Lawsuit takes on family behind OxyContin

The state of Massachusetts is suing the family that owns the company that produces OxyContin, accusing them of misleading the public about its dangers.
1:56 | 01/17/19

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Transcript for Lawsuit takes on family behind OxyContin
We turn to the bombshell lawsuit taking on the powerful opioid oxycontin and the family that owns the company producing it. The state of Massachusetts is suing them accusing them of misleading the public about its dangers and ABC's whit Johnson joins us with more. Good morning to you, whit. Reporter: Michael, good morning to you. The national safety council says Americans are more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than a car crash. This morning the attorney general of Massachusetts is accusing the billionaire sackler family of contributing to the epidemic saying they knew the risks but pushed the drug anyway. The complaint agos certain members of the sackler family who are worth $13 billion were aware of the dangers of oxycontin but continued to push sales. According to newly filed court documents when oxycontin was first released Richard sackler is quoted as saying it would be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions and says years later as evidence of widespread abuse of oxycontin began to mount, sackler urged the company to blame addicts allegedly writing in an email, we have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible, they are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals. Purdue pharma telling ABC news the attorney general has cherry-picked from among tens of millions of emails and other business documents produced by Purdue. The complaint is littered with biased and inaccurate characterizations of these documents. Purdue and the individual defendants will aggressively defend against these misleading allegations. Now, Purdue pharma's statement goes on to say we continue to fight for balance in the public discourse so that society can simultaneously help pain patients in need and create real solutions to the complex problem of addiction. The company and sackler family are facing dozens of other lawsuits across the country. Robin. All right, whit, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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