Socastee man speaks about 'other side of opioids'

(WPDE file)

As communities across the country fight against opioids, one Socastee man is fighting for them.

So many times we hear about the destruction of families because of opioid use and addiction, but Tom Kirby says without opioids, the pain in his family would have been far worse.

Kirby lost his wife of 40 years to cancer three years ago.

"I drove her to every doctor's visit, sat with her through every chemo treatment, you know? Did everything I was suppose to do," said Kirby.

Now he's sticking up for her after cancer took her life and the quality of it.

"Why does my wife have to suffer because somebody abuses drugs? And there's a whole lot of people with the same story," he said.

He says Judy's story ended peacefully because doctors prescribed her pain killers, oxycodone and oxycontin.

Right now, many state and local governments are suing drug manufacturers claiming the companies helped trigger the opioid epidemic in the United States. Horry and Marion Counties included.

Kirby says he can't relate to addicts. In his mind, they've ruined it for people who need those drugs.

"I just don't understand how they're going to make it any more difficult. We went through hell trying to keep her out of pain," he said.

What he is on board with is the fact that Purdue Pharma, the company that makes oxycontin, has promised to stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors and eliminate more than half it's sales staff this week.

Purdue pharma made those changes because of all of those lawsuits. They've also decided to make the remainder of their sales staff, around 200 people, focus on other medications, not pain killers.

While many agencies put the blame on pharmaceutical companies, some blame doctors, and some blame the users.

You can see what experts around our community have to say here.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off