Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Woman sues over addiction


Drug led to deceptive act, she claims

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Days before she is scheduled for sentencing on criminal charges involving OxyContin, a Hamilton woman sued the drug's manufacturers, promoters, distributors and retailers.

        In the suit, filed Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court, LaDonna Howland's attorneys say addiction to the drug can lead to “self-destructive and criminal acts.”

        Ms. Howland, 33, last month pleaded guilty to 10 counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug, half of which involved OxyContin and half, hydrocodone. She could receive probation or up to 12 1/2 years in prison when sentenced Thursday by Judge Keith Spaeth.

        One of several lawyers who worked on the suit, Stan Chesley of Cincinnati, said Ms. Howland was prescribed OxyContin after a 1999 auto accident, then resorted to deception to obtain it after she was hooked.

        The drug is supposed to be used by
cancer patients and others suffering from extreme, chronic pain, but it has been increasingly abused because it can produce a heroin-like high.

        The suit says Ms. Howland was prescribed OxyContin for about a year and a half after a 1999 auto accident.

        “(She) suffered from addiction and withdrawal symptoms as well as other adverse consequences,” says The suit also seeks class-action status to represent other Butler Countians and Ohioans who claim harm from the drug.

        Some lawsuits have been filed on behalf of people who died, allegedly as a result of OxyContin abuse.

       



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