Jackson considers joining other communities in opioid lawsuit

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Communities across the state have spent millions of dollars to battle the opioid crisis. And now they want the drug companies to pay.

 

Many are coming together for a federal lawsuit that targets drug suppliers.

 

The city of Jackson could be the next community to join the suit.

Mayor Derek Dobies says the high number of prescription drugs circulating Jackson is causing problems.

 

“There a lot of opiates in the city. I think it’s indicative of the huge problem we have not only in the city, but the state and the nation,” Dobies said.

 

Tuesday night, the Jackson City Council is considering whether the city should join a lawsuit to target drug companies.

 

Dozens of Michigan communities, including Lansing, are already involved in the lawsuit launched last December by the Sam Bernstein Law Firm. 

 

The lawsuit claims drug makers and pharmacies are playing a major role in the opioid crisis by aggressively pushing addictive drugs and illegally prescribing them.

 

The communities want drug companies to change prescribing policies, but they’re also seeking reimbursement for the high cost of responding to this crisis.

 

Mayor Dobies says constantly responding to overdoses is a strain for public safety in the city.

 

“That creates a huge problem for our city to be able to provide for public safety and to be able to respond to basic city services,” Dobies said.

 

Dobies supports the city joining the lawsuit.

 

Other council members 6 News spoke with said they are still considering it. 

 

The mayor believes joining the lawsuit can make a difference.

 

“I think this is a big first step and a big line in the sand saying that we’re going to take this issue seriously. What the city is trying to do in joining this lawsuit is try to curb that sort of behavior out of the industry itself.  Seek injunctive relief and try to recover some of the damages, the cost that we incurred having to respond to the opiate epidemic here at the local level.”

 

Stay with 6 News for updates on the city council’s vote.

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