Sellers of Phony Opiate Addiction, Withdrawal Treatment Barred from Making False Claims

Sunrise Nutraceuticals and its principal Joshua Erickson will be required to pay $235,000 in damages and restitution

Image: Pixabay
July 6, 2016

The peddlers of a bogus addiction treatment have run into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Sunrise Nutraceuticals and its principal Joshua Erickson have settled FTC charges that they advertised Elimidrol, a powdered drink mix purported to be an at-home remedy for opiate-addicted consumers to overcome addiction and withdrawal, using false and misleading claims. The proposed stipulated order requires the defendants to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up claims for opiate-treatment products, bars deceptive claims for any health-related products, and requires them to pay $235,000 in damages and restitution.

"Opiate addiction has taken a tremendous toll on the American public," said Jessica Rich, in a written statement. Rich is the Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "By peddling their unproven product, these defendants have prevented people from seeking legitimate treatment."

According to the FTC's November 2015 complaint, Sunrise Nutraceuticals dishonestly claimed that the combination of vitamins, minerals, and herbs in Elimidrol would relieve symptoms of opiate withdrawal and increase consumers' likelihood of overcoming opiate addiction.

In advertisements featured on its website, Sunrise claimed that Elimidrol would help users "permanently overcome withdrawal – the first time" and "leave addiction behind permanently." The ads also asserted that "Elimidrol is the difference between just another failed attempt and lifelong success." These claims are unsubstantiated, according to the FTC.

The proposed stipulated court order prohibits Erickson and Sunrise Nutraceuticals from making statements regarding the treatment of opiate dependence, addiction, or withdrawal, unless they have reliable clinical testing to support such claims.

While Elimidrol is still available for purchase at the Sunrise Nutraceuticals website, the website includes no mention of the product's capacity to treat opiate withdrawal symptoms or addictions. It is now marketed only as a supplement that will stimulate "comfort, calmness, healthy mental & emotional balance, while supporting a positive mood and overall well-being."

The proposed order imposes a judgment of nearly $1.4 million, with all but $235,000 suspended based on the ability of Sunrise Nutraceuticals and Joshua Erickson to pay. If they are later found to have misrepresented their financial condition, the entire judgment will become due.