Since 1999, according to published reports, there has been a 300 percent increase in opioid prescriptions in the United States.
As recently as March 2018, President Trump has said he supports pursuing a federal lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, along with creating stricter laws for illegal opioid trafficking.
On Monday, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners voted to enter into the lawsuit being brought in Nevada by Eglet Prince Law Firm, of Las Vegas.
A Powerpoint presentation was given about the lawsuit against some of the manufacturers that have distributed the medicines to pharmacies in Nevada.
Commission chair Paul Donohue said the presentation “focused a lot on addictions and the costs of addictions that can affect the county. After the presentation and additional discussion, we voted to enter into the lawsuit with them.”
Nationwide, along with the increase in prescriptions, there has been a deadly upswing in opioid addiction, which some published reports claim is now the leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 50.
Many users have reported a prescription painkiller was the first drug they used before they moved onto heroin or other drugs after their prescriptions ran out. Some users are now blaming the drug manufacturers for setting them on a path which often leads to resorting to criminal activities to steal or pay for more drugs to satisfy their addiction.
The lawsuit claims, in part, that drug manufacturers were aware of, but dismissed or ignored, evidence of the dangers of opioids.
In addition, the lawsuit states that some manufacturers used “aggressive, often illegal marketing tactics, as well as quotas for representatives and financial kickbacks to doctors,” who prescribed opioids quite readily.
Corporations have also been accused of creating third-party advocacy campaigns, “fake news,” to falsely advertise the safety of the supposed miracle drugs.
On the national level, opioid manufacturers being sued include Purdue Pharma LP, Teva Pharmaceutical, Jessen Pharmaceuticals (a division of Johnson and Johnson), McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen Corp.
Further published reports say claims against doctors allege the doctors overprescribed, or gave too high a dosage, of painkillers for conditions that both did exist and did not exist, when pain management often could have been resolved with other non-addictive medications.
Donohue said the presentation to the board was “pretty much straightforward to what I thought they were going to say.”
He noted that Clark and Washoe counties have also joined in the lawsuit, but he did not know what other counties in the state have joined at this point.