Physician Charged with Murder as Opioid Crackdown Continues

Doctor arrested

Lately, I’ve noticed a considerable crackdown on pharmaceutical companies and doctors. More and more drugmakers and prescribers have been held accountable for their roles in creating the enormous public health crisis that we have today in the United States. As the opioid crisis has continued to leave considerable damage in its wake, the justice system has stepped in and taken a different approach than civilly going after drug manufacturers and doctors for shady marketing and prescribing practices. Now, these companies and medical professionals are being criminally charged for their behavior.

Most recently, a huge lawsuit out of Oklahoma hit news headlines across the nation as Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Purdue Pharma were criminally pursued for creating what Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter calls the, “worst manmade public health crisis in the history of our state and country.” Teva and Purdue both settled with the state of Oklahoma before the trial began, leaving Johnson & Johnson to be the only defendant in the case.

“I’ve been a prosecutor for 22 years and have not seen a 25-count indictment during those years.”

This week, a doctor in Ohio got hit with 25 counts of murder after he allegedly prescribed what’s being called an excessive amount of opioid medications. The doctor, William Husel, worked for the Mount Carmel Health system for three years and was let go from his position last December. Ron O’Brien, Franklin County Prosecutor said, “I’ve been a prosecutor for 22 years and have not seen a 25-count indictment during those years.”

The doctor is looking at possibly 15 years to life in prison if he’s convicted on the charges. Husel has also been hit with nearly twenty wrongful-death lawsuits connected with this case.

These cases are starting a new beginning of finally holding doctors and pharmaceutical companies criminally responsible for the chaos they’ve created in our society. The drug problem has continued to push forward at a relentless rate. Pharmaceutical companies and doctors have been hit in their pockets in the past and with the tens of millions of dollars each has in their bank accounts, it’s just a mere “drop in the bucket.” But going after these people and organizations criminally might start to show that we’re not messing around. We, as a society, are going to hold those responsible for the deaths of our loved ones that could have been so easily prevented.

Greed and money

I hope these cases strike fear in those whose ethical standards have substantially slipped so they could make a payday. I hope this makes shady doctors and Big Pharma think twice and about distributing the newest “wonder drug” none of us need. I hope this starts to invoke a change on a massive scale because that’s what it’s going to take to start to arrest this problem (no pun intended) once and for all. Yes, of course proper measures to handle those who are already addicted is still of the upmost importance, but this problem has gotten so massive that it’s probably going to take a massive solution to handle it.

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.