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Majority of Americans say drug companies should be held responsible for opioid crisis

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Fifty-seven percent of Americans believe pharmaceutical companies should be held responsible for making the opioid crisis worse, according to a new poll by NPR and Ipsos.

The poll also found a third of Americans have been touched directly by the opioid epidemic.

"One in three have been personally affected in some way, either by knowing someone who has overdosed or by knowing someone with an opioid addiction," said Mallory Newall, lead Ipsos researcher on the survey.

Dozens of states, including Oklahoma, have filed lawsuits against drug companies, accusing them of causing the opioid epidemic by making fraudulent marketing claims that greatly understated the addictive risks of opioid painkillers while overstating the treatment benefits.

Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against multiple drug companies in 2017 and a trial is scheduled to begin on May 28

Purdue Pharma, one of the drug companies in the lawsuit, settled with the state for $270 million

Following the announced settlement, Reggie Whitten, one of the lead outside attorneys hired by the state, said the money would help others avoid the fate of his own son who lost his battle with drug addiction in 2002. 

"There's no way to bring back my son," Whitten said last month. "There's no way to bring back anybody who's died from addiction. What we should do, in my humble opinion as a parent who lost a son, is look forward and try to save lives in the future, and that's what this settlement is going to do."

The NPR and Ipsos survey indicates a growing number of Americans agree that drug companies should play a role in preventing future opioid deaths.

The survey found that 70% believe drug companies should pay the cost of addiction treatment services and cover the cost of the drug naloxone, used to revive people who've overdosed.

You can read NPR's report on the survey here

Related Photos
FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Oklahoma's attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday, March 26, 2019, with Purdue Pharma, one of the drug manufacturers named in a state lawsuit that accuses them of fueling the opioid epidemic. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Oklahoma's attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday, March 26, 2019, with Purdue Pharma, one of the drug manufacturers named in a state lawsuit that accuses them of fueling...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7c7e2ae87a027594ec8b94d05f0a2ca1.jpg" alt="Photo - FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Oklahoma's attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday, March 26, 2019, with Purdue Pharma, one of the drug manufacturers named in a state lawsuit that accuses them of fueling the opioid epidemic. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)" title="FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Oklahoma's attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday, March 26, 2019, with Purdue Pharma, one of the drug manufacturers named in a state lawsuit that accuses them of fueling the opioid epidemic. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)"><figcaption>FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Oklahoma's attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday, March 26, 2019, with Purdue Pharma, one of the drug manufacturers named in a state lawsuit that accuses them of fueling the opioid epidemic. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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