“No one can possibly underestimate how historic (Thursday’s) session will be,” Arik Preis, a lawyer representing Purdue’s creditors, told the judge Wednesday. The settlement agreement is estimated to be worth at least $10 billion over time. It calls for members of the Sackler family to contribute $5.5 billion to $6 billion over 17 years to fight the opioid crisis. That’s an increase of more than $1 billion over a previous version that was rejected by another judge on appeal. Most of the money would be used for efforts to combat the crisis, but $750 million would go directly to victims or their survivors.
Their advocacy helped send Purdue Pharma into bankruptcy and is forcing the family that has controlled the company for generations to relinquish ownership and provide billions of dollars for communities to combat opioid addiction, AP reports.
But what victims of opioid abuse and those who have lost loved ones to America’s long battle with addiction have wanted most was a chance to confront members of the Sackler family, whom they blame for touching off a crisis that has cost some 500,000 lives over the past two decades.
On Thursday, some of them will finally get their chance.
In a hearing that will be virtual but is certain to be packed with emotion, roughly 20 people whose lives and families have been wracked by opioid abuse will give statements in U.S. Bankruptcy Court with some members of the Sackler family listening. They are likely tell about the pain of losing children after years of trying to get them adequate treatment, about their own journeys through addiction and about caring for babies born into withdrawal and screaming in pain.
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