(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER OPIOID ADDICT NOW RUNNING TREATMENT FACILITY LANCE LANG, SAYING:
“I went from dabbling just in the evenings to taking pills at night, in the morning... you know, going from two to three at a time, to four at a time, to five at a time. And slowly, like in the midst of those several years, my life completely deteriorated, and I lost everything that I loved.”
For three years — Oklahoma’s Lance Lang had a crippling addiction to opioids, starting from when he was prescribed painkillers after a fender bender.
The 36-year-old is now in recovery and runs a sober house to help others. He says he wants to see some accountability for what caused the deadly flood of opioids in Oklahoma.
In a trial beginning Tuesday, the state is seeking billions of dollars from drugmaker, Johnson & Johnson.
Teva Pharmaceutical is avoiding trial, after it said on Sunday it had agreed to settle for $85 million with the state.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s lawsuit accused the companies of fueling the opioid epidemic by using deceptive marketing that downplayed the addictive risks while overstating the benefits.
(SOUNDBITE) OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY GENERAL, MIKE HUNTER, SAYING:
"Even though these drugs were approved by the FDA, it didn't mean these companies could market these drugs in the way they have. So there's a responsibility here that we believe is clear with respect to public nuisance law in the state."
Teva said the settlement - quote - "does not establish any wrongdoing on the part of the company" and denied contributing to opioid abuse in Oklahoma.
J&J also denies any wrongdoing.
In a statement, J&J said — quote — "The FDA-approved labels for these prescription pain medications provide clear information about their risks and benefits."
The trial comes weeks after Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma in March struck a $270 million settlement to resolve the state's claims against it.
The Oklahoma Attorney General then shifted focus to J&J as the - quote - 'Kingpin' behind the public health emergency.
With more than 1,800 other opioid-related lawsuits by mostly state and local governments pending --- the Oklahoma case is the first in the nation to go to trial...
After U.S. health officials said, opioids were linked to a record 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 alone.