Debt Wizards, Oxy Litigation and Oyster Farming – Thursday’s Roundup

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Debt Wizards
The Atlantic City Council voted to approve a bond ordinance to raise $55 million to pay what will end up being more like $63 million in pension and health benefits deferred by the state overseers. So people who work for the city get benefits. And financiers get paid lots and lots too. And the state overseers put this off until their friends were out of office, is what it seems like to me.

Wouldn’t it be cool if someone impartial could explain this important issue to us before decisions were made? A trusted news source, for instance? I don’t get paid enough (i.e.anything). And more and more it looks like no one else will either.

It’s going to be a golden age for local entrepreneurs.

Camden Sues OxyContin Maker
Elsewhere in racketeering, Camden County Freeholders announced they were suing Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, makers of the drug OxyContin, alleging the company drove the over-prescription of highly addictive opioids that fueled the public health crisis whose effects we see every day.

Matt Skoufalos’s NJ Pen reports the legal approach is comparable to the Master Settlement Agreement states employed against tobacco manufacturers in the 1990s. Camden is not part of the “multi-district litigation” (MDL) being managed by Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland.

If you want a sense of what Purdue was up to that was so outrageous–“deceptive marketing” doesn’t really capture it–again please read Harriet Ryan’s LA Times series about Oxy’s “twelve-hour problem” (that fueled addiction) and how the company had a precise, bird’s eye view of the pharmacists that were dolling out boxes of 80 milligram pills–a good sign they were supplying drug dealers–yet rather than contact the DEA, it added them to an internal roster (“Region Zero”) so sales reps would stop visiting them.

It’s worth pointing out that OxyContin sales have been falling since 2010 or something. They’d fallen 40% between 2010 and 2016. So though this great reporting is helpful, it would have been really helpful 15 years ago. Purdue’s role in the problem is no longer quite so central. In other news, support your local investigative reporter.

Oyster Farming!
Breeding horseshoe crabs, migratory birds, mesh cages: these are just some of things you have to contend with if you want to farm oysters along the Delaware Bay. Good thing officials in Middle Township had a workshop to bring farmers and researchers together to discuss. Dave Benson has a cool report.

For all the rest of the recent developments, see below:


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