Some may have that chance, at least via video, under a tentative agreement reached Thursdaythat would also force the Sacklers into paying out billions. However, many families are still feeling angry, confused, and empty. There is a little bit of hope, though.
However, nothing will bring back the lives of those who were killed or hold the Sacklers accountable.
Vicki Meyer Bishop, Clarksburg, Maryland, said that she would like to see the Sacklers bleeding, but the larger picture is what they are doing to clean up the mess. Vicki Meyer Bishop lost her 45-year old son, Brian Meyer in 2017. "We are all very concerned about the next generation, and the next child who will go missing.
The Sacklers whose wealth was estimated in court filings to be over $10 billion will get to keep a portion of their huge fortune and be protected against future and current civil lawsuits regarding opioids.
A federal bankruptcy judge must approve the deal. The Sacklers will pay $6 billion to victims and survivors, plus $750 million to cover administrative costs. The majority of the remainder will be paid to the state and local governments in order to combat the crisis. They must also give up control of the company. The profits from the new entity will be used to fight opioid addiction through education and treatment programs.
Some survivors of the opioid crisis, and the families of those who have lost loved ones, will be paid. Most will receive only a few thousand dollars, not enough to cover the funeral cost. Many more will not be able to file claims.
Beth Schmidt, who founded a Sykesville support group after her son Sean passed away in 2013, was one of 13 people in the town that lost their child in a little over a month. "We have families who can't afford to bury our children. Because cremation is less expensive, they choose it. They shouldn't have.
The agreement recommends that victims can share their pain with Sackler family members via videoconference on Wednesday.
Meyer Bishop would love the opportunity to meet the Sacklers, and show them a photo of her son that is "so large they couldn't look away."
She said, "It's the first thing I see before I go to sleep every night." "I don’t know if it would touch them. It wouldn't, I think.
Activism has cast the Sacklers as the nation's leading villains in the opioid crisis. They are cited for their lacklustre and long-running attempts to protect their wealth while living a luxurious lifestyle. Hulu's miniseries, "Dopesick" highlighted their role in the epidemic.
Over the past 20 years, more than half a million Americans have died of opioids . This includes both prescription painkillers such as Vicodin or OxyContin, and illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl.
Lynn Wencus of Wrentham Massachusetts said that Jeff's death from an overdose caused by his father in 2017 was "everyday". "If the states use the money in the right way, we can save lives."
She is disappointed that not more money will be given to the families. But she knows it would not make up the loss she and many others have suffered.
She said, "Even if it was a billion dollars, it is not going to bring my son back."
The settlement includes one of the most difficult-fought provisions: the Sacklers will be exempt from any future opioid lawsuits. Although they were not granted immunity from criminal charges they haven't been shown to face any.
According to activists, allowing the Sacklers not to face any further lawsuits or prison time is a dangerous message to the pharmaceutical industry and any other business.
Tim Kramer of Waterford Township in Michigan said, "What makes me most mad is that they're getting away avec it." They have more money than God so it won't hurt them. I would like to see them go into prison. A regular prison. Not one of the resort prisons.
LeeRae Conn was 46 years old when he overdosed on heroin in 2018. Soon after their 10 year-old marriage, he discovered she was an addict.
He said, "No matter what she did or what I did, she couldn’t get out of it." "She tried."
The Sackler family has never offered an unambiguous apology. However, they did offer a statement of sorrow on Thursday regarding the effects of OxyContin.
This settlement comes nearly two years after the Stamford-based company filed bankruptcy. It was also facing more than 3,000 lawsuits alleging that it fueled the crisis through aggressively pushing the sale of its painkiller.
A previous settlement was dissolved last year. However, the Sacklers agreed that they would add $1 billion to their settlement and also accepted other terms.
Liz Fitzgerald of Southington, Connecticut said that although it was money, there is still no accountability. She said she would like to hear a public apology.
Two of her adult sons, who had first taken OxyContin in highschool, were killed by overdoses in 2013/17.
"My children lost two of their brothers. I believe that more must be done to support families affected by traumatic PTSD. She said, "They just destroyed our lives."
"I have a grandchild who has lost her father. Fitzgerald stated that no amount of money will be able to bring her father back. How do you tell your 10-year-old child that your dad is gone, and not understanding addiction? It's absolutely horrible."