LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford announced Monday the state has filed an expansive lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.
Local and state governments around the country, including in Nevada, are suing pharmaceutical companies as authorities try to get a handle on the opioid crisis.
And as we learned, the Silver State is doubling down on its efforts.
“Every single Nevadan has been affected by the opioid crisis in some way,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said at a morning news conference.
Flanked by law enforcement and local leaders, his message was very direct:
“These companies lied to us and thousands of people have died because of their greed.”
His office has filed a 240-page lawsuit against more than 40 entities naming opioid manufacturers, marketers and pharmacies as defendants.
“For years, these companies have used fake science, fake medical associations, fake publications, fake experts, fake medical conditions, and all to deceive our doctors into thinking that these drugs were safe,” Ford said.
The result — Ford and others allege — people are dying or are in need of treatment leaving local jurisdictions, like Clark County, on the hook to deal with the problem. Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick says the county has spent $100 million in areas related to opioids in just the past two years.
“Social services, a huge piece of it, whether it’s children and Child Haven, because their parents have a substance abuse problem, whether it’s in our jails…” Kirkpatrick said.
“And we know that the answer to this problem is not arrest, the answer to this problem is counseling resources and medical benefits outside of opioids for us to be successful,” said Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
The litigation replaces a prior civil suit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals filed during former Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s tenure. The state claims the defendants violated Nevada’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, False Claims Act, and Racketeering Act along with committing negligence, and creating a public nuisance.
The lawsuit is in addition to nine others by local jurisdictions including Clark and Nye counties in the south, as well several cities across the state.
Attorney Robert Eglet is handling those and will handle this one as well.