ATLANTA - The state of Georgia is suing nine opioid manufacturers and distributors, accusing them of fueling the opioid crisis across the state.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr wants those companies to pay the state back for its efforts to combat the crisis.
Carr told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot that they wanted to file the suit in state court, not federal court.
Carr said all nine of those companies have a presence in Gwinnett and he wants them to reimburse Georgia for the expenses it has incurred battling the opioid crisis.
“We believe the manufacturers and the distributors of opioids have fueled the crisis,” Carr said.
The lawsuit essentially accuses the opioid manufacturers of racketeering and creating the crisis that now plagues Georgia.
“We have over a 1,000 Georgians that died last year, more Georgians dying every day. We have over 1,000 Georgians right now that are suffering from an opioid misuse disorder,” Carr told Elliot.
At least 60 communities across Georgia have already filed similar suits, as have dozens of other states.
Elliot tried contacting some of the companies named in the suit. He got an email back from Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin, saying:
“We vigorously deny the state’s allegations. The state claims Purdue acted improperly by communicating with prescribers about scientific and medical information that the FDA has expressly considered and continues to approve.
“We believe it is inappropriate for the state to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the regulatory, scientific and medical experts and the FDA.”
Carr told Elliot that it’s time for Georgia to act.
“It crosses geographic lines. It’s an issue for our state, and we felt we needed to take this step in order to protect the interests of the people of Georgia but also make sure the damage that has been caused, we have some ability and some recourse to go after that,” Carr said.
The state is asking for monetary damages to repay Georgia for the taxpayer dollars used to fight the crisis. It’s also asking for punitive damages.
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