Ryan Torrens, Democratic candidate for Florida Attorney General, has announced that he will pursue litigation against major pharmaceutical companies responsible for the production and distribution of opioids including OxyContin and Percocet and called out current Attorney General Pam Bondi for not doing so.
“I congratulate the Republican attorney general of Ohio, Mike DeWine, and the other attorneys general who have been leading the charge on this issue. If attorney general Bondi does not follow suit, I will,” said Torrens. “These pharmaceutical companies have knowingly misled physicians and patients into believing that these opioids did not contain addictive qualities,” said Torrens. “I believe it is vital to hold the manufacturers of these drugs accountable for their actions. For far too long, these companies have been able to act with impunity and indifference to the suffering of thousands of families. One life lost is simply too many. As Florida’s attorney general and top consumer advocate, I vow to stand up for each one of these victims and their families and zealously pursue justice on their behalf,” said Torrens.
The national opioid crisis has hit Florida particularly hard in recent years. Orange County has a special task force dedicated to the problem. Florida experienced a 139.5 percent increase in deaths caused by fentanyl in the first six months of 2016 compared to the first six months of 2015. In the United States, an estimated $420 billion dollars has been spent related to health care costs, crime and lost economic opportunity as a result of substance abuse disorders. Drug abuse is estimated to cost employers $81 billion dollars a year.
While the numbers and statistics are quite sobering, the numbers do not tell the whole story of opioid addiction. Each addict and overdose victim is a mother, a father, daughter, a son and a friend. This human toll is immeasurable.