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While state and local governments will divide up billions from the Sacklers and Purdue for treatment and prevention programs, if the current draft — or some approximation — of the Purdue bankruptcy and settlement plan were adopted, individual victims will get far less. They can apply for compensation from a fund of up to $750 million and would be able to collect amounts ranging from $3,500 to $48,000.
Parents and guardians of about 6,550 children with a history of neonatal abstinence syndrome may each receive about $7,000. Many must show proof that OxyContin was directly implicated — a high bar, given the passage of time and the difficulty in locating records.
The hearing with the Sacklers emerged from the latest round of negotiations among the Sacklers, eight states and Washington, D.C., which, in addition to New Hampshire, voted against the last bankruptcy plan for Purdue Pharma. The latest terms include an increased contribution from the Sacklers for up to $6 billion. Though considerable hurdles loom for finalizing the deal, one condition, requested by a judge who mediated the talks, was what occurred on Thursday: People deeply affected by the opioid epidemic finally had their day in court.
One of the last to give a statement was Vicki Bishop, who spoke of her firstborn child, Brian, a construction worker who had been prescribed OxyContin after a work accident.
She concluded with a request: “That when you, Richard, David and Theresa, put your heads down on your pillows tonight and close your eyes to sleep, that you see my son Brian, and you visualize his opioid-addicted life that led him at the age of 45 to a cold steel table in the Baltimore County medical examiner’s office, blue, alone and dead from a fatal overdose.
“I want you to consider your personal role in this,” she said. “Because this is what I see every night when I close my eyes and try to find the sleep that rarely comes.”