Pennsylvanians React to National Investigation into Marketing and Sale of Opioid Drugs

June 15, 2017 | Topic: Opioids

Governor Tom Wolf: “I thank Attorney General Shapiro for taking a lead role in today’s action and for being a vital partner in our fight against heroin and overuse of prescription opioids”

HARRISBURG — Public officials, prosecutors and advocates for drug treatment across the Commonwealth reacted strongly today to the announcement by Attorney General Josh Shapiro that a national, bipartisan group of Attorneys General are investigating whether manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids.

At a news conference in the Capitol, Attorney General Shapiro disclosed the existence of the national investigation, which Pennsylvania is helping to lead.  “The people peddling the drugs ripping apart our towns aren’t only on our street corners,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Three out of four heroin users started by abusing prescription opioids, and our ongoing investigation is going straight into the boardrooms of pharmaceutical companies. We will follow the evidence to hold every person and every company responsible for this tragedy accountable on behalf of Pennsylvanians.”

Positive responses to the announcement of the multistate attorneys general investigation came swiftly throughout the afternoon:

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf:
“Over the past few months, I have been proud to have my administration support and collaborate with Attorney General Shapiro on this important step in our fight against the opioid crisis. It is undeniable that powerful and overprescribed prescription drugs have played a significant role in the deadly addiction crisis facing Pennsylvania and states across the country. While we have taken steps to expand treatment for those suffering and expand resources for law enforcement and health professionals, the death toll is still rising in our state. I thank Attorney General Shapiro for taking a lead role in today’s action and for being a vital partner in our fight against heroin and overuse of prescription opioids.”

State Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks):
“The opioid crisis is something that affects almost every family here in Pennsylvania. I’ve been very open about my own son’s heroin addiction many years ago and I commend the decision by Attorney General Josh Shapiro to investigate the marketing and sale of opioid drugs. He’s bringing the fight against addiction to board rooms, just like he said he would.

State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) (Chair, Center for Rural Pennsylvania):
“I applaud the Attorney General’s efforts with this investigation. Any overture related to the opioid and heroin epidemic can be a benefit to Pennsylvania.”

Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser:
“I am encouraged! This move by Attorney General Shapiro recognizes we are in a national crisis and by joining other jurisdictions we stand a better chance of making headway, cutting off this ‘epidemic’ at its roots.”

Executive Director at the Cambria County Drug Coalition Ronna Yablonski:
“I applaud the actions taken by Attorney General Shapiro in holding accountable the pharmaceutical companies who may have directly contributed to the opioid epidemic and caused devastation, fear and grief in the lives of every single Commonwealth resident – not one life has been left untouched. In a county that has experienced a 62 percent increase in fatal drug overdose deaths from 2015 to  2016, the actions taken today by the Attorney General could not have come soon enough. This is a positive step.”

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