Governments being led by the state Department of Health are joining a national initiative to file lawsuits claiming that drug companies have overwhelmed taxpayers with huge medical and law enforcement costs by essentially facilitating opioid addicts.
It’s been reported that thirteen sheriffs have also filed suits against the manufacturers and distributors, along with most of the representatives of Louisiana — mayors, police juries, district attorneys, and more, are deciding whether to take this case to court.
Louisiana’s Poor Prescription Practices
The call to action in Louisiana includes attorney Mike Moore who played an essential role in a series of lawsuits against tobacco companies in 1994, which resulted in large payouts to state governments. Mike Moore, at the time, was the attorney general to Mississippi; currently he’s working as a trial lawyer for a hefty rate of $400 per hour. However, he has gone on record to say that the potential of the case is not what moves him and continued to say that he is more interested in finding a solution to the opioid epidemic, noting that more than 42,000 people have lost their lives in 2016 alone.
Louisiana has ranked in the top 10 states for opioid prescriptions on a per capita basis, and has spent a notable $677 million since 2007 for the treatment of opioid use and dependence, including the maintenance of drug rehabs in Louisiana.
Matthew Block, the governor’s executive counsel, went on record to say that any money collected by the Department of Health in the opioid lawsuit would go to the Medicaid program. It currently stands that Louisiana is one of 14 states that have filed suits so far, Mike Moore commented saying he expects 30 more to join the lawsuit by the end of this year.
Attorney General Jeff Landry has hired Moore to represent Louisiana in his suit against prescription manufactures and distributors, however he has not made any executive decisions as Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to control the seemingly lucrative case.
Former Arizonan attorney general Grant Woods had this to say: “They promoted the idea that doctors could prescribe these highly addictive painkillers as an effective way to manage chronic pain. And they knew better.”
In addition, Woods went on to explain
“This is something that we’ve seen across the country from the most educated, most sophisticated patient to the least,” Woods said. “And we’re talking a matter of days not a matter of weeks or months or years. They knew—certainly should have known—that they were going to leave in their wake devastation across this country.”
Heroin Use Origins in Prescription Pills
The White House Office for National Drug Control Policy states that 80 percent of heroin users today started with their addiction originating with a pain killer prescription.
Woods claims key doctors in communities across the country were identified and heavily promoted, then become key factors in speaking circuits on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.
“Now what you have are key influencers saying these pills are safe, safe for long term use,” Woods said. “And then they go to encourage doctors to use these painkillers for uses that they knew could be deadly.”
More than two dozen states, cities, and counties are planning on coming together to press charges against the makers of prescription painkillers