As a mother, you do everything to protect your child. You follow all safety suggestions, laws, and doctors’ advice just to ensure that you get to watch your child grow up and enjoy their life. But what happens when something out of your control threatens the life of your child, and ultimately ends up taking it? What happens when you finally know who played a role in taking away that piece of you?
They always say it will get better with time, but it never does. Time only brings around the milestones, birthdays, holidays, and any day that I would have been able to be with my son. Time does not make losing a child any easier but seeing who is responsible be held accountable, hopefully preventing this horrific experience from happening to others, will.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the rate of youth deaths from opioid overdoses has tripled. This exponential death rate is due to companies such as McKinsey & Co. misleading medical professionals that we trust to keep our children safe, to prescribe or make a drug with potentially devasting effects more accessible. They took an institution that we trusted and relied on, exploited it for financial gain without any regard for our children, and they need to be held responsible. What they have done is wrong, and unfortunately, my son fell victim to the ruthless marketing practices that achieved what they intended – to kickstart uncontrollable addiction.
What we are now seeing are municipalities across the country speaking out and taking action by filing their own suits against McKinsey – more than 150 total, with a couple right here in Florida, all fueled by the need to seek justice for the negative impacts of the opioid epidemic on a local community. However, McKinsey & Co is demeaning these voices, claiming that these lawsuits are lost causes, with no substantial leg to stand on. They believe they are exempt because of the settlements they entered to with attorneys general across the country, and should no longer be vulnerable to lawsuits by individual cities, counties, or municipalities. How can these settlements equate to the lives of our children? How is that enough? They show no remorse or regret for the role they played in creating the destructive system of opioid addiction. Now is the time for us to stand up for our own rights, as the federal court is reviewing the viability of these cases with the judge’s decision expected later this summer.
I urge mothers, fathers, friends, and medical professionals to recognize the value of their voice and use it to support those still seeking justice. Here in Florida, we’ve seen elected officials like U.S. Representative Darren Soto and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio call out McKinsey for their unethical behavior across other business the company has conducted, and with these local lawsuits focused on the opioid epidemic, we’ve seen entities like the City of Pembroke Pines and the Putnam County School Board step up on behalf of their residents. Let our voices work to achieve justice for families in these cities, counties, and municipalities. Let us show that we will not stop until the threat of opioid addiction is eradicated, and our children safe.
Central Florida resident Della Wiggins lost a son to overdose and helped found Advocates for our Angels and H.O.P.E. — Helping One Parent Empower (another) — for parents still supporting a child battling addiction.