OPINION | Barry Richard: Suing ‘Big Pharma’ Over Opioid Crisis is Silly
I feel sorry for anyone who has been impacted by the so-called opioid crisis. It must be a horrible nightmare. I am also happy to hear that through public awareness the number of overdoses and deaths locally have begun to decline.
Part of the solution has been to scare the "bejesus" out of people about the addictive nature of these drugs and to limit the number of pills being prescribed by doctors at any one time. It seems to be working. Better counseling by doctors and greater patient awareness about the medications they are taking are good things. Communication works.
But, I am still amazed by those who refuse to accept any responsibility for their own actions. "Big pharma" and doctors are not why we have an opioid problem. People are addicted because of choices they make. That's the bottom line. You can have an endless supply of opioids but if you choose not to take them you will never become addicted to them.
Stronger, more powerful drugs were developed and prescribed because the consumer demanded it. We expect instant gratification and when we can't get it we rebel against that too. Laws have been enacted to make it more difficult for people to obtain more drugs than needed to deal with the immediate situation. Not because the drugs were attacking people but because people were abusing the drugs.
The New Bedford City Council will ask the Mitchell Administration to join a class action suit against the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these drugs. Why? It seems silly to me to shift the responsibility for our individual actions onto someone else. What do we hope to gain? Even if these companies are forced to give us some cash does that solve the problem or bring back the folks who have died?
By the way, the law firms handling the class action suits are going to get very rich off of your pain and suffering. Do you want to victimize yourself all over again?
How about if we focus instead on teaching people to be responsible for their own actions and to understand before it's too late that the answer to every problem is not in the bottom of some pill bottle? Makes sense to me.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.