Recovering addicts suing drug companies are last in line to receive justice

Published: Dec. 16, 2019 at 4:18 PM EST
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Thousands of people who became opiate addicts are suing the drug makers who they say knowingly pushed their products, causing devastation to their lives and their families lives.

Toledoan Kevin Schwartz injured his back at work 18 years ago.

"In 2001, they started prescribing me pills, oxycontin, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl," said Schwartz.

Kevin realized he was hopelessly addicted to opiates two years in and tried and failed several times to get off the medications himself with devastating physical and mental affects.

"I was so messed up in the head over these opioids, I didn't know what was going on," he said.

Schwartz eventually got off the medications two years ago and decided to hire a law firm out of Chicago to represent him in a lawsuit. He's now suing Purdue Pharma as an individual for damage caused to his life as a result of his opiate addiction.

"Pain and suffering, loss of time, 17 years that I don't remember," said Schwartz.

As the maker of Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma is the major drug company involved in almost all the opiate lawsuits. It's currently coming to a settlement in New York in bankruptcy court with countless states and counties who are suing it for losses stemming from the opiate epidemic.

Attorney's for plaintiffs say, "The heart of this opioid epidemic is with the individuals."

But Wes Merillat from Boyk Law says governments are first in line.

"The drug company is marginalizing and pushing the conversation about individuals aside, so they can focus on probably what tax payers want to hear, which is give us our money back," said Merillat.

He goes on to say individual lawsuits have been set aside.

"If the individual doesn't have an addiction, if the individual doesn't suffer injury, then there is no epidemic," he said.