Emergency department visits alone rose 100 percent between 2005 and 2014
Opioids are the chemical cousins to heroin.(Photo: File photo)Buy Photo
New Jersey has filed a five-count lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the makers of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, alleging a “direct link” between the opioid epidemic and the drugmaker’s effort to boost profits by “deceptively” marketing the addictive prescription drugs.
“When we point the finger of blame for the deadly epidemic that has killed thousands in New Jersey, Purdue is in the bulls eye of the target,” state Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in a prepared statement. “Today, my office took the first step toward holding them legally and financially responsible for their deception.”
The State’s 100-page complaint, filed in Superior Court, Newark, charges that Purdue deceived the public and the medical community into believing that pain was undertreated and that opioids should be the first choice for patients suffering from chronic pain.
In a prepared statement, Purdue Pharma responded, “We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense.”
It added that the company has distributed the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, developed opioid medications with abuse-deterrent properties and has worked with law enforcement agencies to ensure access to naloxone.
The state alleges that representatives of the Stamford, Connecticut-based drugmaker who visited doctors were given quotas in New Jersey that ranged from 500-700 prescriptions per month. Scroll to the videos above and below for more news on the opioid epidemic.
“The sheer number of marketing visits made by Purdue sales representatives to New Jersey prescribers is staggering – and based on the number of prescriptions, the scheme clearly was a smashing success for the company,” Porrino said.
Don Riebel lost his 21-year-old son Colin to a heroin overdose in 2013. Colin, a high school football player, developed his addiction at 15 after he received painkiller prescriptions following each of three surgeries for sports injuries, his father said.
Colin Riebel, right, upon his graduation from Triton Regional High School in 2009, with his brother, Andrew. Colin died of a heroin overdose after getting addicted to painkillers following sports injuries. (Photo: Courtesy of Don Riebel)
“For me it’s bittersweet,” Riebel said about the lawsuit. “I can’t get Colin back and I feel his generation has been lost to the epidemic.”
He added that the younger generation is going to be so much better educated on the dangers of opioids because of measures being taken like the New Jersey litigation.
The company’s current annual revenues are estimated at approximately $3 billion, mostly from the sale of OxyContin, according to Porrino.
Limiting opioid pills in New Jersey | 0:49
A measure to limit opioid prescriptions is up for a vote in the state Senate and Assembly. This is why legislators feel the law is needed.
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Gov. Chris Christie promotes new opioid addiction website, hotline | 0:30
Gov. Chris Christie in this television advertisement released on Jan. 20, 2017 directs addicts and those helping them to the state’s new “one-stop” addiction services website and hotline.
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The heroin crisis town hall | 2:22
Tragic stories are shared in an open forum regarding the scourge of heroin.
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WATCH: Children of Heroin | 13:35
Heroin destroys thousands of lives everyday around the world. In the documentary you’ll meet mothers, fathers and children in New Jersey who are coping with life marred by the drug.
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WATCH: Carly Boldman talks about her father’s struggle with heroin | 1:52
Carly Boldman, the 19-year-old daughter of Lenny Boldman, talks about her father’s struggle with heroin and how it impacted her life.
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WATCH: Addicted mothers share their stories of recovery | 0:42
Mothers who once struggled with opioid addiction share their stories of recovery.
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WATCH: Kim Boldman speaks about her husband’s heroin addiction | 1:48
Kim Boldman, wife of Lenny Boldman, talks about her husbands heroin addiction and how it affected their family.
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WATCH: John Brogan talk about his experience with heroin addiction | 3:02
WATCH: John Brogan talk about his experience with heroin addiction
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Getting a job is a hurdle for recovering addicts | 1:54
Governor Chris Christie heard from clients at the Preferred Behavioral Health center in Toms River about the challenges faced by recovering addicts in gaining meaningful employment during their recovery.
THOMAS P. COSTELLO
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Christie details a story of addiction and recovery during State of the State | 5:03
During his State of the State address, NJ Governor Chris Christie shared AJ Solomon’s story of addiction and recovery. Solomon was a former Christie staffer with a heroin addiction who will now be opening a treatment center. POOL VIDEO BY NJTV
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Son’s death spurs Narcan training | 2:37
The death of Paul Ressler’s son Corey gave a new direction to his life by providing training programs for first responders and family members in the administration of Narcan to reverse opioid overdoses
THOMAS P. COSTELLO
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Heroin’s deadly companion | 0:07
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato discusses his concern with fentanyl
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Advocates: more drug treatment beds needed | 0:55
Drug and alcohol treatment in New Jersey has been declining. Advocates say that’s because of a drop in indigent funding and other obstacles to access
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WATCH: Christie salutes those who helped save lives with Narcan | 3:54
At the two-year anniversary of New Jersey’s Narcan program thousands of people have been given a second chance at life.
