If you live in Scioto County, the opioid epidemic has impacted your life. We know the damage of this epidemic better than most because as everyone knows, Scioto County is where it has done its worst. We’ve felt the pain addiction brings to communities to a greater degree than most counties can imagine.
Our communities should be known for their beautiful natural landscape and truly wonderful people. I’ve lived here most of my life, and like many of my friends and neighbors across Scioto County, I take tremendous pride in where I’m from. That’s why I want the reckless and irresponsible corporations responsible for what has happened to our communities to be held accountable.
The role Purdue Pharma played in the opioid epidemic as the manufacturer of OxyContin is fairly well known. Less familiar to most is the multi-billion-dollar consulting firm McKinsey & Company. It was McKinsey & Company that devised a lethal marketing strategy designed to help Purdue “turbocharge” sales of OxyContin. Following McKinsey’s guidance, Purdue increased sales of OxyContin 300 percent, despite restrictions the Food and Drug Administration put in place to stop Purdue’s unethical marketing tactics.
Between 2006 and 2014, opioid manufacturers flooded Scioto County with more than 48 million pills, mainly OxyContin and forms of Hydrocodone. That’s 48 million for a county that had a population of less than 80,000 in 2010. Scioto County became the “pill mill of America” and had the highest fatal overdose rate in Ohio.
We can’t change what brought us to this point in the crisis, and we can’t change the fact that it remains the most daunting challenge in front of us today. What we can do – what we must do – is hold accountable those that inflicted the opioid epidemic on our communities. The few hundred million McKinsey & Company agreed to pay in its settlement with 49 states should not feel like justice to anyone who has seen and felt what the opioid crisis has done to our communities. The settlement represents about 6% of McKinsey’s annual revenue. That is not accountability. It is a slap on the wrist that will do nothing to keep the next McKinsey & Company from doing the same thing.
This crisis is far from over. For all those we’ve lost, there are so many more struggling with addiction every day. It is time we demand significant financial consequences for the anguish companies like McKinsey & Company unleashed upon families across Scioto County.
Scioto County Commissioner