Big drug companies are having to pay big bucks for their part in the opioid crisis. This week, Perdue pharma filed bankruptcy as part of a multi-billion dollar court settlement. Last month, a judge ruled Johnson and Johnson owes Oklahoma $572 million for its role.
NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne talked to Hale Foundation President Cliff Richards about the recent penalties forced on big drug companies.
“Myself and like most other people in this industry, we’re thinking, why has it taken so long?” Ricahards says.
The Hale Foundation helps men get back on their feet after struggling with addiction. In his 13 years with the organization, Richards has seen case after case of men suffering from the the grip of addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“With this explosion of the opioid epidemic, we’ve just had a backlog of men trying to get in and trying to get help,” Richards explains.
The Hale Foundation has grown since the organization was founded 30 years ago. They can house as many as 58 men at their facility in Olde Town.
Richards says at least 50% of the men who come through the Hale Foundation’s program have some sort of opioid dependence. Many of them start with prescription drugs and then progress to heroin.
Richards glad big drug companies are being forced to pay a price, but he is skeptical of the impact.
“I don’t know if that’s the solution because they have plenty of money,” Richards points out. “It’s a lucrative industry and so I don’t know if penalties are going to be the deterrent or not. I don’t know what the answer is, but something has to be done because we see the side of it when these men die. We deal strictly with men, but so many times females are involved too.”
For anyone struggling with addiction, Richards wants you to know that you you are not alone.
“We just want them to know that there is help out there,” Richards says. “We’ve seen a lot of men who were intravenous heroin users who have gotten their lives turned around because they have had structure and a supportive place that they can get time to get their lives back on track.”
Richards says hope is the key element when it comes to beating addiction.
“If they can find a little hope in the fact that there has been someone else who has been through a situation like them, who has gotten their life on track, that gives them a little bit of hope,” Richards says.
The Hale Foundation is looking to expand their organization with a second site. Right now, they are looking at gearing that facility specifically towards first responders. Count on NewsChannel 6 to keep you posted on the progress.