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CT Attorney General Slams Purdue Opioid Settlement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the opioid crisis has killed an estimated 450,000 Americans since 1999. (Psihedelisto/ Wikimedia Commons)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the opioid crisis has killed an estimated 450,000 Americans since 1999. (Psihedelisto/ Wikimedia Commons)
October 22, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The feds on Wednesday announced an $8.3 billion settlement with Stamford-based Purdue Pharma over the company's role in the opioid crisis, but state Attorney General William Tong said it doesn't go far enough.

The company will plead guilty to violating laws on kickbacks to doctors and to defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.

Tong said the owners, the Sackler family, should be forced out of the industry and go to jail.

"It's unacceptable to let Purdue Pharma, its management executives and the Sackler Family stay in the pharmaceutical business, the opioid business, the addiction business," Tong declared.

Under the terms of the deal, the company will be allowed to keep selling OxyContin and some overdose-reversing medications as part of a reorganized "public benefit corporation" whose profits will go toward treatment for opioid addiction.

Statistics show the opioid epidemic claimed more than a thousand lives in Connecticut last year.

Maria Coutant Skinner, executive director for the McCall Center for Behavioral Health in Torrington, said we need to invest in programs that combat child abuse, neglect, poverty and illiteracy, which can be precursors to addiction.

"We've got a society that's anxious and hurting and disconnected, lonely, traumatized and depressed," Skinner explained. "Then you put the prolific use of opioids onto that culture and you get the situation that we've got today."

The state of Connecticut's lawsuit against Purdue will still proceed, as will the thousands of other civil suits filed by victims of the opioid crisis and their families.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CT