Yesterday I received a very kind email from someone associated with Partnership for a Drug Free America alerting me to the launch of an innovative new website designed to help parents navigate the confusing maze of options, recommendations, costs and other factors involved in finding help for their kids and teens who are struggling with addiction. Having been through this confusing and emotionally draining experience myself, I was interested to go check out the site, called “Time to Get Help”.
The site is well designed and seems to have some very good information. My enthusiasm for the concept began to grow until I noticed the bottom of the press release, which explained that Time to Get Help is sponsored by Purdue Pharma, along with one other anonymous donor.
This is troublesome to me.
In case you aren’t aware, Purdue Pharma is the pharmaceutical company that markets and sells oxycontin, oxycodone and dilaudid, three of the most deadly drugs of abuse on the market today. Purdue has been the target of high level and ongoing criticism for the way the company has marketed and labeled oxycontin, and only three years ago, three of its top execs pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the way they labeled and marketed this potentially deadly drug. Purdue remains the topic of widespread criticism by families of oxycontin overdose victims related to the way the company markets its multi-billion dollar goldmine of a drug.
Thus, the company’s sponsorship of a website designed to offer unbiased and accurate info to parents of children struggling with addiction – a large percentage of whom are certainly addicted to the very pills sold by Purdue – raises ethical questions that I believe will need to be addressed before parents such as myself can in good conscience recommend this online resource to other parents.
In considering whether Purdue’s sponsorship of this site is appropriate, I checked out the sponsorship guidelines for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which read: “MADD is unable to consider proposed partnerships or donations of any kind from the Alcohol Industry or companies affiliated with the Alcohol Industry as defined under MADD policy…”
That seems clear enough. And it makes sense to me.
I have responded to the individual who sent me the link to Time to Get Help, and asked for some info and background on the decision to allow Purdue to sponsor this site, and I look forward to hearing her response. In the meantime, check the site out for yourself, and let me know what you think of Purdue offering sponsorship funds to support an anti-drug-addiction resource such as Time to Get Help.