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City Files Opioid Litigation in Superior Court

For Immediate Release: 7/30/2018 3:32 pm

The City of Worcester has filed a lawsuit today in Worcester Superior Court to hold opioid drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for the substantial damages the City has suffered, and will continue to suffer as it deals with the opioid epidemic.

The complaint alleges that prescription opioids are a “gateway drug” to heroin, based on data that approximately 80 percent of heroin users got their start with prescription opioids. The drug companies placed profits above the health and well-being of their customers and communities in using unethical and unlawful methods to market and distribute opioids. Their improper practices in turn created a population addicted to opioids, who then turned to heroin available on the black market.

Resulting addiction problems have had many adverse impacts on communities across the country, including Worcester. The City will demonstrate numerous categories of expenses incurred, including increases in first responder costs, Narcan acquisition and training, employee health insurance claims and costs and the creation of addiction programs.

“We’ve tirelessly undertaken outreach initiatives designed to combat the opioid crisis created by the defendants’ unlawful conduct,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus. “The City is seeking damages, not just to be reimbursed for its expenses, but also to halt the unlawful practices and find a way to end the opioid-heroin connection that has cost so many lives and created so much hardship.”

Eight “corporate families” of opioid manufacturers are listed in the complaint including Purdue Pharma, Janssen, Endo, Actavis, Mallinckrodt, Teva, Collegium and Insys.

International law firm Scott+Scott, Attorneys at Law, LLP has been retained by the City to represent it in this litigation on a contingency basis. The City will not pay any of the costs of the lawsuit. Expenses and attorneys’ fees will be paid only out of any amounts awarded to the City through the litigation.

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