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Emails Related to Opioid Overdoses Released

According to Emails recently revealed in court, pharmaceutical executives ridiculed residents of Kentucky and West Virginia as “Pillbillies” and drug abusers as fears about the opioid crisis rose in both states. In one, they performed “To the Tune of The Beverly Hillbillies,” a song that included a line referring to oxycodone as “Hillbilly Heroin,” a reference to the drug.

Cabell County Attorney Paull Farrell Jr. released the Emails in federal court on Thursday, according to The Mountain State Spotlight, a nonprofit West Virginia news organisation. They were sent in 2011 and 2012, during a spike in opioid overdoses. Huntington, West Virginia, and Cabell County, West Virginia, are suing the nation’s three largest opioid manufacturers for allegedly fueling a deadly drug crisis in the region.

They hope to keep Big Pharma responsible for overdose deaths, as do a variety of other lawsuits around the world. The Emails were traced to executives at AmerisourceBergen, one of the drugmakers named in the case, and were revealed during Chris Zimmerman’s second day of testimony as the company’s senior vice president and head of investigations.

The song even made fun of Floridians and then-Gov. Rick Scott. Rick Scott, now a senator, is accused of “inviting” drug users from West Virginia to fuel their addiction in his state. One executive replied with a smiley face at the end of the email chain, saying she had already exchanged the derogatory lyrics. Another Emails from Zimmerman read, “Watch out Georgia and Alabama, there will be a mass exodus of Pillbillies heading north.” He apologized in the court for the mails.

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