The War on Drugs will not be won in a hail of bullets. It certainly wasn’t won by knocking down the doors of crack dens in the 80s. But a battle could be won in the courtroom, and it could possibly create a chain-reaction that deals a major blow to the demand side of the supply-and-demand dynamic.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter successfully brought opioid manufacturers to trial, where he said he hopes to “hold them accountable” for an epidemic that has a death toll larger than our current wars in the Middle East.
Hunter filed the suit in June, a motion to dismiss was ruled against last December, and they are currently in the discover phase – in which lawyers work to gather information and evidence prior to trial. That trial date was set Thursday by Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman for May 2019.
Anything could happen between now and then, but Balkman told the News Press Wednesday that this was not a “sue and settle” case. His goal is to get monetary damages for the state that could then be used to fund treatment and addiction. If the demand decreases, so will the supply.
Hunter and his team will have to prove
drug manufacturers created addicts by misleading doctors and patients about the addictive nature of the drugs, or by trying to convince people to take drugs that they didn’t need in the first place.
Yes, there is a measure of personal responsibility, there are physicians running pill mills and pharmacies and distributers who have put profits over people, but why not start at the source? The tobacco industry now funds the anti-smoking campaign. The same could happen with the pharmaceutical industry. It won’t be easy, but it’s a worthy endeavor for this AG’s office and others around the country.
Congratulations to Hunter and his office for getting their day in court. Thanks to him for taking an approach that doesn’t look to penalize people for their addictions.