Christmas Law Firm - November/December 2019

November/December 2019

H as the O pioid C risis A ffected Y our F amily ? We Can Help! I n 2017, the state of Oklahoma sued the drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, claiming that its irresponsible dispensation of painkillers helped cause the opioid crisis — a drug- use epidemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans since 1999. This August, the state finally emerged victorious when Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million in damages.

pulling the wool over their eyes. They rolled

out this marketing campaign to push

their pills even though they knew they were addictive, destructive, and dangerous but then tried to backpedal when the inevitable results swept the country, affecting people of all age groups and demographics.

“The opioid crisis has ravaged the state of Oklahoma and must be abated immediately,” Balkman said, according to The Washington Post. The settlement was just a fraction of the $17.5 billion Oklahoma asked for, but it was still a landmark moment in the war against opioids being waged across the country by grieving families, activists, health workers, and lawyers — including me and my team here at Christmas Law Firm. Another victory came in September, when OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy in order to settle the dozens of lawsuits leveled against it by states, municipalities, and tribal governments for its part in the crisis. There’s no doubt in my mind that these pharmaceutical companies deserve to hemorrhage money. Just like big tobacco back in the day, they’re looking for someone else to blame now that the roof has come crumbling down. But these companies have known all along that their products have problems. Yes, opioids can be useful for those in acute pain, but their manufacturers have been irresponsible. Instead of being open about the pitfalls of their drugs, they entered the market by singing their praises to general practitioners, practically

Here in South Carolina, the crisis has gotten so bad at the workers’ compensation level that officials have created an ad hoc committee through the Workers’ Compensation Commission to field solutions. I’ve served on it alongside injured workers’ advocates, representatives from the American Medical Association, and delegates from big pharma. Here’s the sad truth: If the opioid crisis hasn’t affected you or your family, it has certainly touched the lives of your friends and acquaintances. Addiction and abuse are indiscriminate, and none of us are more than one step removed from someone who is struggling, in recovery, or has tragically passed away from an overdose. These drugs and their catastrophic effects are hanging over all of us, lying in wait to hurt those we love. It’s easy to feel helpless when facing a problem this massive, but, if we stand together against the pharmaceutical companies, we can affect change one settlement at a time. If you, a friend, or loved one is battling addiction or facing the catastrophic effects of the opioid crisis, please reach out to us at 843-535-8000. Considering all the cases that have been brought forward so far, I’m certain a round of plaintiffs’ cases will be part of the next wave. If we can help you and those you love seek justice and win the monetary damages you need, we will. –Gary Christmas 1 843-535-8000


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