Lorain files lawsuit against major drug companies over opioid epidemic

Lawsuit seeks damages due to opioid epidemic
Posted at 11:27 PM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 23:29:26-04

The City of Lorain has filed a 236 page lawsuit against 25 major pharmaceutical companies, drug manufacturers and distributors due to the growing opioid epidemic.

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer says the lawsuit is seeking damages, alleging the drug companies continue to play a role in the heroin crisis.

"Largely, It's about accountability," said Ritenauer. "One, they knew they were addictive, and two, they knew that used in heavy proportion, their effectiveness would wane."

Ritenauer says the drug companies, their distributors and marketing campaigns are partly responsible for a dramatic increase in Lorain County opioid deaths.

Ritenauer said his city may seek up to a million dollars in damages, to offset the cost to taxpayers due to the heroin epidemic.

"The cost of Narcan, the cost of training, the cost of our police officers, my narcotics division, our detectives," said Ritenauer.

Nancy Krasienko, who lost her 30-year-old daughter to an opioid overdose in 2015, believes doctors must also be held accountable.

"I want these doctors to stop over-prescribing," said Krasienko. "If I would have known this was going to take my daughter's life by taking Vicodin, I would have grabbed them from her and said no we're going to go another route."

Ritenauer said several other Ohio cities are now looking to potentially join the lawsuit.

"This was not about treating pain, this was not about trying to improve people," said Ritenauer. "Much of this was about the bottom line, it was about corporate greed."