The father of a 22-year-old football player who accidentally overdosed painkillers in 2011, said Wednesday against the country's largest drug maker on the second day of a major lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies.
Craig Box took the floor to talk about his son, Austin, who died in 2011 with five painkillers in his system.
Box was a soccer player for the Sooners in Oklahoma, but after a series of injuries, including a hernia, he died by accidentally taking an overdose of a combination of five prescribed painkillers and an anti-anxiety medicine.
They were oxymorphone, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and oxycodone. He had also taken the anti-anxiety medicine alprazolam.
On Wednesday, his father cried while telling him that he and his wife & # 39; had no idea & # 39; that their son used the drugs.
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Craig Box cried on Wednesday as he described his son Austin and his death from a cocktail of prescription painkillers and anxiety killers in 2011. Austin had hid himself from his parents after taking the drugs after a crippling football injury
He was called by the state in his case against Johnson & Johnson, the country's largest drug maker who produces a fentanyl patch, prosecuted by the state of Oklahoma for allegedly manufacturing the opioid crisis.
Although Austin had no fentanyl or other Johnson & Johnson medicines in his system, his father testified about the dangers and availability of opioids in general.
You don't have to look far to find them. You do not need a prescription. Austin had taken them off the street
Craig Box, father of Austin Box who died in 2011 after mixing five opioids and an anti-anxiety medication
& # 39; We never suspected anything. In 2011, the crisis that everyone now calls it, nobody knew.
& # 39; What we learned is that Austin must have gotten them off the street or wherever.
& # 39; You don't have to look far to find them.
& # 39; You don't need a recipe, & # 39; he said – broaching the reasoning of the defense that it is the fault of doctors who prescribe the drugs to the public and not their fault making them in the first place.
& # 39; They are just everywhere.
& # 39; And people don't understand that & # 39 ;, he said.
Craig cried when he described his son as a & # 39; special athlete & # 39; who & # 39; never complained & # 39; talked about the pain he felt despite the rename of a disc in 2010.
Without the knowledge of him and his wife, he had prescribed OxyContin for that injury.
His parents did not know he had used the drugs until he stopped responding in a house in El Reno in May 2011.
Box cried when he described his son as a & # 39; joy & # 39; who had never had drug or psychological problems before his death
Before that, he had no history of mental health or drug use.
Austin graduated from high school early to play for the University of Oklahoma. He hid from his parents that he was struggling to cope with the pain of recovery after a 2010 hernia
& # 39; He was very athletic, always tall for his age.
& # 39; He always seemed to be the biggest and fastest child in his class. An intelligent child flew through school. Never problems.
& # 39; He was one of those children who, from the time he was in elementary school, was junior high and college, attracted people to him and made them feel better about themselves.
& # 39; He was a joy. He was a special young man.
& # 39; He was an athlete. From the moment he was young, he just, he was always very sweet and mild, tender at heart.
& # 39; When he crossed the white line, he was very competitive. & # 39;
Box said his son had a & # 39; joy & # 39; was a determined athlete who graduated early in high school to play football for The University of Oklahoma.
& # 39; Despite the injuries, he did very well. He had an injury in each of the following years, but he rehabed and fought his way back to the field, & he said.
After a disk hernia, he did not undergo surgery, but instead & # 39; fought back & # 39; with rehabilitation and, without the knowledge of his parents, prescription pills.
On May 19, 2011, his parents were told that he did not respond to a friend's house.
They tried to revive him, but they were unable to do that. What we learned afterwards was that he had opioids in his system. There were several
& # 39; They tried to revive him, but they were unable to do that.
& # 39; What we learned afterwards was that he had opioids in his system. There were several, & he said.
Since then, he has made it his mission to inform other parents about the dangers of the medicine due to their charity.
& # 39; I cannot explain what happens to you if a parent dies like a child. But I suppose Austin had a certain fame in the aftermath of his death – there was quite a bit of publicity.
& # 39; We have heard from so many parents that children had lost children in similar circumstances.
& # 39; The same story as us, they had no idea – had no idea of the prevalence of these drugs and the dangers of these drugs and we decided that the death of Austin would not be for nothing. & # 39;
The charity, the Austin Box 12 Foundation, donates to law enforcement agencies so that they can buy enough of the drug Naloxone that reverses the effects of some deadly opioids.
Bottles of Purdue Pharma L.P. OxyContin medication is sitting on a pharmacy shelf in a file photo. The company faces allegations that link its drugs to the opioid crisis
Larry Ottaway, one of the lawyers for Johnson & Johnson, argues for the defense on Tuesday. He said it was the fault of doctors who prescribe the medication
& # 39; The primary goal is to educate and warn parents about how addictive these drugs are.
& # 39; We have heard from so many parents, the same story as us. Had no idea about the prevalence of these drugs and the dangers
& # 39; It doesn't have to be a recipe – they are everywhere. People just don't understand what they can do and how fast they can do it, & Box said.
Johnson & Johnson & # 39; s lawyers asked him only one question during the cross-examination and that was whether the father knew if his son had specifically taken some of their drugs.
He replied that he did not know.
On Monday, prosecutors blamed the company for what made it the & # 39; worst man-made health crisis in American history & # 39; called.
Although it is the only one that is justified, Johnson & Johnson's competitors – Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals – are also responsible for the crisis.
Oklahoma attorney general Mike Hunter speaks during opening arguments Tuesday 28 May
Judge Thad Balkman listens during opening arguments for the state of Oklahoma
State attorney Brad Beckworth speaks during the opening statements during the opioid lawsuit at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Oklahoma
They both settled in the state of Oklahoma and agreed to pay out millions of dollars before the case went to court.
There are now more than 2000 lawsuits against drug makers throughout the country.
Johnson & Johnson fights criticism. The lawyers said Tuesday that the industry is heavily regulated and that if someone is responsible for the crisis, it must be the doctors who overly prescribe the medication to vulnerable patients.
Prosecutors say the companies have made the crisis out of greed and have been using fraudulent tactics to market their drugs and make a profit.
The case will be heard by a judge instead of a jury. It is a civilian matter that could end up in a historic settlement.
Purdue, which makes the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, has already agreed to pay $ 270 million to the state of Oklahoma. Teva has agreed to pay $ 85 million.
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