The opioid addiction epidemic affects people throughout the Chicago area, including here in DeKalb and Kendall counties. When it first began, authorities quickly began treating opioid addiction like they deal with other drug addictions — as a crime that needs to be punished.
But increasingly, lawmakers and state officials are recognizing that passing harsh drug laws and imprisoning addicts is not an effective solution. Instead, treating addiction as a medical problem seems to be a more humane and useful strategy to reducing its impact on society, including the danger of deadly overdoses.
Settlement with drug company will mean $1.6 billion to fight addiction
Statewide addiction treatment is expensive. Fortunately, taxpayers will not have to foot the entire bill, thanks to Illinois’ involvement in a multistate lawsuit settlement with drugmaker Mallinckrodt, also known as MNK. MNK is the largest single manufacturer of generic opioids in the country, and attorneys general across the country sued the company for deceptive marketing practices. “MNK selfishly and irresponsibly sacrificed the health and safety of Illinois residents for its own financial gain,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said.
As part of the settlement, MNK will pay $1.6 billion into a trust that will fund anti-opioid addiction efforts here in Illinois and elsewhere. The company has also agreed to restrictions to its marketing efforts.
What to do about opioid-related drug charges
For people struggling with opioid addiction, or those with a family member who is addicted, this news could mean that more treatment options will be available fairly soon. However, it does not cancel out any criminal drug charges you or your loved one might be facing after a recent arrest. Dealing with charges of trafficking, possession or prescription fraud requires the support, guidance and advocacy of an experienced defense attorney.