on the Forbes list of America’s Richest Families is OxyContin.

Now, secret documents just unsealed in a Tennessee courthouse have assembled more of the puzzle pieces revealing how opioid painkillers such as OxyContin have managed to steal over 200,000 American lives during the past two decades.

But sadly, this epidemic is far from over — or even winding down. Each day, around 78 Americans still die due to opioids. And more victims, including seniors, continue to innocently step into this deadly quicksand all the time.

No matter how Purdue wants to spin it, we know that honest, hard-working people who simply received an opioid Rx from their doctor – and took the drug as prescribed – are now a very big part of this frightening epidemic.

The “Purdue Papers”

It’s hard to believe that the opioid crisis, which has left such a long trail of death and devastation in its wake, only began in the late 1990s (Oxycontin came on the market in 1995).

So, how did this crisis come into full bloom so quickly? A shocking pile of incriminating papers, unsealed just last week, solves a lot of that mystery.

Internal records from Purdue (kept hidden for years), detail how the drugmaker was actively scheming to promote its cash-cow opioid, often using strategies that deliberately targeted the most vulnerable among us.

For example, these secret “Purdue Papers” expose how:

  • In Tennessee (which is currently suing Purdue on behalf of its citizens), the drugmaker had its sales force call over 100 doctors every single day for years to push OxyContin sales – and that was after it had promised to stop using such tactics.
  • The company instructed its salesmen to sell OxyContin as “hope in a bottle” to doctors… and to urge them to prescribe higher and higher doses for increasingly longer time periods. Plus that, it also paid doctors to downplay how addictive the drug really is.
  • Purdue created phony “expert” front groups, described as “operatives secretly paid” by the company, to convince the FDA that more restrictions on the prescribing of OxyContin weren’t necessary.
  • Seniors and veterans were often targets of these “advocacy” campaigns, as they were considered to be excellent “repeat customers” for the drug.

And even right now as you’re reading this, Purdue is still trying to manipulate the public’s perception of OxyContin’s extreme danger.

In a full-page PSA the drugmaker recently ran in The Washington Post, it stated that the company is “acutely aware” of the risks of opioid drugs “even when taken as prescribed.” But five days later (when it ran again), that key phrase “taken as prescribed” went missing.

Mistake? I don’t think so.

For decades, Purdue has maintained that the only ones at any real risk from the drug are addicts who abuse it to get high, not your everyday patients who are in pain.

Obviously, that’s not the case. Practically no one is immune from the danger.

That’s why you’ve got to protect yourself and your loved ones by always being alert to the potential that you may be prescribed an opioid drug for any kind of pain… from a bunion to the kind caused by major surgery.

Opioids come under a host of generic names that may be unfamiliar to you. OxyContin, for example, is a brand name for the drug oxycodone hydrochloride, or HCL. That’s why you always have to double-check with your doctor or pharmacist as to what you’re being prescribed.

And if you have been given an opioid med, ask your doctor for other options.

“Purdue Pharma justifies pushing Oxycontin by citing FDA rules it helped write” Jamie Satterfield, July 13, 2018, Knoxville News Sentinel, knoxnews.com