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Addiction in Pop Culture

Palm Beach County Sues Walmart and CVS Over Opioid Crisis

In an attempt to regain some of the money that has been spent on tackling the opioid crisis in Palm Beach, the county has filed suit against over a dozen individuals and companies. Their claim? That these big companies such as Walmart, CVS, and Johnson and Johnson have been using deceptive trading and negligence that have helped fuel that opioid crisis in the area.

The Effects

It is no secret that the effects of the opioid and heroin crisis are a real problem in our nation today. However, research has shown that despite the overwhelming numbers of death so far, they show no signs of stopping.

This could be due to the introduction of the deadly chemical compound, carfentanil. While yes, overdose deaths from opioids are still occurring, this has by far become the major killer in Palm Beach County. For example:

  • 254 Palm Beach County residents overdosed on fentanyl or carfentanil within the first 6 months of 2017.
  • These deadly drugs have now been found to be mixed into cocaine, resulting in a 59% increase in cocaine overdoses and deaths in the first 6 months of 2017
  • Palm Beach County currently leads the state in opioid-related deaths, with more overdose deaths than five-sixths of the counties combined.

The Scope

The scope of the cases that Palm Beach County has filed is immense. With over 25 different defendants on the docket, this lawsuit is no small measure. However, according to the complaint, the case is about more than just settling for money.

“This case is about one thing: corporate greed. Defendants put their desire for profits above the health and well-being of Palm Beach County consumers at the cost of the plaintiff,” the complaint states.

Other countries around the country have been taking part in cases such as these, where evidence reports malicious and negligent business ethics at play by these major pharmaceutical companies and businesses.

According to the case, the opioid crisis has not only affected the financial stability of the county, but also areas such as homelessness, foster care, emergency services, and law enforcement.

It goes without saying that the emotional and psychological backlash of those family members and loved ones who have been affected by the ever-rising overdose rates is a definite driving force in the reclamation of the counties wellbeing, safety, and financial security.

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The Defendants

Among the list of defendants are major, household name companies such as Walmart, CVS, and Johnson and Johnson. However, some of the lesser known companies and individuals are being charged with bribing prescribers to boost prescription sales, deceptive marketing, fraudulent marketing, misleading medical education, funding false presentations, unjust enrichment, and deceptive sales training.

Some of the other defendants included in the complaint were:

  • Walgreens
  • Purdue Pharma
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals
  • Watson Laboratories
  • Insys Therapeutic
  • Cardinal Health

Many of these companies are also involved in suits across the country for the same charges. For example, states such as Ohio, New York, California, and West Virginia have filed similar complaints against companies such as Teva, Watson, Purdue, and Cardinal Health for their misleading business practices and excessive flooding of addictive prescriptions into underprivileged areas.

The Tactics

One could wonder, why these doctors and medical professionals would give in to the bribery of these big business’, despite their oath to uphold truthful and honest medical practices. After all of the schooling, the financial aid loans, and the hours spent to become practitioners, why would these medical professionals be willing to throw all that away for a quick buck or free dinners?

According to one medical marketing expert, these sales reps exploit the weaknesses of doctors with flattery and friendship, and in some cases, “companionship”.

According to Alec Burlakoff, former sales chief for Insys Therapeutics, “When you are dealing with doctors who are around pain and cancer all day, an empathetic and caring salesperson is helpful.” Burlakoff was later charged for using sham speakers to bribe doctors to prescribe the fentanyl drug Subsys to patients.

Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, a pharmacology professor at Georgetown University and director of PharmedOut, states that medical sales representatives are well trained and armed with the best tactics of pulling medical professionals heartstrings.

“Drug company reps are trained to asses doctors personalities, practice styles, and preferences so they can influence prescribing… Physicians are overworked, overwhelmed, buried in paperwork and they feel unappreciated,” she states.

Some cases have even been reported of bribery with escorts, dates, and perks such as cruises and tickets for expensive music or sporting events. For a medical professional who is going through a time of change, such as a divorce, opening up a practice, closing a practice, or one who just has a crazy patient load, these small tricks and bribes can be easily rationalized with, “you deserve it”.

The Roadblocks

It is pretty well known that many of these companies are well protected to the point of being almost untouchable on these subjects. That being said, the likelihood of losing a case such as this could be catastrophic for the county financially.

