ENFIELD, CT (WFSB) -- Attorney General William Tong met with dozens of families and recovering addicts in Enfield on Monday in an informational meeting over the recent multi-state lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals.
For the first time, a pharmaceutical company and two of its former executives are facing federal criminal charges in connection with the ongoing opioid epidemic.
The multi-state lawsuit accuses Purdue Pharmaceuticals, located in Stamford, CT, and the Sackler family of deceptively selling the painkiller oxycontin and downplaying its addictiveness.
Likewise, those criminal charges against Rochester Drug Co-Operative in New York are adding a new twist to efforts to hold companies and people responsible for the opioid epidemic.
Channel 3 spoke with recovering addict, Sara Hayward who said she was prescribed opioids after a car accident. Hayward said the addiction is the worst man-made health crisis.
"Purdue PHARMA took away over a decade of my life,” said Hayward.
Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong is suing Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family.
"They knew people were dying and yet they kept going without any regard for their moral or legal responsibility. What we see from Richard Sackler is sell more -- now."
The Attorney General said Purdue Pharm is interested more in making money, than preserving human lives.
“We’re focused full board on trial and on holding them accountable but we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the people in the state,” said Tong.
Despite threats of possible bankruptcy, Attorney General Tong said the company must accept responsibility for the opioid crisis. Nearly one thousand people overdose each year in Connecticut, Tong said.
In a statement, the company said it will, “vigorously deny the allegations filed,” and “will continue to defend themselves against these misleading attacks.”
Tong’s announcement on Tuesday evening comes as federal prosecutors charged New York’s pharmaceutical company “Rochester Drug Cooperative” and two of its former executives.
“From 2012 to 2017, it shipped tens of millions of highly addictive oxycodone pills and fentanyl products to pharmacies that it knew were illegally dispensing narcotics,” said the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe 72,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses in 2017.