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Nov-14-2010 00:22printcomments

Connecticut's Grave Mistake: Honoring Purdue Pharma for Safety

Purdue Pharma: convicted criminals responsible not only for the deaths of our youth, but the destruction of families throughout the U.S. and Canada.

OxyContin victims
Photos of just some of the scores of victims who will not be celebrating the holidays with their families because of the criminal marketing of the drug OxyContin by Purdue Pharma

(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - Parents from all over the country and Canada called Governor Rell's offic to express their outrage at Purdue Pharma being honored with an award for "keeping youth safe" in Connecticut.

I thought it appropriate to call to hear for myself how bereaved parents were being treated by the governor's staff. Here's how my conversation went: I am the mother of Jill Carol Skolek who died at the age of 29 in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin. I cannot believe your governor would honor Purdue Pharma for "keeping kids safe." It's a disgrace to every victim of these convicted felons to receive any kind of reward -- especially from the head of a state. I asked "Linda" to read back my message. Linda's reply was "I don't write down messages."

When I wrote the article last week regarding Governor Jodi Rell and Jill Spinetti awarding the criminally convicted Purdue Pharma for keeping "youth safe" in Connecticut, I had no idea the outpouring of emails I would receive from family members of youth "not kept safe" by Purdue Pharma -- but rather dead because of Purdue Pharma.

This article is written as a tribute to those families too numerous to name below and their children. My reason in doing this follow-up article is two-fold. These families need a voice to be heard. They need to know that their outrage at Rell and Spinetti honoring Purdue Pharma may not be treated seriously by the governor's staff, but it is taken very seriously by others.

A little more than three years ago, Purdue Pharma was charged and pleaded guilty to misleading physicians and patients as to the addictive and abusive qualities of OxyContin. They are convicted criminals responsible not only for the deaths of our youth, but the destruction of families throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Our kids are addicted to OxyContin and housed in rehabilitation centers -- if they are fortunate enough to get into one -- throughout the country trying to kick the habit of OxyContin -- the drug marketed as less likely to be addictive or abused.

Here are just a sample of some of the names I received from families who will never celebrate another Christmas with their dead child, see that child graduate from college, dance at that child's wedding or hold that child's grandchildren in their arms.

Emily Jackson born February 22, 1988 - died on August 18, 2006 at the age of 18

Joshua Sam Kresser born September 29, 1981 - died on September 30, 2006 at 25

Casey Washburn born in 1984 and died at the age of 24

Michael Giudice born May 23, 1975 - died June 10, 2004 at the age of 29

Anthony F. Kirk born September 19, 1983 - died March 19, 2007 at age 23

Joseph V. Karcher born November 10, 1979 - died April 16, 2008 at age 28

Peter Angstadt III born June 29, 1991 - died December 29, 2008 at age 17-1/2

Ronnie Powell III born May 3, 1989 - died October 13, 2008 at age 19

Michael Duffy born August 8, 1987 - died October 28, 2009 at age 21

Kyle Crawford born May 26, 1986 - died May 5, 2009 at age 22

Stephen Rocco born September 29, 1986 - died January 31, 2008 at age 21

Patrick Gallagher born July 15, 1997 - died April 30, 2009 at age 22

Heather Heuer born December 7, 1984 - died May 26, 2009 at age 24

Kyle Houck born June 22, 1985 - died August 10, 2007 at age 22

Robin John Rice born April 4, 1982 - died May 15, 2006 at age 23

Patrick Stewart born April 27, 1980 - died July 9, 2004 - 24 years old

Ethan Woods born August 5, 1988 - died February 5, 2009 - 20 years old

Joseph John Rovero III born March 9, 1988 - died December 18, 2009 - 21 years old

Eddie Bisch born September 2, 1982 - died February 19, 2001 - 18 years old

And then there is Bobby Palmisano age 26 -- a young man I hugged outside the Federal Courthouse in Virginia at the sentencing of Purdue Pharma's three CEO's Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim when they were fined, put on probation and given community hours at a drug rehabilitation facility. Bobby beat an OxyContin addiction four years ago. He gets to enjoy the holidays with his wonderful family and live a long, happy life.

Think Purdue Pharma kept him safe Governor Rell and Ms. Spinetti?

Governor Rell will be leaving office at the end of 2010.  The new governor will be the former mayor of Stamford, Connecticut Dannel "Dan" Malloy.  Purdue Pharma is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.  Malloy named his first appointee for his new administration - his Chief of Staff.  The name?  Timothy Bannon, former Special Counsel for External Affairs of Purdue Pharma.

So if Governor Rell "honored" Purdue Pharma with an award, I predict Malloy will be dedicating a monument to Purdue Pharma at Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens in Stamford for keeping youth safe -- with Bannon cutting the ribbon. Get where I'm going with this? Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's who pled guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 7-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.
You can send Marianne an email at:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Janine November 15, 2010 7:38 am (Pacific time)

We should remove EVERY product that kids can abuse from the market! So many more kids die every year from alcohol abuse, inhalants, guns and fast cars. If people can't be trusted to use things without harming themselves, it should be taken off the market!

Joanne Peterson November 14, 2010 6:15 am (Pacific time)

Marianne, again thank you for being the VOICE of families from across the country and that includes mine. We are fortunate today our son is doing well (for today)but funerals are a way of life in what I do now and I know it could be my son at any time if he doesn't work hard on his recovery. The Learn to Cope group with 4 chapters across Massachusetts and at 1780 members on our site think you are a HERO for standing up for all our families which have lost children or struggle daily in fear of it. Calling this a cross to bear is an understatement. We need an ARMY of parents from across the country to stand up! There are more and more pharm companies jumping on the greed bandwagon and using our families as scapegoats blaming us! My son was a successful student and athlete all through school, one night and a bad decision at the hands of an adult with an OC prescription changed our lives forever! Oh and this man DID NOT have Cancer or Chronic pain!

Anonymous November 14, 2010 11:13 am (Pacific time)

I dont get to the pharmacy stores much, walgreens/walmart. I but things online like vitamin d at 500 UI, collodial silver and other more natural supplements that seem to work much better. Last month tho, i had to make a trip to walgreens. It was interesting. I saw a sign at the pharmacist that said "oxycotin is locked in a safe, and employees cant open the safe'. If that doesnt say volumes, I dont know what does.

Dr. Steve November 14, 2010 10:39 am (Pacific time)

Marianne Skolek has again revealed the cold, hard facts behind a national catastrophe and disgrace generated by the worst aspects of corporate culture which has transcended political parties.

Ada November 14, 2010 7:59 am (Pacific time)

Thanks Marianne for exposing the corruption within government that allows this epidemic of murder to continue. Each and every politician and healthcare professional that has been bought by Purdue and other Drug companies has sold their soul to the devil along side Big Pharma.

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