Most people in Louisiana have heard reports about the tragic epidemic related to opioid addiction and abuse that the country has been facing in the recent years. Many people may well have even known a person who has become addicted to these drugs after being prescribed their use by a medical professional. The pain and suffering that numerous families have endured due to the actions of the drug companies is endless.
The widespread nature of the opioid problem has led some people to question the path to some form of justice or compensation. As reported by NPR, there are more than 2,000 civil lawsuits that have been launched against a variety of pharmaceutical manufacturers or their executive personnel. These cases relate to some portion of the more than 400,000 people who have died due to opioid use, addiction or overdose as per the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2007, some pharmaceutical executives plead guilty to some misdemeanor charges relating to their marketing and other tactics. Sadly, this event did not seem sufficient to deter further actions on their part or on the part of those at other companies. There remain little to no other criminal charges levied against these individuals or businesses.
One of the reasons for the emphasis on civil rather than criminal liability may well be the difference in the threshold to attaining the desired result. Winning a criminal case means that a person must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a much harder threshold to cross than the one in a civil case.