Like thousands of children born every year, Baby Doe was born addicted to opioids. The first days of his life were spent in excruciating pain as doctors weaned him from his opioid addiction. Baby Doe's mother fell victim to an epidemic that has ravaged Tennessee, causing immense suffering to those born addicted to opioids and costing tens of thousands of dollars to local governments forced to deal with the aftermath.
The opioid epidemic did not appear overnight. It is the result of a concerted effort among Purdue Pharma, L.P. (Purdue), Mallinckrodt PLC and other opioid manufacturing, to mislead doctors and the public about the need for and addictive nature of opioid drugs. They spent years engaged in a fraudulent scheme to push their wares into a market of unsuspecting doctors and patients. When it became clear that entire regions of the country were being devastated by addiction to these drugs, the manufacturers turned a blind eye to the problems, and collected millions of dollars in profits.
Baby Doe is a victim of the opioid crisis. He was born hooked on opioids and forced to endure a painful start to his life, crying excessively, arching his back, refusing to feed. His mother, Mary Doe, did not start out as an addict. As a teenager, she experimented with drugs and alcohol. Like so many of her peers, Mary Doe took opioids recreationally at a party or on the weekend. As a result of defendants fraudulent scheme, Sullivan County, Tennessee was awash in opioids, fueling a dramatic increase in those exposed to, and addicted to OxyContin, Roxicodone and other opioids, it didn’t take long until the addiction took hold. She was taking the pills daily in order to stave off the withdrawal.
Then, in 2011, Mary Doe was involved in a serious automobile accident. She broke her ankle and legs and needed multiple surgeries to place pins in her legs and to repair the damage. During that timeframe, Mary Doe was in extraordinary pain. To help alleviate her discomfort, her physician prescribed her Lortab. He did not ask her any questions to screen for opioid dependence or abuse, and yet prescribed her the addictive opioid Lortab. She dutifully took her prescribed medication but unbeknownst to her physician, she was taking it twice as often as her doctor prescribed. Out of medication and without a valid prescription, but needing to fuel her addiction, Mary Doe obtained Oxycontin and Roxicodone from others. She had been fully addicted to opioids illegally for about 4 years when she discovered she was pregnant. But by then it was too late, her unborn child was now addicted to opioids too.
It is now beyond reasonable question that defendant’s fraud created the environment for Mary Doe and thousands of others in Tennessee to become addicted to opioids — an addiction that thanks to their fraudulent conduct was all but certain to occur.