West Lafayette Joins Nationwide Wave Of Lawsuits Against Opioid Makers

Mar 1, 2018

Credit Eric Norris / flickr.com/photos/sfxeric/3964596491

West Lafayette is gearing up to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors – joining a long list of U.S. cities going after painkiller producers in the courtroom.

More than a dozen manufacturers are to be named in the lawsuit, including Johnson & Johnson, Allergan and Purdue Pharma. They’re some of the companies responsible for such drugs as Norco and Oxycontin. The city will allege those companies, in its words, “deceptively marketed” opioids.

Opiate distributors will also be named in the lawsuit, alleging those parties failed to report and stop high-quantity orders.

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis says the epidemic has hurt the city financially.

“Specifically, when you look at emergency runs by police departments, emergency runs by fire departments, ambulance services, and the resources that are used in the event somebody suffers an unfortunate overdose from an opioid exposure,” Dennis says. “That costs us money. That’s taxpayers’ dollars.”

On paper, reparations for those costs would be sought. But Dennis says the primary goal is to draw attention to the opioid crisis.

“Sometimes, litigation does more because of who’s involved, the number of people involved, and the issue particularly at stake,” Dennis say. “Like in this case, it’s what happened to folks who have been horribly and irrevocably addicted to opioids – what’s happened to their lives and what’s happened to communities.”

Scott County and the cities of Lafayette and Indianapolis are among others in Indiana who have filed suit against drug makers.