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Who should be held responsible for narcotics abuse?




The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed August 21, 2001 at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, MA. The powerful painkiller, manufactured to relieve the pain of seriously ill people, is being used by some addicts to achieve a high similar to a heroin rush.
The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed August 21, 2001 at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, MA. The powerful painkiller, manufactured to relieve the pain of seriously ill people, is being used by some addicts to achieve a high similar to a heroin rush.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

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Orange and Santa Clara counties are suing five large narcotics manufacturers, citing false advertising and unfair business practices.

The suit accuses the companies of creating a public nuisance and causing a prescription drug epidemic. Both counties have high numbers of overdose deaths and emergency room visits related to abuse of prescription narcotics.

O.C. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas argues that the case is a “matter of public protection,” and that the drug companies manipulate doctors and patients into prescribing and using narcotic painkillers to treat conditions that don’t require that level on intense treatment.

Abuse of prescription narcotics can lead to addiction and illegal drug use.

Have narcotics manufacturers unfairly targeted California doctors and patients in their advertising? Who is responsible for the abuse of prescription drugs -- the manufacturer, the doctor, or the patient? How should these California counties handle the problem of narcotics use?

Guests:

Tony Rackauckas, Orange County District Attorney

Jody Armour,  Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law