Encinitas Mother Of Addiction Victim Says Opioid Settlement Doesn't Hold Companies Accountable
Speaker 1: 00:00 Just a week after the announcement of a multi-billion dollar settlement with opioid manufacturers, the agreement is showing signs of strain. West Virginia has already said it won't participate in the $26 billion multi-state settlement. The city of Philadelphia says it wants to continue on with his own lawsuit. Both say the amount is too low for the damage caused by opioid manufacturers, California supports the huge settlement, but there is still doubt about whether the companies involved Johnson and Johnson and three drug distributors, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal health and McKesson are truly being held accountable for their aggressive marketing of the highly addictive pain pills, Encinitas resident, Lisa Nava lost her son, Alex to opioid addiction in 2019. She is president of north county justice allies and a member of the addiction awareness initiative. Lisa Nava, welcome to the show. Thank Speaker 2: 00:57 You. Thank you. Glad to be here now. I was Speaker 1: 01:00 So close to this issue. Does this settlement give you any sense that justice has been served? Speaker 2: 01:06 No, not at all. I don't think there's any amount of money or a good name redemption, uh, for these drug companies that can do the justice to the devastation, not only to personal families, but to our communities. Do you think your Speaker 1: 01:24 Son was a victim of the marketing campaigns that those opioid companies pursued? I'm not sure if Speaker 2: 01:30 He was a victim from the marketing campaign. However, I do know that he was over prescribed Oxycontin when he broke his knee and I believe that it was just a primer to using drugs in the future. One of the things I see is, you know, even with, um, getting your wisdom teeth removed at such a young age, they're using Oxycontin, sending kids home with it, and that it really needs to stop for me your Speaker 1: 01:54 Work with the addiction awareness initiative. What else can you tell us about the impact of opioid addiction in our community? Speaker 2: 02:01 People are so confused. Uh, it is so hard to find resources. We say that this is a crisis and yet the crisis interventions, um, are not really working for my son, particularly, you know, they, they talk about relapsing right after rehab. He only went to rehab one time and you know, the drugs on the street right now are, are fatal. And, um, you can't find enough resources or help to, you know, abate the addiction that's happened. The ravaging, our communities now Speaker 1: 02:32 Much of your work focuses on shifting the stigma of addiction and overdose away from the victims. And I'm wondering, does a huge settlement against the manufacturers help to do that. It certainly is a good Speaker 2: 02:46 Way to have national accountability in a way that we use in America too, to have some accountability. So I feel hopeful that settlement will have people accountable and turn people's faces away from the victim, always carrying the burden to be stronger, better, faster to overcome this mammoth problem. So yes, accountability is important and I think it is one step towards ending the stigma. Speaker 1: 03:15 I think most people in the general public don't know about the way these drugs were marketed, about the way they were prescribed and what led up to, to so many people becoming addicted to them. I think Speaker 2: 03:29 One thing people don't realize is that, you know, it's your neighbor. It's not just the homeless people on the street. It's your grandma, it's the medicine in your cabinet. And, um, it's really a societal problem of our pill culture. The thing that's not talked about in the lawsuit, that's really important to me is our drugs on the street today are laced with fentanyl, which is completely fatal. You can't really be a long-term fentanyl user and expect to survive. And so I would like to see some of those, uh, programs really targeting fentinol and stopping the flow of fentanyl into our communities, Speaker 1: 04:04 Part of the settlement, none of the companies involved in this admitted to any wrongdoing that must be difficult for you and the families touched by the opioid crisis. Speaker 2: 04:14 You know, it is very difficult, um, because you just want to be recognized that, that this wasn't a failure of parenting or morality or strength that it really was a failure at a level that we had no control over. And yes, those words that we did something wrong are very important to families. It's hard when announcing Speaker 1: 04:40 This settlement, uh, California attorney general, Rob Bonta said that this represents one step in the process of healing our communities. Do you agree with that? Speaker 2: 04:50 Yes, it does represent one step. Um, you know, money goes a long way into, um, trying to find the resources that are our substance abuse disorder. Um, folks need our families need, uh, but it's a long way from being able to heal anything in the community. How do you think California Speaker 1: 05:12 Should use the estimated 2.3 billion it may get from this proposed settlement? Speaker 2: 05:18 Well, I think, uh, medically assisted treatment is a critical for opioid addiction and substance abuse disorder. It is quite controversial. Um, so I'm hoping that California will find its way into mat, um, and really support people that way. Um, I also think that, um, harm reduction such as, uh, Naloxone and Narcan needs to be an everyday word. We, we use, it just was recently added to the CPR standards. So, um, that's an opioid reversal drug and they are teaching people through CPR to administrate this, this drug. And that is really where a lot of the money should be going is getting that Narcan into the communities. Speaker 1: 06:07 Do you think the effort and resources should be in San Diego to really address the problem of opioid addiction? Sure. Speaker 2: 06:14 Well, a hundred percent we need to do better at treatment options. Um, treatment is extremely expensive. The insurance companies, in my case, didn't want to even pay for 30 days in a rehabilitation place. And I had to fight for that. So we need to make it easier for people to receive treatment. It's a split second when the, um, addict is, um, able to make a decision that they want help. And in that split second, if you have to wait a week a month, um, even a day, sometimes that is a matter of life and death. Yeah, there's $26 billion Speaker 1: 06:50 Settlement is not a done deal. Yet enough states have to sign on to it for it to go through. And if they don't, these individual state and city lawsuits have to move through, the courts may be taking many more years. So do you think the lawsuits should end with this degree, you Speaker 2: 07:09 Know, without knowing the devil, the financial devastation in a city, I would be reticent in saying that the lawsuit suits should end. However, I would say that a quick turnaround on these lawsuits is critically important for communities that are being affected by, um, opioid addiction and overdose. Um, so I am a proponent in trying to settle the lawsuits and getting as many states on the lawsuit as possible. Um, because I think that the, the communities really need the resources, Speaker 1: 07:43 The words, the quick settlement of these lawsuits would more quickly bring money to the committee. Yes, Speaker 2: 07:51 More quickly bring money to the communities and people like me who have been personally affected and, um, have stepped into this fight. We'll be able to see some sort of, um, hope at the light, you know, light at the end of the tunnel. I've Speaker 1: 08:07 Been speaking with Encinitas resident, Lisa Nava, president of north county justice allies, and a member of the addiction awareness initiative. Lisa, thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank you for this platform. The north county justice allies will be holding an event on the 29th of August at Encinitas community park to raise awareness for the issue of addiction in our community. Yeah.