Purdue Pharma will soon establish the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at Oklahoma State University as a part of a $270 million settlement reached in an opioid crisis lawsuit.
The suit, filed by the state of Oklahoma, was one of more than 1,600 lawsuits filed against the pharmaceutical company owned by the Sackler family for manufacturing the powerful and addictive painkiller, OxyContin.
The center, which will cost $102.5 million to create, will be housed within the university’s Center for Wellness and Recovery and will treat people affected by the use of opioids. The National Scientific Advisory Board, made up of leading experts from academia, medicine, law enforcement, and treatment will lead the facility to turn it into the premier addiction research center in the country.
“Purdue is very pleased to have reached an agreement with Oklahoma that will help those who are battling addiction now and in the future,” Craig Landau, president and CEO of Purdue Pharma, said.
“We see this agreement with Oklahoma as an extension of our commitment to help drive solutions to the opioid addiction crisis, and we pledge Purdue’s ongoing support to the National Center and the life-saving work it will do for generations to come.”
A part of the settlement amount will be spent on conducting research, education, public policy initiatives and buying medicines to support the Center’s treatment mission.
Purdue’s owner, the Sackler family, has been at the center of controversy since Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey claimed that the that family knew its painkiller was causing overdoses. Healey implicated eight Sackler family members for contributing to the opioid epidemic across the nation by marketing it so aggressively.
Students and activists also started an intense campaign against universities that were taking donations from the family. As a result, Tufts University and Harvard University announced a review of their relationships with Purdue.