The annual spring flood in Vinton County is a mere echo of another flood happening throughout Ohio. Like all counties in the state, it has been inundated with opioids — powerful painkillers that are highly addictive.
A national epidemic
The opioid crisis began years ago. Drug companies realized how much money they could make if they misrepresented the dangers of post-surgical pain medications. Drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, codeine and morphine, which are only supposed to be used for short-term pain management, were advertised as safe and non-addictive. However, false advertising led to routinely prescribing opioids for long-term chronic pain use.
To date, hundreds of people have lost their lives to opioid use. These wrongful deaths are only a tip of the iceberg in terms of the numbers of people who have been negatively affected by opioid abuse and addiction.
One former addict in Vinton County feels like Big Pharma preyed on the people of her hometown, negligently exploiting them without regard for future generations. As the flood of addiction continues to flow, communities are fighting back.
What is being done about the opioid crisis?
Cities and counties from across the nation have already filed hundreds of lawsuits against opioid drug manufacturers and retailers. Now, the top pain doctors in the U.S. are being sued as well. It is claimed that these four doctors joined forces with drug companies in an industrywide marketing campaign that was based on false advertising, aimed at boosting opioid sales.
A federal judge in Ohio will be hearing the cases beginning later this year. Individual plaintiffs, municipalities and organizations continue to file lawsuits as damages continue to mount.