Opioid guilty plea requires more than restitution
On Oct. 21, Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to three felony charges as part of an $8 billion settlement involving the sale and distribution of OxyContin, a painkiller that has been a Pandora’s jar of addiction.
The damage done by the abuse of this drug is incalculable. Virtually every town in America has been harmed by the misuse of OxyContin.
According to an Associated Press report, the U.S. Department of Justice has linked the drugmaker to 470,000 deaths over the last 20 years.
Those are war-casualty numbers.
Whole communities, particularly in rural Ohio, have been decimated by the power of OxyContin, an addiction that often devolves to heroin abuse when the drug is not available.
We tell ourselves that justice is blind, though we know money talks. We know those few rich people who do manage to be sent to jail don’t break rocks, they tend to do their time at something akin to a Martha-Stewart Pickleball and Cake-Decorating Camp.
But someone needs to answer for the thousands of opioid-related deaths.
Apologies are not enough. Money is not enough.
The Ohio Department of Health reports that yearly overdose deaths have jumped from 2,110 in 2013 to 4,028 in 2019.
Overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020 in Ohio increased by 29%.
Harm Reduction Ohio, a nonprofit anti-addiction organization reports that a large jump in overdose deaths in 2020 occurred from April through June, when isolation and economic stress rose as a result of the pandemic.
According to federal prosecutors, Purdue Pharma knew OxyContin was highly addictive but failed to warn the public because there simply was too much money to be made.
The company now admits it lied that it had an addiction prevention program in place, and admitted to paying doctors kickbacks as an incentive to prescribe the drug because they knew patients would come back, begging for more.
These things don’t occur by osmosis. Someone came up with a strategy.
That “someone” needs to go to jail.
If you live in Stark County, you should be proud of the stellar job done by the Stark County Board of Elections. They ran a nearly flawless election last week, which is no mean feat.
Any election is stressful enough but add to that a pandemic. Add to that the current political atmosphere. Add to that a potential record-breaking turnout. In the days leading up to the election, the office was inundated with 2,000 early voters a day, not counting the protesters and lookie-loos.
For all the chaos and argle-bargle this election has triggered, take comfort in knowing there still are Americans who believe in the process, who believe that in a democratic republic, every vote must be counted regardless of the result.
The Romans said it best: “Fiat justitia, ruat caelum,” or “Let justice reign, though the heavens fall.”
So, in southern Ohio, a group of goofballs has been arrested for plotting to kidnap Gov. Mike DeWine to put him on trial for “tyranny.”
Exactly what form of justice did they plan to exact?
Place him in stocks and flog him on Nationwide Plaza?
Order him to wear a powdered wig and scratchy stockings?
Force him to eat buckeyes?
It would be funny if it were not so dangerous. Meanwhile, authorities allege that a group of lunkheads met in Dublin, Ohio, as part of a plot to do worse to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in response to her shutdown orders. So far, about 13 people have been charged with serious felonies, with more likely to come.
Thirteen conspirators? What could go wrong?
DeWine can be criticized, and rightfully so, for not being more forceful on mask-wearing in public venues, and for burning $600,000 of our money on hydroxychloroquine to keep the peace with you-know-who.
Spending $600,000 of our money is too high a price to appease someone so transactional, who doesn’t possess enough loyalty to fill a thimble.
All the while, cases in Ohio have gone higher than a satellite.
There are times when being a “purple” state is a good thing.
This is not one of them.
Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @cgoshayREP