EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The city of Evansville is joining the long list of cities suing opioid manufacturers and distributors.
As we reported last month, Boonville is also filing a lawsuit.
Tuesday, Evansville's Deputy Mayor, Steve Schaefer, told 14 News the lawsuit is a much needed step to hold companies responsible for dumping millions of dollars' worth of prescription opiates into the community.
He said Evansville has filed suit against five of the largest manufacturers of prescription opioids and their related companies and against the country's three largest wholesale drug distributors.
The suit claims those manufacturing companies pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, falsely representing to doctors that patients would only rarely succumb to drug addiction, while the distributors breached their legal duties to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of prescription opioids.
Schaefer says drug wholesalers have failed to do their job of halting suspicious orders, and the Evansville community is paying the price.
"We are taking this action today because the costs of this opioid crisis have overwhelmed our ability to provide for the health and safety of our residents," said Mayor Winnecke. "Homes have been broken and families torn apart by this epidemic, which has claimed victims from all walks of life. But it is the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers and wholesale drug distributors who failed in their legal obligation to notify the Drug Enforcement Administration of suspicious orders, even as the number of pills flowing into our county rose and rose."
City Attorney Marco DeLucio said this lawsuit is about holding those companies responsible for the opioid epidemic that's ripping through the state.
"It's to try to stop the crisis now so that it doesn't continue on into the future. Part of the lawsuit is to try to cover damages that municipalities like Evansville have incurred in dealing with problems that have associated with opioids," said DeLucio
DeLucio says the end goal is to try to stop this crisis as soon as possible.
According to a federal study, roughly one in seven people who received a refill or had a second opioid prescription authorized were still on opioids one year later.
Several cities and counties across the country are a part of the suit. In Indiana, they include:
- Fort Wayne
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- New Albany
- Vigo County
- Howard County
- Harrison County
- Jackson County