While there have been settlements from these mega-companies in the past, losing this case could mean coughing up huge amounts of money for court costs and attorney fees. One major concern in this arena is taxpayer dollars.

The scope and duration of this case would be immense, meaning that those court fees and attorney fees could become pretty substantial, so some commissioners are working to protect the taxpayer by mandating that any firm that covers the case will be responsible for covering any and all costs that could potentially arise.

However, this creates a little bit of an ethical snag, as the Florida Bar prohibits firms providing financial assistance to clients and covering costs against successful lawsuits.  

As for now, the case is only in its beginning days, so time will tell the outcome. In the meantime, the opioid epidemic and the carfentanil rampage are still wildly underway.

Getting Help at Wayside House

If you are a woman struggling with addiction and mental health issues, Wayside House can help. We offer a women-only program and provide a safe, supportive environment to recover in. We have outstanding treatments and therapies that are often only found in more expensive programs. We offer inpatient rehab with various therapies, relapse prevention education, outpatient, and aftercare, as well as services for medical professionals and veterans. Contact Wayside House at 800-655-0817 to learn more.

Testimonials

  • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

  • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

    Alexandra N.

  • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

    Amanda O.

  • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

    Amy G

  • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

  • “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    Allen S.

  • “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    Rita P.

  • “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    Katrin O.

  • “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    Jan S.

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    What People Are Saying

    • “I have always supported Wayside House — I know women who have come through their program and support all they do. If you don’t know about this fabulous place I encourage you to become involved and find out more — they are an anchor in Delray Beach and their history speaks for itself.” 

      Nancy S.

    • “I went through Wayside House & it was the first place that actually felt like home to me. The staff actually care about their clients and their sobriety. I worked through so much here without fear of being judged. I love wayside & it will always have a special place in my heart along with ALL the amazing women who work there.”

      Mandy W

    • I so wish I could tell the girls how much Wayside saved my life,  and after 31 years sober, it still is just “One Day at a Time” and “The Serenity Prayer.” I will always remember those first days of being at Wayside and how the girls , the counselors , and the House put me back on track to living a fulfilled and Sober life . I followed the AA steps, got a wonderful sponsor and have followed that path ever since. — Pamela R.

    • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

    • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

      Alexandra N.

    • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

      Amanda O.

    • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

      Amy G

    • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

    • Allen S.

      “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    • Rita P.

      “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    • Katrin O.

      “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    • Jan S.

      “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    • Leah J.

      “I just wanted to thank you for how you and the team make the world a better place.  I won’t claim to understand the things you sacrifice, but you are truly wonderful for doing so.“

    • Janine T.

      “I  highly recommend Wayside Women’s in Delray Beach. My daughter completed their wonderful program, she’ll have 2 years July 1st. They have an active alumni. I couldn’t say enough good things about them, they’ve been doing this since mid70’s.”

    • Stacy J.

      “ Thankful for my sobriety and for Wayside! “

    • Susan B.

      “Wayside House was and is an amazing place to me. I am on a journey that is better than I could have ever imagined. The strength of the women that came before me, that are beside me, and those that are there now teach me how to live “.

    • Lisa D.

      “Wayside saved my life and I will never be able to repay them for everything they have done for me.”

    • Dolores A.

      “Wayside house saved my daughter’s life. She transformed into the beautiful woman I knew she could be. It’s only been a few months but one day at a time she and I are enjoying her recovery journey!!!”

    • Jeanne H.

      “We appreciate all that you do to help individuals in recovery, demonstrating God’s love in our community. Your staff at Wayside House continue to help in so many ways, women and their families that need the love, care and support that you are able to provide. Thank you so much for all you do for them.  May God continue to bless you, your staff and your volunteers each and every day for the light you provide for our community.”

    • Susan C.

      “ Wayside is “the light”! Congratulations on the article in the Palm Beach Post
      for all you do to make the commitment to help those in need.”

    • Lynne B.

      “I will always be grateful to Wayside for giving my daughter the tools and knowledge to live a sober life on the outside. You changed her life thank you thank you thank you, may all the people that pass through your wonderful cozy house succeed in sobriety as well.”

    • Katy B.

      “I am sober and happy today thanks to Wayside.”

    • A.D.

      “Having the opportunity to go to Wayside was the best thing I’ve ever done. They lovingly deconstructed my life so I could put it back together. They are a serious program that gave me the ability to understand myself in a way I never thought was possible. They didn’t baby me and they taught me how to be beautifully authentic with myself and those around me. I really can’t thank them enough.”

