The city of Boise is suing 20 drug companies over the opioid crisis.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday, accuses pharmaceutical companies of being a public nuisance by creating a “dramatic oversupply” of opioids; of negligence in failing to acknowledge that the drugs would be misused; and of conspiring to break federal laws and regulations, according to a news release.
“The swath of destruction to lives and families caused by opioids cuts across all ages, races and economic levels,” Mayor David Bieter said in a news release. “In all likelihood, you know someone struggling with opioid addiction — a co-worker, a friend, a family member. It’s time we look to those profiting from this misfortune and hold them accountable for what they have caused.”
Bieter said the opioid crisis has come to Boise. There was one opioid death in 2013, but the number had grown to 110 in 2017, Bieter said.
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The city accuses drug makers of “promoting opioids to treat chronic health issues while downplaying the risk of addiction; deceiving doctors about health risks associated with opioid products and focusing sales efforts on doctors known to over-prescribe; and failing to investigate and report suspicious opioid orders to law enforcement and take steps to prevent their products from being diverted onto the black market.”
The city’s news release also featured the parent of a Boise High School student who died of a heroin overdose in September. Scott Fischer said his 19-year-old son, Carter, had been addicted to prescription opioids.
“My son, like too many other children in the Treasure Valley, fell victim to a drug that had become far too easy to find,” said Fischer, according to the news release. “Our children are dying from an epidemic that started in our own medicine cabinets. It’s time to fight back in every way possible.”
Several other government agencies in Idaho have filed similar lawsuits this year. In August, 11 counties in Idaho sued opioid manufacturers and retailers. Canyon County filed suit at the end of October, according to the Idaho Press. The Nez Perce Tribe sued in May, the Lewiston Tribune reported.
All of the cases are likely to become part of a national lawsuit currently going through an Ohio court.