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Kentucky to Pursue Lawsuit Against Oxycontin Maker

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Abuse of the powerful painkiller Oxycontin has gotten so bad in Kentucky that the drug has earned the name of "heroin of the hills". Kentucky officials have struggled for years to stem the problem, but with little success. However, they may recently have gotten the break they have so desperately sought after with a recent court ruling that will allow them to pursue the drug's maker in state court.

The Kentucky Attorney General's office recently won a court ruling that pushed a lawsuit from the federal level back to Pike County in Kentucky against Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin. Kentucky officials accuse the company of false advertising, such as convincing doctors that the drug is less addictive and has fewer withdrawal symptoms than other narcotic painkillers. Now, Kentucky officials can have their day in court to argue those claims against the giant pharmaceutical company that has richly profited off of their powerful painkiller. Nevertheless, Purdue maintains its claims that it has not misled consumers or healthcare providers.

Kentucky officials estimate that the fight against Oxycontin abuse has cost the state an estimated $15 million. The state even has its own unit responsible for handling Oxycontin abuse, project UNITE, which is present in 29 eastern Kentucky counties. During its time of operation, UNITE has seized approximately 11,500 pills. The group also estimates that each pill can fetch about $80-$100 on the street and that prescription drug abuse is still the most prevalent of addictions.