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Opening statements show pharma giant intends to shame addicts in first opioid trial

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Pharma giant intends to shame addicts in first opioid trial, if their opening statements are any indication.

Tuesday began the first public opioid trial in the country, as the state of Oklahoma went after Johnson & Johnson for the epidemic residents face. While the Oklahoma lawyers used up nearly two hours to explain their case, Johnson & Johnson used a video they did to show the personal responsibility of children who take prescription drugs recreationally.

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The narrative J&J is pushing harkens back to an era of labeling drug addicts as bad people who clearly did something bad and now must face the consequences. However, what the Oklahoma attorneys addressed is quite the opposite. In the opening statement, the state compared J&J to Purdue Pharma, the creator of oxycontin/oxycodone, and using an aggressive marketing strategy to encourage doctors, surgeons, nurses and more medical professionals to use opioids, claiming they’re safe.

J&J attorneys explained that they don’t market opioids to children or any minors. They’re right, what they did was encourage doctors to prescribe opioids to young people as part of a campaign around Spring Break. “For sprains and strains,” opioids could be given to youth, J&J argued.

The state introduced five families who would testify about dealing with an addict of opioids. But when Johnson & Johnson had an opportunity to give their opening statement they attacked one of the families who lost a child by saying that the boy was smoking marijuana long before he died from opioids.

“Starting this epidemic was easy. Fixing it is going to be hard,” said attorney Reggie Whitten, for the state of Oklahoma. “There’s nothing you can do about the past… only this court has the power to look forward and fix this. In this court, we become level — its a level playing field. They have all the money and all the power. But Oklahoma has this court.”

Whitten, who lost his own son to opioid abuse, noted that shaming addicts is part of the opioid crisis.

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“It’s different from cancer or diabetes,” Whitten said in the opening statement. “Can you imagine society telling people ‘you need more willpower’ not insulin? Their loved ones got sick with a manmade disease.”

In some arguments, big pharma suggests that like cigarettes, no one ever forced people to use opioids. But the argument flies in the face of doctors being the trusted advisors, who pharmaceutical companies lobbied to prescribe opioids. The state said that they intend to show evidence that Johnson & Johnson lied to doctors about whether the drugs were habit forming.

Watch the opening statements below and the streaming video of the trial:

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Democratic senator says she gets more ‘disheartened’ every day hearing GOP deny evidence and witnesses

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Day after day, Republicans senators find new excuses to dismiss the evidence they hear that in any courtroom would convict an ordinary American citizen. It was enough to make normally happy Sen. Debbie Stabenow (R-MI) feel "disheartened" by the whole process.

"As somebody from Michigan, we believe in commonsense, and you can't look at all this and say, 'is this how somebody would act if they were innocent?'" said Stabenow. "And you can't look at this and say, 'Is this how somebody would act if they were innocent?' All of this coming out over and over again. I'll never forget Adam Schiff on the floor saying to all of us, 'Nobody's saying, well, gosh, Donald Trump would never do that.' The truth is it's all about will he get away with it? It's all about, are they going to be successful in hiding it and so on?"

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Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera attacks former White House press secretary on Twitter as ‘old douche’

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In a bizarre moment, Sunday evening politics turned into a war of wards in President Donald Trump's Twitter comments.

Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera responded to former press secretary Joe Lockhart, who had replied to one of the tweets Trump retweeted from Rivera.

"Gloom settling on Democrats as they realize they’ve taken their best kill shot & missed. Dems in despair. Republicans United. @realDonaldTrump survives & #Impeachment all over but the shouting," said Rivera, hopefully not literally saying that Democrats wanted to shoot or kill the president.

Lockhart responded to the comment by mocking the Fox News host, saying that he was only making the comment to help get his contract renewed.

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Cartoon Chief Justice tells Susan Collins to just quit and ‘go become a lobbyist’ already

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Cartoon Chief Justice John Roberts began the latest season of Stephen Colbert's animated show, which began its new season Sunday.

Facing the U.S. Senate, Roberts observed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) dressed as a mouse.

"Oh no! Mouse in the chamber! Everybody forget this vote and run!" the cartoon senator said.

"Senator Collins, just go be a lobbyist," cartoon Roberts said.

As Roberts explained the rules to the chamber, Collins was then spotted spilling gasoline on the floor.

"Everyone, please remember, this is the United States Senate," Roberts said. "We must not degrade the sacred institution home to Strom Thurmond. Let us comport ourselves with dignity, prudence, and Senator Collins, what are you doing?"

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