    • Susan T.

      “Please keep up your wonderful work; the kids of south Florida need you.”

    • Jaimie K.

      “I am making this donation and thank you for all you do!”

    • Pam H.

      “Celebrating 29 years 7/22/2016. Sponsoring, 3-5 meetings a week, and forever grateful to Wayside House!”

    • Laura B.

      “I will be celebrating my 17th year clean and sober.  PLEASE share with the celebrants that I am with them in spirit even though I can’t be with them.  Wayside rocks!  Remind them to stay until the magic happens.”

    • BH alumni

      “I just want to give a shout out to the Wayside staff and alumni who organized and participated in the first annual gratitude dinner. The entire evening was absolutely devine! Wayside House saved my life and I am so very happy that you are at the helm.”

    • Brenda

      “Just walking down memory lane! I Love Wayside House! I went through twice!!
      LOL!! Clean and sober today! Love to all the women! XOXO”

    • Ashley

      “Thank you to Marlies and the Posner Center because without your guidance I wouldn’t have been pushed to pursue what I love and want out of a job and school. You’re amazing!”

    • Colletta D.

      “Proud to be a donor supporter of your efforts.”

    • Sara W.

      “Wayside House saved my life. It was a place that gave me a purpose to follow my dreams. And gave me a life that I never thought could be possible. It is a place where God lives in the lives of so many recovering women. Thank you.”

    • Andrea S.

      “So many miracles and beautiful souls are at Wayside. It’s a very special place.”

    • Phoebe M.

      “What an incredible gift to have gone to Wayside House.  Keep up the great work!”

    • Kathy G.

      “I’m so grateful to be a Wayside Winner 12/89 . One day at a Time.”

    • Christine D.

      “I have to commend Wayside House. They are a 1st class treatment center.”

    • Christine A.

      “I went through Wayside House in 1991 and have been clean and sober for 23 years. I have had four children, two grandchildren, and am happily married. The aftercare and parenting groups that Wayside had is something that helped me so very much as a new parent who was fairly new in recovery. I now have a Bachelor’s degree in social work and am working on a Master’s degree in counseling specializing in addictions counseling. If I had not been placed in Wayside House so many years ago I would have never been able to achieve the things that I have in my life. I am forever grateful for the blessing it has had in my life!”

    • Jeffrey Lane Esq., Weiner, Lynne & Thompson P.A.

      “Wayside is the benchmark by which I hold other similar facilities too.”

    • John Lehman, President FARR

      “I know many women whose lives have been greatly impacted by the quality support they experienced while enrolled and residing in your program. My first hand knowledge dates back to 1980 and I can attest to Wayside’s long tradition of excellence.”

    • J.L.

      “Wayside House saved my sobriety at a critical time in my life. My HP knew I needed to be there and surrounded by strong women who believed in me. Thank you!”

    • Evelyn H.

      “ My life has changed very deeply. I have been given the gift of life in sobriety and treating it like a present.”

    • Cynthia F.

      “I hated God & tried not to believe in any higher power before getting sober. Now I know that each day is a gift and
      that all things are possible through my spiritual connection. All of life is a miracle and for the ultimate good.”

    • Liz D.

      “I just wanted to send my gratitude and thanks for all you have done for me and thousands of women out there recovering from addictions.”

    • Sally W.

      “God bless your work at Wayside.”

    • T.P.

      “Thank you for all that you have done to make me experience Wayside and the true change in my life through this program. I am grateful.”

    • Cindy

      “To all of you fortunate enough to celebrate the holidays at Wayside, I hope you find peace and happiness.
      My Christmas at Wayside was one of the best ever as I received the lasting gift of sobriety. God Bless you all!”

    • Anonymous

      “ My children have been returned and I have found God.”

    • Anonymous

      “Wayside House and God have given me a life I never thought I deserved.”

    • Anonymous

      “Wayside House played a very big role in treating our daughter. We will be forever grateful for you and our blessings from the Lord.”

    • Anonymous

      “ I have restored relationships with my family and learned how to love others. I am accountable, help and trust others and enjoy living life. I have peace and I don’t worry. I know that everything is going to be OK. I also attend three meetings a week and sponsor several women.”

    • Anonymous

      “ By spending time with my awesome God every morning who saved me by touching my life while at Wayside. God continues to draw me close to him.”

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