The faces behind the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma

Hartford

Their stories are similar.

“I was president of student council. Straight A’s through high school,” said Sarah Howroyd of Manchester, who became addicted to opioids.

She was in a car accident with her boyfriend in 2005.

“We were prescribed an astronomical amount of OxyContin,” said Howroyd.

Brittany Niver was just 14 when she was prescribed OxyContin after losing her front teeth in a bike accident. 

“It all started because I was prescribed them so young, when my brain was still forming,” said Niver.

“Little did I know that I was…That would start the fight for her life,” said her mother, Paige.

They met with Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, who has launched an expanded fight against Stamford-based Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin.

“It really puts into focus how outrageous it is that Purdue Pharma and other defendants blame you,” Tong told the women. 

He believes the owners, the Sackler family, and company leaders ran a misleading marketing campaign to get people hooked and push doctors to over-prescribe the drug. On Monday, he expanded the lawsuit to include claims they fraudulently transferred billions of dollars into trusts and shell companies.

Related Content: Connecticut expands lawsuit against Purdue Pharma

“We’re going to go into bankruptcy court and say, ‘No, judge. They have money. They’re not bankrupt. They’ve just taken it out already,” said Tong. “They’re just hiding it.”

The defendants in this latest lawsuit have until June 6th to respond, and the State Attorney General’s office believes that it will be with a motion to dismiss this case.

“We’re hunkered down for the long haul on this one,” said Tong.

And so are the ladies.

“I started using heroin on the street right after high school,” said Brittany Niver.

They hope this lawsuit will help others avoid the same suffering. Settlement money could go to prevention and treatment.

“With increased counseling, with coping mechanisms,” said Lisa Christino of Soutington. Her son, Brandon, became addicted at 19 after he was discharged from the military and was prescribed opioids for pain in his upper leg. 

Howroyd, whose fiancé later died of an opioid overdose, has this to say to those who claim they did nothing wrong:

“Show us,” said Howroyd. “Put your kids and grandkids in a room, feed them these opioids for thirty days, and tell me none of them come out addicted.”

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