NORMAN — Johnson & Johnson and other opioid manufacturers used a “web” of front groups and paid physicians to push for more liberal prescribing of opioids, an expert witness on the nation’s opioid epidemic testified Wednesday.

Helping orchestrate the campaign was a group called the Pain Care Forum, said New York City psychiatrist Andrew Kolodny.

Kolodny referred to the group as the “opioid mafia” and described it as a collaboration of officials from Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma LP and other opioid manufacturers and advocacy groups.

Drug manufacturers and front groups that were part of that group continued their marketing push even after opioid deaths had skyrocketed and it had become obvious that the overprescription of opioids was causing a public health crisis, he testified.

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