VIDEO COURTESY OF THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
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WATCH: Former addicted mother talks being away from children | 0:45
Renee Ambos talks about what it was like to have to leave her children to seek treatement for her heroin addiction.
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WATCH: Mothers addicted to heroin share their stories, Part 2 | 0:48
Mothers addicted to heroin share their stories of recovery.
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Children of Heroin: Isaac Edelhauser | 2:05
Isaac’s parents are heroin addicts.
Doug Hood/ Ryan Ross
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Berkeley heroin factory seized | 0:38
Six people were arrested after police raid two apartmenets in Berkely Township and take-down a heroin manufacturing facility in one of them.
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Christie joins opioid addiction panel | 1:01
NJ Governor Chris Christie opens the “Solutions for a New Way Forward” panel discussion on the national opioid addiction epidemic at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. STAFF VIDEO BY THOMAS P. COSTELLO
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Christie on New Jersey’s heroin recovery coach program | 0:13
Gov. Chris Christie on a program at Monmouth Medical Center to get heroin overdose victims into treatment with the help of ex-addicts
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Christie recognizes recovery coach from Toms River | 3:48
Former heroin addict John Brogan, Toms River, was recognized by Governor Chris Christie as one of the state’s finest recovery coaches during the State of the State address.
POOL VIDEO BY NJTV
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WATCH: I’m addicted to heroin | 1:44
Recovering heroin addict John Brogan, who was praised by Gov. Chris Christie at his State of the State address Tuesday, talks about how heroin brought him close to taking his life.
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WATCH: Former addicted mother shares her experience | 0:41
Renee Ambos shares her story of trying to care for children while addicted to heroin.
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Doctor arrested for dealing prescription drugs | 0:58
Dr. Liviu Holca was arrested and authorities shut down his practice in Manahawkin, charging him with illegally distributing the prescription drugs Percocet and Xanax for no medical reason. VIDEO BY NBC10 / EDITED BY THOMAS P. COSTELLO
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Taking unwanted drugs off the street | 1:19
Project Medicine Drop expanded its locations today in Little Egg Harbor Township. Staff video by Tom Spader
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Fentanyl in Ocean County NJ | 0:40
As heroin deaths continue to climb, a deadlier threat emerges
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The Warning Signs | 0:44
John Ramaglia speaks about the difficulties in noticing the warning signs of addiction in his son, Matthew.
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A father’s fight against heroin in Lacey | 3:51
Still grieving over his son’s death in 2007, John Ramaglia is pressing Lacey officials to deal more aggressively with the heroin problem in the township.
Ryan Ross/Tanya Breen/Ken Serrano
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Opioid deaths in New Jersey | 1:14
Heroin and other opioid deaths kept rising in New Jersey from 2012 through the first six months of 2015.
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Last VideoNext Video
Limiting opioid pills in New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie promotes new opioid addiction website, hotline
The heroin crisis town hall
WATCH: Children of Heroin
WATCH: Carly Boldman talks about her father’s struggle with heroin
WATCH: Addicted mothers share their stories of recovery
WATCH: Kim Boldman speaks about her husband’s heroin addiction
WATCH: John Brogan talk about his experience with heroin addiction
Getting a job is a hurdle for recovering addicts
Christie details a story of addiction and recovery during State of the State
Son’s death spurs Narcan training
Heroin’s deadly companion
Advocates: more drug treatment beds needed
WATCH: Christie salutes those who helped save lives with Narcan
WATCH: Former addicted mother talks being away from children
WATCH: Mothers addicted to heroin share their stories, Part 2
Children of Heroin: Isaac Edelhauser
Berkeley heroin factory seized
Christie joins opioid addiction panel
Christie on New Jersey’s heroin recovery coach program
Christie recognizes recovery coach from Toms River
WATCH: I’m addicted to heroin
WATCH: Former addicted mother shares her experience
Doctor arrested for dealing prescription drugs
Taking unwanted drugs off the street
Fentanyl in Ocean County NJ
The Warning Signs
A father’s fight against heroin in Lacey
Opioid deaths in New Jersey
According to the complaint, the State’s largest Medicaid managed care organization has paid $109 million for opioids through the Medicaid program since 2008 New Jersey paid $142 million through its Workers’ Compensation Program and the state’s health plan.
Purdue paid more than $600 million to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2007 in a case related to its marketing of OxyContin. But Purdue continued its “deceptive and unconscionable marketing” from 2007 through the present, the law suit alleges
The lawsuit also charges that Purdue Pharma ignored research showing that long-term use of opioids was not safe or effective.
Ken Serrano: @KenSerranoAPP; 732-643-4029; [email protected]
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