Colorado’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, is likely to end in a settlement that could give the state ten of millions to invest in addiction treatment, state Attorney General Phil Weiser said.
“They don’t have a leg to stand on,” Weiser said of Purdue. He called the facts of the case “damning,” in an interview Monday with the The Durango Herald’s editorial board.
Former Attorney General Cynthia Coffman filed a lawsuit against Purdue in September, alleging the company misled Colorado health care providers and consumers about the addiction risks associated with opioid painkillers.
Some patients who received opioid prescriptions went on to seek out other forms of opioids, such as heroin, which contributed to a high number of deaths related to opioids across the state, data show.
Colorado is one of many states, cities and counties to sue Purdue for damages related to the opioid epidemic.
Weiser said he expected the case would be settled while he is in office.
He cited Oklahoma’s $200 million settlement with Purdue as proof.
It is possible Purdue could reduce its liability by filing bankruptcy, an option the company has floated, according to national media outlets.
If Colorado settles with Purdue, Weiser said he would like to see the money invested in treatment options, including peer support, rehabilitation to gain job skills and outpatient and inpatient treatment centers.
“This is my top priority,” he said.
Inpatient and outpatient drug rehab is lacking across the state. In La Plata County, two outpatient clinics are dedicated to addiction treatment, and inpatient drug treatment is not available.