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City of Gadsden to File Lawsuit Amid Impending Opioid Epidemic

As reported by the Gadsden Times, the Gadsden City Council has voted to file a civil lawsuit against the nation’s top drug manufacturers in response to the monstrous opioid epidemic facing the city.

The council voted Tuesday to contract the Gadsden law firm Cusimano, Roberts, & Mills to represent the city in the litigation process. The city is seeking punitive damages against the three largest opioid wholesalers in the country: McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health.

“The litigation focuses on the wholesale distributors and their role in the diversion of millions of prescription opiates into the illicit market which has resulted in opioid addiction, abuse, morbidity and mortality,” the agreement between the city and the law firm states.

The city has entered in to a recovery-based contingency fee, therefore there will be no cost to taxpayers for the litigation process. The city hopes to use the money recovered to establish better treatment options for addicts within the city. Currently, Gadsden is the sixth worst city in the nation for opioid prescriptions per capita, with 155 prescriptions for every 100 people.

“We would like to have funds from the distributors set up to have centers in this city to help treat that problem,” said City of Gadsden lawyer Lee Roberts. However, he said the city doesn’t currently have money to do that.

The city claims that the three major wholesalers, who control 85 percent of the market, have not adequately reported their opioid dealings to government officials. Those reports should include if there has been an overuse or unusually large number of opioid prescriptions in certain areas.

The city council claims that this failure of reporting has cost the city and its taxpayers, as they incur the cost of overtime policing, nuisance property abatements, emergency responses, and antidote medications due to the increase in overdoses.

Gadsden joins many other Alabama officials in the fight to impede the opioid epidemic that is facing the state. Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined several other Attorneys General to combat the epidemic at the national level. Alabama’s Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council is also working to advise Governor Ivey on ways to curtail overdose rates and provide addiction treatment to all Alabamians.

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